The Chhattisgarh police arrested Hindu religious leader Kalicharan Maharaj from neighbouring Madhya Pradesh on Thursday over his alleged derogatory remarks against Mahatma Gandhi, an official said.
The action, however, led to a slugfest between the Bharatiya Janata Party-governed Madhya Pradesh and the Congress government in Chhattisgarh.
Madhya Pradesh home minister Narottam Mishra claimed the action was a violation of the inter-state protocol, a charge denied by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, who asked Mishra whether he was happy or sad with the arrest of the person who 'abused' Mahatma Gandhi.
Baghel also said action will be taken against those using abusive language against the Father of the Nation, who gave the message of peace and non-violence to the world.
He will be brought to Raipur via road route by Thursday evening and will be produced in a court within 24 hours of custody, the official said.
Acting on a specific input, a team of Raipur police apprehended Kalicharan Maharaj alias Abhijeet Dhananjay Saraag at around 4 am from a rented room near Bageshwar Dham, located about 25 km from Khajuraho town in MP, Raipur superintendent of police Prashant Agrawal told PTI.
"Three separate teams of the Raipur police were sent to trace Kalicharan in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi. The seven-member team which was sent to MP got the success and arrested Kalicharan near Khajuraho, where he was staying in the rented room," the official said.
He will be brought here via road route by Thursday evening and will be produced in a court within 24 hours of custody, the official said.
However, the MP home minister termed the Chhattisgarh police's action as 'highly objectionable.'
"We have objections to the way Chhattisgarh acted in the matter. It is a violation of the inter-state protocol which the Chhattisgarh Congress government should not have done. The federal structure did not allow such an action," Mishra told reporters in Bhopal when asked about the seer's arrest.
"They should have informed us. If they wanted, they could have summoned him (Kalicharan) by sending a notice. I have asked Madhya Pradesh director general of police to immediately talk to Chhattisgarh's DGP and register a strong protest on the way this arrest was effected and also seek an explanation on the issue," the minister said.
Chhattisgarh CM Baghel, meanwhile, denied any violation of protocols in the seer's arrest from the neighbouring state.
"Narottam Mishra ji should first tell whether he is happy or sad with the arrest of the person who abused Mahatma Gandhi. No rules were violated and action was taken as per the legal provisions," Baghel told reporters in Delhi, where he has to attend a meeting of finance ministers of states called by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Baghel also shared a video clip on his Twitter handle in which he said action will be taken against those who use derogatory words against the Father of the Nation.
"Mahatma Gandhi gave the message of peace, brotherhood, love, truth, non-violence and equality to the world, and if anyone uses abusive language against such a legendary person, then action will be taken against him. The Chhattisgarh police have taken action. His (Kalicharan) family members and lawyer have been informed and he will be produced in a court within 24 hours," said Baghel, who also holds charge of the state finance department.
On Sunday, an FIR was registered against Kalicharan Maharaj in Chhattisgarh's capital Raipur for allegedly using derogatory words against Mahatma Gandhi.
A case was also registered against him at Akola in Maharashtra on Monday in this connection. The seer is a resident of Shivajinagar in old city area of Akola.
Maharashtra minister Jitendra Awhad also filed a police case in Thane city against the seer on Wednesday over his alleged remarks.
During the conclusion of the two-day dharma sansad (religious parliament) in Raipur on Sunday evening, the seer had allegedly used abusive words against the Father of the Nation, and asked people to elect a staunch Hindu leader as the head of the government in order to protect the religion.
The Pune police also recently registered a case against Kalicharan Maharaj, right-wing leader Milind Ekbote and four others for allegedly making inflammatory speeches during an event in the Maharashtra city on December 19 and hurting religious sentiments, officials earlier said.