Several supporters of controversial former Bihar MP Pappu Yadav on Tuesday staged a protest here in defiance of the lockdown as their leader was picked up from his house, kept at a local police station for hours and whisked away to a far-off district in the evening in connection with a 32 years old case. The supporters of Yadav, who is the founding president of Jan Adhikar Party, alleged that he was being hounded because of his recent "expose" of Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who is an MP of the BJP which rules the Centre and shares power in the state.
Yadav’s wife Ranjit Ranjan, herself a former Congress MP from Supaul, said she "feared" for her husband's life, smelt a "big conspiracy" behind his arrest and warned that she would hold the NDA government and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar accountable if anything untoward happened to Yadav while in custody. The high drama began in the forenoon when Yadav was picked up from his Mandiri residence and taken to the Gandhi Maidan police station.
The local administration here came out with a release hours later stating that Yadav and 10 of his supporters had been booked for creating a ruckus at the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH). The FIR, lodged under the Disaster Management Act, the Epidemics Act and relevant sections of the IPC, was however registered at Pir Bahore police station, situated about a kilometre and a half away, which has jurisdiction in matters relating to the PMCH.
The arrest of Yadav, a politician with criminal antecedents who has fashioned himself after Robinhood, was decried by political leaders from almost all parties who pointed out towards his acts of charity during the ongoing pandemic and warned of the episode sending a wrong message. From the NDA camp, Yadav's arrest was frowned upon by Rajnish Kumar, a BJP MLC, minister Mukesh Sahni who is founding president of a fledgling Vikassheel Insaan Party, and former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who heads the Hindustani Awam Morcha and whose son Santosh Suman is a member of the state cabinet.
Leaders of Chief Minister Nitish Kumars JD(U) however, chose not to react over the stormy episode. Those from opposition parties like RJD and Congress predictably denounced the arrest and sought to link it with Yadavs recent spat with Rudy, the sitting MP from Saran.
Yadav had recently accused Rudy of having "hoarded" a number of unused ambulances at a property owned by the latter.His accusations had met with a strong rebuttal by the BJP MP.
Outside the Gandhi Maidan police station, a large number of JAP supporters stood shouting slogans denouncing the "conspiratorial" manner in which their leader was picked up in connection with a "fabricated" local case and held under detention for hours before being told that he will be taken away by a visiting police team to Madhepura where a court had passed a non-bailable warrant against him. The case, relating to abduction, is said to have been lodged way back in 1989 and the warrant, which followed Yadav's failure to appear before the court despite repeated summons, was issued in March this year.
"He is being taken to Madhepura in connection with a case registered at Kumarkhand police station there", Deputy SP (Town), Patna, Suresh Kumar told PTI-Bhasha. "Anybody can see it is a conspiracy and a farce. A 32 years old case, a warrant that is two months old.
"And a day is chosen when our leader is first made to sit at a police station in sweltering weather for the whole day before undertaking an arduous road journey", cried an exasperated JAP worker.