BJP star campaigner and regional Dalit leader barred for provocative comments about caste and religion

A star campaigner for India’s Hindu nationalist ruling party has been banned from the election trail for 72 hours over hate speech targeting Muslims, the latest in a series of incendiary remarks by party leaders as the country’s election season enters its second week.

Up to 900m Indians will vote over the next six weeks in a democratic contest that dwarfs any other. More than 11m polling officials and security personnel are involved, and for security reasons, the contest is broken down into seven phases, which allows teams of federal police — who are considered more impartial than their local counterparts — to monitor each one of the country’s 800,000 polling stations.

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