MCD Election 2017: Swaraj India candidate and anti-liquor crusader Minatullah Alam fired upon

With only four days left for the elections to the Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD), a firing was reported on a Swaraj India candidate late on Wednesday evening. This is the second such incident in Delhi ahead of the civic body polls within 24 hours. The first incident was when an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA was fired upon.

According to the police and Swaraj India party sources, two unidentified men on a motorcycle allegedly fired at Minatullah Alam, Swaraj India’s candidate contesting from Ward No 30N in Bawana and a case has been registered at Narela police station. The incident occurred at around 10 pm, when Alam, 29, along with his ailing wife, was returning from hospital.

According to party sources and a friend of Alam's, two motorcycle-borne men — one wearing a helmet and the other covering his face with a handkerchief — fired a bullet at the car in which Alam and his wife were travelling. Although no one was injured, the bullet pierced the windshield of the car. The assailants managed to escape from the spot and no arrest has been made as yet.

Immediately after the incident, Swaraj India’s national president and former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav tweeted:

In response to Yadav’s tweet, many dismissed it as "stage managed, nautanki (drama)".

After lodging an FIR with the police, Swaraj India’s chief spokesperson Anupam told Firstpost, "Alam is a popular face in the Bawana-Narela area, as he has been actively involved in anti-drug and anti-liquor campaigns. He even campaigned against the liquor mafias of the area. Even in 2016, he was attacked. Alam had in the past gheraoed BJP MP Udit Raj and ex-MLA Ved Prakash as a mark of protest against the menace."

The bullet hole in the windshield of Alam's vehicle. Firstpost/Debobrat Ghose

The bullet hole in the windshield of Minatullah Alam's vehicle. Firstpost/Debobrat Ghose

Several areas in the outskirts of Delhi like Bawana have been a hotbed of drug and illicit liquor trade. Prior to the formation of the new political party, Swaraj Abhiyan — a socio-political movement and a splinter group of AAP — had raised a red flag against liquor venders in residential areas.

According to the newly-formed Swaraj India, five of its candidates contesting the MCD polls have been attacked. "In recent times, five of our candidates — Iqbal Siddique (Kalkaji), Sarvesh Yadav (Chavla Ward), Preeti Kesri (Vikaspuri), Pankaj Chowdhary (Deoli) and para-athlete Suvarna Raj — were threatened and attacked by local goons enjoying political patronage of either the Congress, BJP or AAP. This is a natural phenomenon. Whenever a new political force emerges, the traditional establishment reacts and uses violence as a tool to threaten and demoralise new candidates," added Anupam.

Ahead of the MCD election, the first incident of firing occurred on 18 April, when three gunshots were reportedly fired outside AAP’s local office at Okhla. The AAP MLA from the area, Amanatullah Khan had alleged that he was attacked by Congress workers in the Jamia Nagar area after a dispute. The MLA, who has been named in various controversies, had alleged that three motorcycle-borne men opened fire at him.

In the earlier days of AAP in 2013, one of its women candidates from Seemapuri Santosh Koli, an anti-corruption activist was hit by a car, while she was on a motorcycle. She succumbed to her injuries. Prior to the incident, Koli had been attacked twice with weapons. AAP had termed the incident a 'conspiracy and a planned attack' on her.

Updated Date: Apr 20, 2017 07:46 AM

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