A day after the police announced the arrest of three men for the June 24 Quran sacrilege incident in Malerkotla that had led to violence, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) said one of them was the radical outfit’s Punjab unit secretary (organisation) and was being framed.
Police had claimed that none of three was affiliated to any organisation and that the trio had acted out of “hatred for Muslims and Pakistan” with the intention to start a riot in Punjab’s only Muslim-majority town. The town did see arson but no communal riot.
The affiliation of Nand Kishore ‘Goldy’ — whose son Gaurav too is under arrest along with the alleged mastermind, Delhi businessman Vijay Kumar — became known when the VHP’s state vice-president Devinder Kumar and other functionaries held a press conference in Sangrur. “Police have framed our leader Goldy, who is totally innocent. The cops picked him up from his residence at Begowal village in Pathankot district, and showed his arrest from Sanaur in Patiala. It’s a farce. We will not tolerate it,” alleged Devinder. He said Goldy had never visited Malerkotla and was present at his native place on June 24. He said even BJP’s Bhoa MLA Seema Kumari knew it was a frame-up.
Kumari, when contacted, said, “Yes, I am aware that Nand Kishore (Goldy) was picked up by the police on June 25. I had called the SSP (senior superintendent of police), Pathankot, who said Nand Kishore’s son Gaurav was needed in a case and they would let him go after interrogation. Now I have come to know that they have shown his arrest from Sanaur from Patiala, while he was picked from his residence and even some villagers travelled with him up to Gurdaspur, where he was kept in a lockup. It’s wrong. Nand Kishore is not such a person.”
Devinder said Goldy’s son was employed with the businessman Vijay Kumar. “I don’t know about the background of Vijay, but he has misled the police by naming Gaurav, who is also innocent. Gaurav was a mere employee for Vijay. If he has indeed committed the act, Vijay kept Gaurav in the dark,” he said, adding that he ahd taken up the matter with the VHP’s central leadership.
However, Patiala range inspector general of police (IG) Paramraj Singh Umranangal, who held the press conference where the three were paraded, stood by the police version, and said the trio was indeed nabbed from Patiala. “I am not aware of what the MLA and VHP are saying, but the three men have confessed to the crime,” he claimed, adding that the police had taken Vijay to Delhi to search his house. Police claim the trio wanted to “avenge” the Pathankot and Dinanagar terror attacks through riots here.