Swami Agnivesh, known for his work against bonded labour, was punched, kicked and verbally abused by a mob on Tuesday outside a hotel in Jharkhand’s Pakur district, where he had gone to attend an event concerning the Paharia tribe.
Social activist Swami Agnivesh, who was attacked by a mob in Jharkhand’s Pakur town, on Wednesday said the incident was a “pre-planned conspiracy” of the BJP government even as police were yet to arrest the culprits behind the assault. Agnivesh, who blamed activists of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) for the attack, made the remarks after Superintendent of Police Shailendra Prasad Burnwal said the people detained following the incident were released as their involvement in the assault could not be ascertained.
“The fact that some people were detained in connection with the incident and later released shows that it is nothing but a ‘natak’ (drama)…the attack on me was pre-planned,” Agnivesh said. The Arya Samaj scholar also demanded that the investigation be handed over to a sitting judge of the Jharkhand High Court.
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Agnivesh, known for his work against bonded labour, was punched, kicked and verbally abused by a mob on Tuesday outside a hotel in Jharkhand’s Pakur district, where he had gone to attend an event concerning the Paharia tribe at the Littipara stadium. Following the incident, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das announced a probe by the Santhal Pargana DIG and Divisional Commissioner.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Pakur, Ashok Kumar Singh has also been formed. An FIR has been registered against 100 people, of whom eight have been identified.
To add salt to the wounds, Agnivesh also failed to get an audience with Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu on Wednesday and returned to Delhi. “My appointment with the Governor was cancelled without any reason,” the 79-year-old activist said. However, the Raj Bhawan maintained that the meeting had to be cancelled due to important engagements of the governor.
“An appointment with the governor was sought yesterday afternoon over the telephone which was accepted, but seeing pressing prior engagements of the governor, it was cancelled last afternoon itself and conveyed to them,” PTI quoted sources as saying.
The incident also made ripples in the state Assembly as the Opposition staged a noisy protest, forcing adjournment of the House twice. The leader of the Opposition Hemant Soren demanded immediate arrest of the culprits.
Meanwhile, state Urban Development Minister C P Singh lashed out at Agnivesh, saying the activist conspired to get himself attacked to gain popularity. Calling the activist a “fraud” and “foreign agent”, Singh said Agnivesh wore saffron robes to deceive people.
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