Swami Agnivesh attacked: No arrests yet; activist alleges incident a 'conspiracy of Jharkhand govt'

Ranchi: No arrests have been made even a day after the mob attack on Swami Agnivesh in Jharkhand, leading the social activist to allege that the incident was a "pre-planned conspiracy" of the BJP government in the state.

The 79-year-old activist also demanded an inquiry by a sitting judge of the Jharkhand High Court. Agnivesh — who was attacked in Pakur town on Tuesday by a mob he claimed belonged to BJP-affiliated youth groups — meanwhile, said he failed to get an audience with Governor Draupadi Murmu on Wednesday. He later returned to Delhi. The attack also found mention in the state Assembly.

File image of Swami Agnivesh. Reuters

File image of Swami Agnivesh. Reuters

The Opposition parties staged a noisy protest, forcing adjournment of the House twice. Leader of the Opposition Hemant Soren demanded immediate arrest of the culprits. The state Urban Development Minister CP Singh alleged that the social activist was a "fraud" and a "foreign agent".

Singh alleged that Agnivesh wore saffron robes to deceive people and that he had conspired to get himself attacked to gain popularity. Agnivesh, who is known for his work against bonded labour, was slapped, kicked around and verbally abused by the mob. He alleged that BJP-affiliated youth groups had accused him of speaking against Hindus.

Superintendent of Police Shailendra Prasad Burnwal said no arrests were made in the case yet. Some people were detained in this regard but were released later as their involvement in the incident was not established during interrogation, he added. Police said an FIR was lodged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code(IPC), including 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly) and 307 (attempt to murder), and the Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

The FIR was registered against 100 persons, out of whom eight are named, police said. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Pakur, Ashok Kumar Singh was formed to investigate as well as conduct raids to apprehend the culprits, police said.

"The fact that some people were detained in connection with the incident and later released shows that it is nothing but a 'natak' (drama)...the attack on me was pre-planned," Agnivesh maintained.

"It was a pre-planned conspiracy of the State government," he alleged while talking to reporters in Ranchi.

The Arya Samaj scholar expressed reservations over the state government instituting a probe by DIG, and instead demanded an inquiry by a sitting judge of the Jharkhand High Court.

On his plan to meet the Governor, Agnivesh claimed his appointment was cancelled without any reason.

Raj Bhawan sources, however, said the Pakur incident and the subsequent assertions by the activist against the state government were not behind the cancellation of Agnivesh's appointment.

"An appointment with the Governor was sought yesterday afternoon over the telephone which was accepted, but seeing pressing prior engagements of the Governor, it was cancelled last afternoon itself and conveyed to them," sources in the Raj Bhawan said on the condition of anonymity.

Agnivesh was assaulted as he came out after addressing a press conference, where he attacked the BJP government in the state for "displacing the tribals by acquiring their land and giving it to corporate".

He was in Pakur, about 350 kilometres from the state capital, to attend an event of tribal body Akhil Bharatiya Adim Janjatiya Vikas Samiti.


Updated Date: Jul 18, 2018 20:44 PM

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