Lucknow: 2,500 Samajwadi Party workers face FIR for flouting Covid norms at 'virtual rally'

Lucknow: 2,500 Samajwadi Party workers face FIR for flouting Covid norms at virtual rally

Lucknow: Lucknow Police have registered an FIR against Samajwadi Party leaders after hundreds of supporters turned up at the party office on Friday to physically attend a 'virtual rally'. The rally was addressed by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and former BJP leader Swami Prasad Maurya.

Lucknow Commissioner of Police told India Today that an FIR has been registered against nearly 2,500 Samajwadi Party leaders under Sections 188, 269, 270 and 341 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), along with relevant sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act. The city police chief added that video evidence was procured before an FIR was filed in this regard.

Visuals from the 'virtual rally' show Lucknow Police clearing the crowds that had gathered outside the SP office for violating Covid-19 protocol.

Lucknow Commissioner of Police DK Thakur had said earlier in the day that the city police are being deployed wherever people are gathering in large numbers in violation of the EC's orders. "We received information on social media about crowds gathering outside the SP office and sent police personnel to clear the crowds," he added.

Lucknow District Magistrate Abhishek Prakash told India Today that the Samajwadi Party's virtual rally was held without prior permission. "Upon receiving information, a police team and magistrate were sent to the SP office. Action will be taken on the basis of their report," DM Prakash said.

" Crowds were there even at BJP ministers' doorsteps and in markets, but they have a problem with us," Patel added.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) had on January 8 announced a ban on physical rallies in light of the surge in Covid-19 cases in parts of the country.

While the EC's orders did not apply to 'virtual' rallies, the Commission had clearly stated that any party found violating its Covid-19 guidelines will be barred from campaigning.

"If a candidate or political party violates any of the above guidelines, no further permission shall be given to the concerned candidate/party for rallies, meetings etc," the EC's Covid-19 guidelines read.

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