A slipper was hurled at Anna Hazare aide Arvind Kejriwal at a function in Lucknow on Tuesday — exactly a week after Prashant Bhushan, another Team Anna member, had been thrashed in his chamber in the Supreme Court for seeking a plebiscite in Kashmir.
The black flag-waving, saffron kurta-clad attacker, Jitendra Pathak of Jalaun district in Bundelkhand, about 200 km north of Lucknow, attacked Kejriwal when he was about to reach the dais at Jhulelal park near Lucknow University to address a meeting on graft.
Kejriwal, who received the Indian of The Year award from a media house earlier in the day, declared from the dais that he had forgiven the youth.
Reacting to the attack, Hazare wrote: “We are ready to face not only slippers, but also bullets... I will go to Lucknow to spread awareness”.
Pathak, who was immediately taken into custody, later accused Kejriwal of misleading the people on corruption. He told the police: “Kejriwal is trying to hijack the jan lokpal bill movement.”Although Pathak claimed that he was not associated with any party, a senior police official, who did not wish to be identified, said he had been a member of the Congress Sewa Dal in Jhansi from 2006 to 2009.
On Sunday, Jai Parkash, who was the Congress candidate in the Hisar bypoll, reportedly said Kejriwal — who also hails from the area — should be beaten up for campaigning against the Congress.
But Parkash later denied having said so. “Such conduct is not acceptable in a democratic set-up”. Addressing Tuesday’s meeting, Kejriwal threatened a bigger campaign against the Congress if the UPA government did not pass the jan lokpal bill in the winter session of Parliament. Another Team Anna member Kiran Bedi said there should an independent probe into the incident. The Congress and the BJP also joined Team Anna in slamming the attack.