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Gurgaon schoolbus attack: In village of 18 accused, questions hit a wall of denial

Gurgaon schoolbus attack: The mob was protesting the film’s release when they stoned a G D Goenka World School bus as students — ranging from nursery to class XII — huddled on the floor inside.

Written by Abhishek Angad , Abhinav Rajput | Bhondsi | Updated: January 26, 2018 6:54 am
Padmaavat, Padmaavat protests, Karni sena, karni sena padmaavat, Gurgaon bus attack, Screengrab from the video showing school children huddled in a Gurgaon school bus which was attacked by protesters.

The panchayat office in Bhondsi village can only discuss Wednesday’s mob attack on a school bus with children. All the suspects apprehended or arrested a day later are from this Rajput-dominated village and while village elders condemned the violence, many still insist Padmaavat should not have been released.

The mob was protesting the film’s release when they stoned a G D Goenka World School bus as students — ranging from nursery to class XII — huddled on the floor inside. Before that, demonstrators had set fire to a Haryana Roadways bus.

The film opened Thursday in multiplexes and theatres across Gurgaon amid heightened security and several preventive arrests, including Suraj Pal Ammu, the General Secretary of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena.

Just 500 meters from where the buses were attacked is Bhondsi village, from where police held 18 suspects, including eight minors based on an FIR by Sukhbir, the driver of the roadways bus.

The villagers vehemently deny participating in the protest and have even called for a mahapanchayat Friday. “There is a Mahapanchayat on Friday to discuss these illegal arrests and we may not even unfurl the Tricolour as a mark of protest,” said one villager. The mahapanchayat was announced across the village through loudspeakers.

Read | Padmaavat protests: Those on board school bus pelted with stones recount horror

The grandfather of one of the apprehended suspects said his grandson had reached the scene of the crime only after the incident. “He was going for a football match. He had stopped there for some time when the incident occurred and had no role to play in the incident,” he said. The grandfather, a 75-year-old retired army Subedar said he was not part of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena, but asserted that Padmavat should not have been released.

Padmaavat, Padmaavat protests, Karni sena, karni sena padmaavat, Gurgaon bus attack, Securitymen outside Delite Cinema in New Delhi. (Photo: Amit Mehra)

Ravinder Kumar, Gurgaon Police PRO, said, “Ten of the eighteen people held for the school bus incident were majors, and have been remanded to judicial custody for two weeks. The other eight were juveniles, who have been sent to the observation home in Faridabad.”

Another arrested after the incident is Sukhbir (20), the gram panchayat pump operator who managed the tube well. Bhondsi residents said they realised he had been arrested when there was no water supply Thursday morning. His wife Pooja (18) said, “We have nothing to do with this Karni Sena. My husband was only standing there out of curiosity. We are dependent on him to run the house. I just want my husband freed.”

A few hundred meters from Sukhbir’s house is where a 14-year-old orphan, apprehended by police lives with his 70-year-old grandmother. “A child without parents goes off the track but that doesn’t mean he would have such things,” she said. According to her, she had sent her grandson to a ration shop Wednesday afternoon for the monthly ration and she did not hear from him.

Read | Padmaavat protests: 18 arrested for attack on school bus in Gurugram

“He never showed any violent streak, how could he have put a bus on fire. Villagers tell me the crime was committed by some other group and persons from this village have been wrongly arrested,” she said.

According to Sukhbir’s FIR, 50-60 people with “petrol cans, lathis” had blocked his bus raising “Karni Sena slogans”. “Passengers in the bus realised they would be burnt alive and they jumped out of the bus. The mob even threw stones at a G D Goenka bus that was behind me,” the FIR stated.

D P Singh (68), who has lived in Bhondsi all his life, insisted that the name “Karni Sena” had never been heard in the village before November, 2017. “The children of the village has not even heard the name of Karni Sena till three months ago. It is only after a mahapanchayat was held in the village two months ago that they knew what it was.”

Gurgaon police said the suspects, from Bhondsi village, were produced in a court in Sohna Thursday and remanded to judicial custody, with police saying some “objectionable materials” were also recovered from them.

