Former Congress leader and current President of the Democratic Progressive Azad Party, Ghulam Nabi Azad, has sent a defamation notice to Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh. The notice seeks compensation of Rs 2 crore for damages to Azad’s reputation, citing Ramesh’s repeated use of the word ‘slave’ to refer to Azad, as well as calling him ‘Ghulam’, ‘Mir Jafar’, and ‘vote cutter’.
The notice, sent through Azad’s legal advisor Naresh Kumar Gupta, accuses Ramesh of deliberately tarnishing and damaging Azad’s reputation at the national level. Gupta further asserts that Ramesh’s statements constitute an offense under Section 500 of the IPC and demands an unconditional apology within two weeks of receiving the notice.
Azad left the Congress party in August 2022 and formed his own party, the Democratic Progressive Azad Party. The notice asserts that Ramesh’s statements caused Azad “mental pain, agony, harassment” and irreparably tarnished his image.
The use of the term ‘slave’ in reference to Azad is particularly controversial, given the historical connotations of the term in relation to the history of slavery and oppression in India. The notice cites Ramesh’s use of the term in a post shared on his Twitter handle soon after Azad was awarded the Padma Bhushan award.
The notice further explains that the term ‘Mir Jafar’ refers to a historical figure who betrayed the Nawab of Bengal during the Battle of Plassey, leading to British rule in India. The term has since become synonymous with ‘traitor’.
The development is likely to exacerbate tensions between Azad and his former party, as well as highlight the issue of political infighting and mudslinging in Indian politics.