Suspect in Jantar Mantar hate sloganeering case, to surrender to cops on Tuesday
Chaudhary has been evading arrest ever since a case for promoting enmity between different groups and defying Covid-19 guidelines was registered on August 8
Days after the Delhi high court declined to give interim protection from arrest to Hindu Raksha Dal chief Bhupinder Tomar alias Pinky Chaudhary for his alleged involvement in raising hate slogans at Jantar Mantar on August 8, a video emerged on social media on Monday in which the right-wing activist could be heard saying that he will surrender at the Connaught Place police station on Tuesday noon.
Chaudhary has been evading arrest ever since a case for promoting enmity between different groups and defying Covid-19 guidelines was registered on August 8, hours after videos of an event — which the organisers claimed was held that day near Jantar Mantar to push for the abolition of “colonial-era laws” — showed people shouting anti-Muslim slogans. After the videos were widely circulated on social media, several activists filed police complaints, prompting the police to conduct raids and arrest the alleged perpetrators.
The new 1.37-minute video clip has Chaudhary standing against a wall with a saffron cloth wrapped around his shoulders. “…I am still firm on my point that neither I nor any worker of my organisation did anything wrong at Jantar Mantar. I respect the court. I will get myself arrested tomorrow, on August 31, around 12pm at Connaught Place police station and will cooperate with police during the probe,” Chaudhary could be heard saying in the video.
HT could not independently verify the authenticity of the video, which appears to have been shot inside a temple, as a bell could be heard tolling while Chaudhary speaks.
“I never run away from being arrested. It is the right of every person to go to court and I did the same. I want to tell you that all the allegations against me are false and baseless. My life has been devoted to Hinduism and Hindutva. As long as I breathe, I will continue to do the work of religion. Every Hindu citizen should support me and take our movement forward. I am not scared of going to jail,” Chaudhary said in the video.
On being asked about the video and Chaudhary’s latest statement, joint commissioner of police (New Delhi range) Jaspal Singh said, “As per the provisions of the law, any person wanted in any case can surrender before the police or court. Our teams have been conducting raids to arrest Chaudhary.”
Police have said that they didn’t grant permission to the August 8 event called by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ashwini Upadhyay under the banner of ‘Bharat Jodo Andolan’ (literally, ‘unite India movement’). Upadhyay, a former Delhi BJP spokesperson, was arrested along with seven others. He is out on bail at present and claims that no inflammatory slogans were raised that day.
On Friday, the Delhi high court had refused to grant interim protection from arrest to Chaudhary. On August 21, a sessions court had dismissed Chaudhary’s anticipatory bail plea too, saying, “We are not a Taliban state and the rule of law is the sacrosanct governing principle in our plural and multicultural society.”
Police have so far arrested eight people in connection with the case, most of them associated with various right-wing outfits: Uttam Upadhyay, Ashwini Upadhyay, Preet Singh, Deepak Singh, Deepak Kumar, Vinod Sharma, Vinit Bajpai and Sushil Tiwari. Preet Singh is the director of ‘Save India Foundation’, one of the organisers of the August 8 march, while Sushil Tiwari is the chief of Hindu Army.