Madhya Pradesh Congress MLA Arif Masood was among 50 people who were arrested for staging a protest here last week against French President Emmanuel Macron over a cartoon row in violation of restrictions put in place to curb the COVID-19 outbreak, a police official said. Masood, an MLA from Bhopal, and 49 others were arrested by the police on Sunday and later released on bail as offences registered against them were bailable, he said.
They were set free from a police station after they furnished bail bonds, Additional Director General of Police (ADG) Upendra Jain told PTI. Besides the IPC section 188 ((disobedience of an order promulgated by a public servant), they were also slapped with four more sections, including under provisions of the Disaster Management Act and the Epidemic Act, which have been invoked in view of the coronavirus pandemic, he added.
They have been charged under IPC sections 269 (act likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life) and 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life). Also, section 15 (b) (refusal to comply with any direction given by or on behalf of the Centre or the state)of the Disaster Management Act and section 3 (disobeying any order) of the Epidemic Act," he added. After the anti-Macron protest on Thursday, as many as 2,000 people, including Masood and some clerics, were charged under the IPC section 188, Talaiya police station officer DP Singh had said earlier.
The protesters violated the district administration order banning assembly of people in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, he had added. The Congress MLA along with Muslim religious leaders and members of the community had staged the protest at Iqbal Maidan here against Macron over the cartoon controversy related to depictions of Prophet Muhammad in France.