Villagers said that they don’t support violence as a medium to protest but asserted that Padmaavat distorted history. “(Sanjay Leela) Bhansali should have shown the movie to Karni Sena or the elderly people of the community. He is showing a Rajput princess dancing. Which princess dances?” Singh said.

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  1. Mita Agrawal
    Jan 26, 2018 at 3:31 pm
    For what these people are proud about? or fear ful of truth of their incapabilty? Proud for losing to every invaders of this country? Losing 17 times in somnath temple? Or they proud of their victory over their own brother in the name of caste by not allowing dalit or sudras to hold sword due to fear of losing superiority? They are not proud ful for anything as there is no proud moment in history except infighting where both loser or winner are Indian. They are fear ful of their own cowardly history. Truth will be truth even if there is no followers of it. Truth is that they were holding sword due to their caste but do not know how to fight. They lost to every invaders from mughal to British. Instead of proud they should have ashamed of. In exam only winner celebrates but here they celebrate because they appear exam. Winning or losing does not matter. Foreigners know the reality. They actually showing false bravery to lower castes.
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    1. Krishna Mittal
      Jan 26, 2018 at 2:59 pm
      As per this news report that no one torched the bus ,all of them were onlookers. Police is regressive in apprehending any culprit. They should arrest producer of Padmavat,which was the reason that bus got burnt. The governments of BJP ruled states like Gujarat,MP,GOA,RAJSTHAN,BIHAR are law abiding . Anyone opposing Padmavat is doing great job to the cause of Rajput community. No one be allowed to obstruct peaceful opponents to Padmavat or any film. Great ease of doing business only we oppose the way people think of doing business against wish of few politicians or individual saviours. Any how shortly all this shall be forgotten.
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      1. Kim Sharma
        Jan 26, 2018 at 3:07 pm
        India is literally burning. Thanks Modi for letting us know so early in your rule the difference between Congress rule and bjp rule.you gave us the most wretched admin india has ever seen. Our Muslim sultan's, Hindu kings, european masters, and Congress PMs knew how to administer a country well. We can ignore their shortcomings as they helped india grow, but modi, you don't know even to manage the economy, forget providing peace and that too in 21st century. Other rulers too had faced problems, but they were growth pangs of a young country. Only modi creates problems along with his chela vandals, foolish ministers , thuggish rss masters...pls resign and go modi... You are the worst!
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        1. Mehli Gandevia
          Jan 28, 2018 at 11:20 pm
          Well said Kim Sharma. 'resign and go modi... You are the worst!' an apt acronym for modi is MOST OBNOXIOUSLY DEPRAVED INDIVIDUAL.
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      2. Sachin Shendge
        Jan 26, 2018 at 2:22 pm
        attached innocent children,...just for showing thier reality in public like great jodha bhai pamdmavati
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        1. Kim Sharma
          Jan 26, 2018 at 1:49 pm
          Avail Republic Day discount at RSS shakhas: read the typical timetable of an RSS shakha where students are taught to become qualified Thugs of Hindustan: (Students arrive early morning) 5.30 to 6.30: March past 7.00 to 8.00: Training to use baton to flog dalits 8.30 to 9.30: How to denigrate Gandhis and Congress and play down their role in nation building 10.00 to 11: How to portray RSS and BJP as nation builders despit nil contribution to India's growth 11.30 to 12.30: how to become a good rioter - hands-on training to use daggers, burn tyres, lynch muslims and dalits (dummies occasionally used) (At the end of the session, aspiring Thugs of Hindustan depart to their homes and sleep for the rest of the day. Often called on short notice to lynch muslims, flog dalits, cheer for Modiji, fill up seats at BJP rally venues, distribute pamphlets containing lies, rape and loot on highways in the guise of gau rakshaks.
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          1. Raghuraman C N
            Jan 26, 2018 at 11:27 am
            Bunch of cowards. Rank rowdism. BJP must answer who is main stream and who is fringe. BJP, Karni sena and some part of Congress are all responsible for this helpless sorry state of affairs.
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