NEW DELHI — When BJP and RSS leaders and their foot soldiers were leaving no stone unturned in their show of respect for former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee Friday afternoon, three violent attacks carried out by saffron mobs – one in Delhi, another in Bihar and one more in Maharashtra –unmasked their ‘respect’ to the non-violent ideas of Vajpayee.
The first incident occurred outside the headquarters of BJP in the National Capital, which was under highest security cover at that time because the body of Vajpayee was kept there for VIPs and common people to pay their last respect to the departed soul.
Swami Agnivesh Assaulted outside BJP headquarters
78-year-old renowned peace activist Swami Agnivesh was assaulted by BJP workers outside the party headquarters where he had gone to pay homage to the former PM Vajpayee. As soon as Agnivesh arrived at the venue on Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, BJP workers started raising slogans against him and asked him to go back. In a video that went viral on social media, a woman worker is seen raising her slipper to hit Agnivesh. The Delhi Police then took Agnivesh in a van and moved him to safety.
On the assault, people reacted sharply condemning the act of BJP workers. In his own article- “Why I have been assaulted”, published in The Indian Express, Agnivesh explained the incident:
“On Friday afternoon, exactly a month after I was assaulted in Pakur (Jharkhand), I was set upon by a group of BJP activists outside the party headquarters in New Delhi. I had gone there to pay my respects to the mortal remains of former prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. I was walking towards the building when they surrounded me and grabbed my shawl and turban. They kept calling me a traitor while beating me. The people who thrashed me were insulting the memory and legacy of Vajpayee,” Agnivesh wrote.
It was the second such instance when Agnivesh was assaulted by BJP activists. A month ago on 17th July, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) activists brutally assaulted and thrashed Swami Agnivesh in Jharkhand’ Pakur district, where he went to participate in 195th Damin Mahotsav at Littpara town. While assaulting him, BJYM members chanted- “Jai Shri Ram” and raised slogan –‘Swami go back’. In the incident, Agnivesh got severely injured and later admitted in AIIMS, New Delhi for medical aid.
Despite a probe ordered by the state Chief Minister Raghubar Das, none of the eight assailants named in the FIR has been arrested even after a month.
Swami has been a staunch opponent of RSS and aggressive ‘Hindutva’ policies targetting the minorities in India.
“I have been an eyesore to the RSS for long because of my life-long commitment to social justice. The ideal of justice is an irritant to the RSS. It runs counter to the Sangh’s casteist creed of keeping the lower castes and tribals as barely-tolerated second-class citizens. Justice presupposes equality and the RSS ideology is anything but egalitarian. From its inception, inspired by the un-Indian ideology of cultural nationalism borrowed from Hitler’s Germany, the RSS has endeavoured to keep India anchored to its feudal past, marked by unjust and unmerited advantages to the upper castes to the detriment and degradation of the rest of the society. I have never been in any doubt that the RSS is a sinister threat to the Vedic heritage and the core ethos of Indian spirituality. My disagreement with the RSS is spiritual,” he wrote further.
Prof. Sanjay Kumar was assaulted by a mob in Motihari
Assistant Professor Sanjay Kumar, who teaches at Mahatma Gandhi Central University (MGCU) in Motihari district in Bihar, was brutally attacked by Hindutva activists for a post criticising former PM Vajpayee on Facebook. He was reportedly dragged from the third floor of his house. In the video of the incident that gone viral on social media, the professor can be seen being thrashed, attacked by sticks and kicked. He was almost disrobed by the attackers.
But a few students and friends of the professor managed to save him by stopping the assaulters who reportedly attempted to pour petrol on him to set him afire. In the attack, Kumar got severe injuries and was later admitted to AIIMS, Patna. Police have booked 12 people in the case.
Following his comment on facebook, Kumar started receiving threat calls and messages on WhatsApp on Friday morning. Mrityunjay, a student of the professor, told The Quint that Prof. Sanjay was getting threat calls from unknown numbers since Friday morning.
“Sir (Sanjay Kumar) had [posted about Vajpayee ji last night on Facebook which had resulted in trolling right away. This morning, he got a call from unknown number. Though the caller did not identify himself, he called Sir a ‘deshrohi’ and also threatened him with dire consequences,” said Mrityunjay.
Jamia Teachers write to Bihar CM, Seeks Action
A group of teachers from Jamia Millia Islamia has written a strong letter to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar seeking action against the attackers.
“Sir, if open intimidation and violence, if silencing of critical voices, and this sense of power and impunity enjoyed by a section, is not Jungle Raj, what is? Even as Sanjay Kumar has named the perpetrators and those who threatened him, and the same can be ascertained from the video – no arrests have been made as we write. We are unable to fathom the delay in arresting the accused except as deliberate reluctance or complicity on part of the local administration,” JTSA wrote in the letter to chief minister Nitish Kumar.
“By booking the attackers under much lighter charges – all of which are bailable – your administration has effectively killed the prosecution case even before it has begun. What would qualify as an attempt to murder (non-bailable S. 307) in your opinion?……We are surprised at the silence of the government on this murderous assault. We can only conclude that your conscience has made peace with the lynch mob,” it stated.
BJP Corporators Assault AIMIM Member in Aurangabad For Opposing Condolence Resolution
A ruckus was witnessed in an Aurangabad Municipal Corporation general body meeting on Friday when dozen-odd BJP corporators assaulted an AIMIM member who opposed a condolence resolution on former Prime Minister Vajpayee.
The AIMIM said the opposition to the resolution was not the party stand, but demanded action against the corporators involved in the assault.
Shortly after the house convened, Bharatiya Janata Party corporators led by Rahul Vaidya moved a condolence resolution on Vajpayee’s death, which was opposed by All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen’s (AIMIM) Sayed Mateen.
Livid at this, 10-12 BJP corporators, including some women members, pulled Mateen from his seat, pounced on him and slapped, punched and kicked him repeatedly even when he fell on the floor.
Even as other corporators attempted to rescue Mateen, the municipal corporation’s security officials rushed in and whisked him to safety through a side exit and later to a hospital.
The CCTV video of the incident went viral on the social media. The assault sparked angry reactions outside as alleged AIMIM supporters indulged in stone-pelting to damage local BJP leader Baburao Deshmukh’s car and injure his driver.
Several BJP corporators, including Vaidya and Pramod Rathod, urged the Mayor to suspend Mateen for his “anti-national move” to oppose the resolution. Mateen demanded that the Mayor take strict action against his attackers.
Mateen maintained that he was opposing the motion in a democratic manner, but the BJP members chose to respond by attacking him.
Legislator Imtiaz Jaleel of the AIMIM — which has 25 corporators in the AMC — met the city Police Commissioner and demanded a thorough probe into the assault.
“Mateen’s decision was in his personal capacity. It is not AIMIM’s official view, nor did he consult us. For this, I am recommending stringent disciplinary action against him,” Jaleel told mediapersons this evening.
However, he condemned the assault on Mateen as “totally undemocratic” and displaying a “mob-lynching mentality”.
“We have asked police to investigate on the basis of CCTV recording and take action against those who violated the law,” Jaleel added.
On the other hand, a BJP delegation led by Aurangabad East MLA Atul Save, along with Mayor Nandkumar Ghodele (Shiv Sena) and other corporators, met the police chief and demanded Mateen be booked for sedition.
The Aurangabad Police beefed up security inside and outside the corporation complex, besides other parts of the tourist town, in view of the assault.
— With Inputs from IANS