Activist Swami Agnivesh was allegedly attacked by members of a Hindu fringe group in Jharkhand's Pakur on Tuesday. Agnivesh claimed that he was assaulted, beaten and abused in what he called a "sponsored" and "murderous" attack.
While, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), who's memebers are being accused of orchestrating the attack, denied its involvement, political leaders have strongly condemned the attack on social media.
BJYM state chief Amit Singh claimed that while a protest was planned against Agnivesh, youth wing activists were not involved in the assault. Singh told The Indian Express, “It is true that BJYM had a programme for showing black flags to Agnivesh, as we are aware about his views and see him as supporters of Naxals. I have seen the videos; our people are only shouting slogans. They are not involved in the assault. The reason why our people have been named in the FIR is obvious.” However, Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das ordered a police probe into the incident.
P Shahdeo, Jharkhand BJP spokesperson too denied involvement of BJP pary workers in the act. "They weren't workers of our party. We condemn this but his track record is such that this reaction doesn't come as surprise," he told ANI.
They weren't workers of our party. We condemn this but his track record is such that this reaction doesn't come as surprise. Pakur has recently been in news for religious conversion: P Shahdeo, Jharkhand BJP spox on Swami Agnivesh thrashed, allegedly by BJP Yuva Morcha workers pic.twitter.com/QfJj7QwvG9
— ANI (@ANI) July 17, 2018
Meanwhile, Opposition leaders took to Twitter to express their anguish on the BJP government in the state and at the Centre for "perpetrating violence". Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, "I strongly condemn the brutal attack on Swami Agnivesh in Jharkhand. The ruling BJP should expel its cadres behind the assault and punish the guilty as soon as possible." CPM leader Sitaram Yechury wrote, "We strongly condemn this terrible attack on Swami Agnivesh. This incident has again happened in a BJP-ruled state and these goons are from the same Parivar as the ruling party. The culprits must be punished." RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav called BJP party workers "gundas (goons)" and said that he strongly condemned "the murderous attack on Swami Agnivesh in BJP ruling state Jharkhand by BJP goons". "These state sponsored BJP gundas don’t have any fear of law. Culprits must be punished. BJP should apologise for this shameful & gruesome act," Yadav wrote on Twitter.
Strongly condemn the murderous attack on Swami Agnivesh in BJP ruling state Jharkhand by BJP goons. These state sponsored BJP gundas don’t have any fear of law. Culprits must be punished. BJP should apologise for this shameful & gruesome act. pic.twitter.com/3lJy0UOizr — Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) July 17, 2018
Senior lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan also tweeted to express his disappointment over the incident given it happened on the day when the Supreme Court had passed a judgement to allow for stringent laws against mob lynching and public vigilantism. "Swami Agnivesh brutally assaulted by BJP Yuva morcha goons in BJP ruled Jharkhand on the day the SC delivered a tough judgement against mob vigilantism. This is the contempt that the BJP has for the rule of law and the SC," Bhushan wrote on Twitter.
Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi too took to Twitter to condemn the attack. "I condemn the attack on Swami Agnivesh in Jharkhand. I appeal to chief minister Raghubar Das to take swift action in this regard. Disagreement or dissent should not translate into an act of violence," Satyarthi tweeted.
I condemn the attack on Swami Agnivesh in Jharkhand. I appeal to CM Sh. @dasraghubar to take swift action in this regard. Disagreement or dissent should not translate into an act of violence.
— Kailash Satyarthi (@k_satyarthi) July 17, 2018
Other opposition leaders including JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav too demanded for strict action to be taken against the attackers. "Strongly condemn the brutal attack on Swami Agnivesh by BJP Yuva workers in Jharkhand. Such type of actions are unacceptable and have no space in democracy. Strict action should be taken against the culprits," Yadav tweeted. Meanwhile, Congress leaders and the party's various state and youth wings also came out in support of Agnivesh, directing the onus of act on the "BJP goons". "Flouting Supreme Court's judgement against mob vigilantism on the very day it was delivered, BJP Yuva Morcha Goons brutally assaulted Swami Agnivesh at Jharkhand. We strongly condemn this unfortunate attack," the All India Mahila Congress said on Twitter. While Haryana Congress' official account tweeted, "We strongly condemn attack on Swami Agnivesh Ji by BJP Youth workers in Jharkhand. Attack on him shows BJP wants to suppress all independent voices raised against them. Raghubar Das must punish the culprits." Youth Congress wing also tweeted that "Instead of maintaining law and order, BJP has been using their branches to spread hate and violence". "Disgusting! IYC condemns this hateful attack on activist Swami Agnivesh by Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha workers and ABVP members," it wrote on Twitter. Senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said, "Attack on Swami Agnivesh in Jharkhand is strongly condemnanble and unfortunate. This type of violence and incidents are totally unacceptable. There must be an investigation and culprits must be punished." And, Jharkhand AICC in-charge RPN Singh tweeted, "Violence by BJP Yuva Morcha leaders as they nearly lynch 80- year-old Swami Agnivesh in Jharkhand. Not surprising considering BJP’s open backing to mobs in the state. Is this the New Jharkhand?" Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala too attacked BJP for the "horrific, gruesome and murderous attack" on Agnivesh and said that the "BJP goons openly flouted the Supreme Court verdict on punishing 'Violence by Mobocracy'".
BJP goons openly flout the Supreme Court verdict on punishing ‘Violence by Mobocracy’. Horrific, gruesome & murderous attack on Swami Agnivesh at Jharkhand today is a painful reminder that ‘Lynch Mob Mentality’ rules with abetment of BJP Govt.https://t.co/bKgOazjF8B — Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) July 17, 2018
Meanwhile, BJP leader and Union Minister Jayant Sinha was also among the ones to condemn the attack. He said that the rule of law is supreme and anybody violating it should be punished.
I condemn the dastardly attack on Shri @swamiagnivesh ji in Pakur, Jharkhand. The rule of law is supreme in our constitutional democracy. Any unlawful acts, particularly those that violate the rights of any citizen, should be punished with the full force of law.
— Jayant Sinha (@jayantsinha) July 17, 2018
Updated Date: Jul 20, 2018 10:35 AM