AAP leader Somnath Bharti and his supporters were allegedly assaulted and his vehicle was damaged by alleged Modi supporters at Assi Ghat in Bhelupur area of Varanasi Wednesday. Bharti, however, did not lodge a police complaint and said he had forgiven the attackers. The vehicle they were travelling in was also damaged.
Police said the incident took place when Bharti was invited for a television programme. “There did not have the permission to shoot the programme. There was sloganeering, which led to a scuffle between the alleged BJP and AAP supporters. This was followed by stone pelting and Bharti’s vehicle was damaged. However, nobody was injured. Since the programme was conducted without permission, an FIR was lodged for the alleged violation of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” said Station Officer (Bhelupur), Vinay Kumar Singh.
AAP, in a statement, said it alleged that one of the AAP supporter shouted ‘abhi to Sheela haari, ab Modi ki baari hai’ during the TV programme. Enraged by this, ‘Modi supporters attacked the supporter’.
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When Bharti tried to intervene, he too was attacked. However, when he tried to get into his vehicle, stones were pelted and his vehicle was damaged, an AAP spokesperson said. The driver then drove to the police station.
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal said the attackers were not from Varanasi and were not aware of the city’s culture. When asked about the silence of senior BJP leaders on the attacks on AAP leaders and supporters in Varanasi, national media in-charge Ravi Shankar Prasad said the party never endorsed violence.