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Bihar Communal Clashes: Union Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey's Son Arijit Shashwat Makes Dramatic 'Surrender' in Front of Patna Temple

While the police claimed that the Union Minister’s son was arrested, his family said he had “surrendered."

Neelkamal | News18

Updated:April 1, 2018, 9:01 AM IST
Patna: Union Minister and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Choubey's son Arijit Shashwat surrendered to the police late on Saturday in front of a temple in Patna, hours after a Bhagalpur court rejected his bail plea in connection with communal clashes in the state.

Shashwat surrendered in front of a huge crowd, including BJP supporters, who had been alerted in advance to gather outside the Mahavir Temple. The media was also informed.

A team led by SSP Rakesh Dubey took Shashwat into custody and departed for Bhagalpur district. While the police claimed that the Union Minister’s son was arrested, his family said he had “surrendered."

Before being taken to Bhagalpur, the police took Shashwat to Gardiner Hospital for a routine medical examination. Some BJP supporters claimed he was suffering from kidney stones and back ache.

Speaking to News18 on the way to Bhagalpur, Shashwat said, “I will provide all the evidence, including two-hour long video footage, of March 17 program when I led a religious procession. I never chanted provocative slogans or brandished any weapon,” he said.

Shashwant instead blamed the local MLA for inciting violence. "His call records of 10 days before the incident will reveal everything. I challenge the police to make it public."

He, however, insisted that all was well between the BJP and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U). “He is our guardian. Some people might have misled him, but he is our leader. The local administration has acted on false information.”

Arjit’s wife Vijeta Raj said her husband had been framed. “My husband is innocent but he surrendered as his anticipatory bail plea was rejected. I have full faith in the judiciary. He will get justice," she told News18.

An arrest warrant was issued against Shashwat and eight others after they were named in an FIR filed at Nathnagar police station of Bhagalpur in connection with the clashes that broke out between members of two communities on March 17.

Shashwat had unsuccessfully contested 2015 Assembly polls from Bhagalpur town on a BJP ticket. He lost to Congress's Ajit Sharma.

Heavy stone-pelting and even exchange of fire was witnessed during the violence in which several persons, including two policemen, were injured.

The clashes had followed a skirmish between residents of Nathnagar and those participating in a procession, taken out on 'New Year' as per the Hindu calendar. The procession was led by the Union minister's son.

The locals had objected to playing of loud music during the procession. The violence was also the first in a series of minor communal riots witnessed in several districts of the state.

Communal passions have have peaked in Aurangabad, Nalanda, Samastipur, Sheikhpura and Nawada districts following the Ram Navami festivities.

The opposition had earlier criticised the Nitish Kumar government for “failing” to arrest Shashwat.

Notes of discord have also emerged within the ruling JD(U)-BJP combine over the issue. The BJP has blamed the recent spurt in communal flare-ups on the RJD, though JD(U) leaders like KC Tyagi and Shyam Rajak had earlier issued statements asking Shashwat to surrender.

The chief minister has cautioned people against getting swayed by communal passions, especially whipped up by rumours on social media.

Shashwat has charged the local police with acting as per the directions of a local MLA, apparently from the Congress and lodging a "fabricated" case.

| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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