Ex-Chhattisgarh CM’s son booked for rioting
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Rajnandgaon Santosh Pandey and former Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh’s son, Abhishek Singh were on Friday booked for rioting and damage to property in connection with the communal violence in Kawardha town on Tuesday, a police officer said.
“Based on initial investigation, we have booked both Pandey and Singh for rioting and damage of property along with other leaders of Hindu outfits,” police superintendent Mohit Garg said. He added further probe is underway and added the First Information Report in the case has not been made public in view of the sensitivity of the matter.
Garg said both Pandey and Singh were present at a protest rally organised in the town which turned violent on Tuesday. He added the situation is under control now. Police said bikes were torched and some houses were also ransacked that prompted them to resort to a lathi charge and impose a curfew.
At least 95 people have so far been arrested for rioting and violence, which broke out after a clash over the removal of religious flags from a thoroughfare. Around a dozen of people including three policemen sustained minor injuries in the violence.
Pandey said he participated in the rally but was not in that mob which turned violent. “The charges against me are false... People in the rally got scattered and some miscreants entered the lanes where the violence took place,” said Pandey.
Singh was unavailable for comments.
Dharamlal Kaushik, the opposition leader in the state assembly, said the case against two BJP leaders reflects dictatorship and political vendetta. “The two leaders who were booked actually tried to contain the tension. The administration and police are responsible for Tuesday’s violence and now they are trying to put blame on the BJP leaders.”
Ruling Congress leader Sushil Anand Shukla said Pandey and Singh led the mob and instigated violence in the peaceful town. “I believe that both should be arrested.”