Rahul Gandhi: Indian MP sentenced to two years in prison for defaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi | world news

An Indian opposition leader has been sentenced to two years in prison for making defamatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Rahul Gandhi – a prominent descendant of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty – was convicted over comments he made regarding Mr Modi’s surname in 2019 during a campaign rally.

Gandhi asked the crowd at the event, “Why do all thieves have Modi as their surname?”

He then named runaway Indian diamond tycoon Nirav Modi, banned Indian Premier League boss Lalit Modi and Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Modi is not related to the other two.

The defamation case against Gandhi was filed by a leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata (BJP) party in the western state of Gujarat.

Supporters of the Youth Congress Party hold a silent protest against the sentencing

The plaintiff, Purnesh Modi, said Gandhi’s comments “defamed the entire Modi community”.

Modi is a common surname in the state.

Gandhi, who was present in court when the verdict was read, said his remarks were aimed at highlighting corruption and were not aimed at any community.

He will not go to jail immediately as the court granted 30 days bail to appeal the verdict.

Mallikarjun Kharge, the chairman of the Congress Party, to which Gandhi belongs, said the politician would appeal the verdict to a higher court and called Mr Modi’s government “cowardly and dictatorial”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi’s surname is common in the western state of Gujarat

After the verdict, Gandhi wrote on Twitter: “My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God, and non-violence the means to it.”

Her sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, also a Congress leader, tweeted: “Frightened leaders are doing everything to suppress the voice of @RahulGandhi ji.

“My brother has never been afraid and will never be afraid.

“He will continue to speak the truth. He will continue to lift the voice of the people of the land. The power of truth and the love of crores (millions) of countrymen are with him.”

Learn more:
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Police and students clash over banned BBC Modi documentary

Gandhi is one of the main opposition leaders in India and will most likely face Mr Modi when the latter seeks re-election next year.

Mr Gandhi is currently an MP for Wayanad in the southern state of Kerala and a descendant of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

His great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru served as India’s first Prime Minister, his grandmother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi also held the position.

Sky news

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