Union Minister of State (MoS) for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey’s son Arijit Shashwat, against whom Bhagalpur court issued an arrest warrant on Saturday, March 24, for allegedly inciting the recent communal violence in the district, said he would move the court for anticipatory bail and asked why should he surrender as he is not absconding and is in the shelter of court.
“Mein nyayalay ki sharan mein hun. Bhaagte woh hain, khojna unko padta hai jo kahin gayab ho gaye hon, mein samaaj ke beech mein hun (I am in court’s shelter. The need to chase and track down someone arises if that person has fled and is absconding. I am there within society),” Shashwat told ANI.
“Why should I surrender?,” he asked. Arijit said it was up to the court to decide what it wanted to do with him after his anticipatory bail application.
“The court issues warrant but the court also gives shelter. Once you go to the court, you will do only what it decides for you. If the police come to arrest me, I will do what they ask. I am moving an anticipatory bail application,” he added.
Ashwini Choubey’s son is accused of inciting violent clashes between two communities in Muslim-dominated Nathnagar on the outskirts of Bhagalpur in Bihar on March 17. Organised by the Bharatiya Navvarsh Jagran Samiti on the eve of the Hindu New Year, a procession of BJP, RSS and Bajrang Dal passed through a 15-km route, which included at least half-a-dozen Muslim-dominated areas, allegedly shouting provocative slogans and triggering communal clashes.
According to Lalmatia outpost in-charge Sanjeev Kumar, who was deployed in Nathnagar, some of the slogans raised by the participants were provocative, and could have triggered the stone-pelting in which three policemen were injured, reported The India Express. “There was a clash between two groups, and an attempt was made to vitiate the atmosphere,” Bihar DGP K S Dwivedi said, according to the IE report. Shaswat earlier told The Indian Express that he was about “3-4 kms from the spot when the stone-pelting took place”.
Arijit was accused of fomenting trouble in the locality for leading the procession to celebrate the first day of ‘Vikarm Samvat’, the Hindu calendar, without any written permission from the district administration.
A Bhagalpur court on Saturday issued arrest warrants against Arijit and eight other BJP functionaries after two FIRs were lodged by the Bhagalpur police following the clash at Medinigar Chowk in Nathnagar.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav yesterday accused Bihar chief minister (CM) Nitish Kumar of issuing “dummy arrest warrants” against Arijit, while he was openly brandishing swords outside the CM’s residence.
“Son of JDU partner’s leader is mocking the justice system by stripping naked the law and order of the state, while Nitish does nothing,” Yadav said.
“Nitish Kumar should answer how is he (Arijit Shashwat) roaming free if there is a warrant issued against him. He has lost the control of the govt. It’s is being run from Nagpur. This shows how weak he has become,” Yadav told ANI.
Choubey had also said that his son has not done anything wrong and wondered why would his son surrender on the basis of false FIRs.
“Mere bete ne koi ganda kaam nahi kiya. FIR toh jhut ka pulinda hai, uspe kyun surrender karega? (My son has not done anything wrong. The FIR is a bunch of lies. Why would he surrender on the basis of it?)” Ashwini Kumar was quoted as saying by ANI.
“Arijit kahin chupa hua nahi hai. Wo aaj apne gaon bhi gaya aur bhagwan Ram ki aarti bhi utari (Arijit is not hiding anywhere. He went to his village today and prayed to Lord Ram),” the Union Minister added.
Choubey, the Union MoS for Health and Family Welfare, had earlier said, “I am proud that Arijit is my son. All BJP workers are like my son. Is there anything wrong in leading a procession to celebrate the Hindu New Year? Kya Bharat Ma ki baat karna galat hai? Kya Vande Mataram kehna gunah hai? (Is it a crime to talk about Bharat Ma? Is it a crime to say Vande Mataram?).”