Among the sword-wielding men who attacked a police van taking murder-accused Aaftab Poonawala from the forensic science laboratory in Rohini to Tihar jail on Monday was the current Haryana state president of the Hindu Sena who went there looking for “revenge”.
Delhi Police have arrested two members of the outfit, Kuldeep Thakur and Nigam Gujjar, both Gurgaon residents. According to the FIR, they came to the FSL office with their associates after watching the news about the Shraddha Walkar case. “They had come to know that… Aaftab, who allegedly killed Shraddha, will be taken to FSL. They were waiting outside the office in their car to take revenge. They said that when police came out with Aaftab, they first blocked the way of the vehicle with theirs and attacked the police vehicle with swords,” the FIR reads. Police have recovered at least three swords.
Thakur (34), Haryana state president, Hindu Sena, hails from Bhiwani district in Haryana and has been associated with Hindu Sena for four-five years. A father of three, including two girls, he is a contractor in welding, construction as well as a second-hand car salesman. “He has been working for the Hindu cause and would often put up banners,” said Surjit Yadav, national vice-president of the Hindu Sena. Surjit said Thakur and at least 8-10 men from Gurgaon left for Rohini Monday.
“I was not aware that people from the Hindu Sena from Gurgaon had gone to attack the accused… they had been discussing recently beating him… baat toh karte hi the ki peetenge… but he was in police custody. I heard they went in two cars – some were from Mohammadpur Jharsa village and Dhanwapur. I saw them later on television speaking to the media,” said Surjit.
In Rohini on Monday evening, before the alleged attack, Thakur told the media: “He killed someone’s daughter… he cut a girl into 35 pieces. I am a father of two girls… Jab hmari behn beti surakshit nahi toh kya karein… hum maarenge inko.”
A police source in Gurgaon said Thakur has a criminal record and was booked in Gurgaon for an assault case at Rajendra Park police station and in another case related to possession of arms in Manesar a few years ago.
Surjit told The Indian Express, “I do not know where they got the swords. In our organisation, we often give swords symbolically, but they are not as sharp and bend easily. The ones in the video were sharp. I think they were procured from Delhi.”
He added that another suspect named in the FIR, Dhan Singh alias Lilu Gujjar, is the Gurgaon district president of Hindu Sena and a contractor in construction. His associate from Mohammadpur Jharsa village, Nigam Gujjar (32) alias Narender, has also been arrested. “Nigam does not hold any post. He is an associate of Lilu and occupies a muscleman type of role in the organisation,” said Surjit.
Vishnu Gupta, national president of Hindu Sena, said, “We will get bail for all the arrested workers of the Hindu Sena… Aaftab killed a Hindu girl… The workers were angry and they took such a step, which they should not have. Through this, a message has been sent. Kanoon toh saza dega hi, par samaj bi chhodega nahi,” he said.
Delhi Police said that during questioning, the accused claimed they wanted to “take revenge”. DCP Rohini G S Sidhu said, “We arrested the two men and sent them to judicial custody in the morning. They were interrogated. Police stopped them in time and controlled the situation. As per our records, they don’t have a criminal record.”