Indian Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been found guilty of defaming Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi by a court in western India and sentenced to two years in prison on Thursday.
He was given bail and the sentence was suspended for 30 days.
The criminal defamation case was filed against Gandhi by a leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after a speech during the 2019 general election in which he referred to the surname Modi and asked how all thieves had the surname.
However, he said that he had made the comment to highlight corruption and not against any community.
Modi’s government has been widely accused of using the defamation law to target and silence critics. Gandhi faces at least two other defamation cases elsewhere in the country.
It is pertinent to mention that despite wide-spread accusations of promoting hatred against Muslims, with increasing attacks against the community, Modi is the most popular politician in India by a substantial margin.
It is expected that in 2024, Gandhi will stand against Modi for prime ministership.
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