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Bhagalpur communal violence: Union minister’s son denied bail, still on the run

A case has been lodged against Arijit Shashwat on charges of taking out a procession without prior permission, inciting communal sentiments and roaming with arms on the streets of Bhagalpur in Bihar.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2018 20:39 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service
Bhagalpur communal violence,Bihar communal violence,Ashwini Choubey
Union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey’s son Arijit Shashwat addresses a press conference in Patna.(PTI FILE)

A Bihar court on Saturday rejected the bail plea of Union minister Ashwini Choubey’s son Arijit Shashwat, accused of inciting communal violence in the state’s Bhagalpur district, a government lawyer said.

After hearing both sides, the Bhagalpur district court declined to grant bail to Shashwat.

Last week, a case was lodged against Shashwat -- a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader -- on charges of taking out a procession without prior permission, inciting communal sentiments and roaming with arms on the streets of Bhagalpur.

Shashwat, who has been evading arrest, had moved the bail plea in the civil court, following which the court on Tuesday sought the case diary from the police to ascertain his role in the communal flare-up on March 17.

After that, acting on an application from the district police, the court issued an arrest warrant against Shashwat.

Choubey has already described the FIR as “a piece of garbage” that was registered by “corrupt police officers in Bhagalpur”.

Shashwat unsuccessfully contested the last assembly polls as the BJP candidate from Bhagalpur, considered a stronghold of Choubey, who was elected MP from Buxar in 2014.

On the run

Nearly a week after the arrest warrant was issued against Shashwat, Bihar Police has failed to arrest him.

The police have also failed to trace another BJP leader Anil Singh -- the main accused in communal violence in Aurangabad district, who managed to escape from police custody.

“Police have been doing everything to arrest both accused,” senior police officer Gupteshwar Pandey said.

Anil Singh, who was arrested in connection with the communal violence in Aurangabad during Ram Navami procession, escaped from police custody two days ago.

The opposition parties have slammed chief minister Nitish Kumar for what they called his “failure to handle the situation”.

Ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) spokespersons are, however, downplaying the issue, saying there is rule of law in Bihar under CM Kumar and culprits or accused would not be spared.

Kumar’s JD-U is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA, which also comprises the Lok Janshakti Party and the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party.

Over half-a-dozen Bihar districts, including Aurangabad, Nawada, Samastipur, Munger, Bhagalpur and Nalanda, are currently in the grip of communal tension. Additional security forces have been deployed in the affected towns.

Last week, communal tension starting from Aurangabad district during Ram Navami processions, spread to Samastipur, Munger, Nalanda, Sheikhpura and Gaya districts.

First Published: Mar 31, 2018 20:37 IST