Five Bajrang Dal activists, who were part of the mob that vandalised a mall in Hyderabad on Valentine’s Day, were arrested by Cyberabad police on Saturday.
More arrests are likely as the police are on the lookout for more accused who have been identified from video footage. Following the incident, two cases were registered in Madhapur and Gachibowli police stations.
The arrested persons were identified as Nangoth Ajay Singh (26), Vadthya Arjun (23), Korra Santosh (20), Gudupu Pavan Kumar(24), and Polari Tirupathi (22). They are all residents of the Kukatpally area and except Tirupathi, who is a student, all other accused are doing private jobs.
They were charged under sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 448 (punishment for house-trespass), 427 (mischief causing damage) r/w 149 IPC and section 3 of PDPP (Prevention of damage to public property) Act at Madhapur police station, and under sections 448, 427, 506(criminal intimidation) r/w 34 IPC at Gachibowli police station.
On Friday evening, videos of young men carrying saffron flags and wearing saffron shawls vandalising a mall and an icecream parlour in the city had emerged. The videos soon went viral on social media even as the mall could not be identified. The men shouted “Jai Shri Ram” and demanded a ban on Valentine’s Day celebrations terrorising onlookers.
According to a statement issued by Cyberabad police, “10 to 15 activists of Bajrang Dal moved in a group on two-wheelers from KPHB towards Hitec city and vandalized an ice cream shop.”
It further said: “They moved on the roads with flags giving slogans against the celebration of Valentine’s day and created havoc on the malls such as ABN Sharat mall, Bikanerwala, In orbit mall, etc in the areas of Gachibowli, Kothaguda, Madhapur”
The miscreants had escaped by the time police reached the place, police said. Based on CCTV footage, the accused were apprehended. They have been produced before the Court and remanded to judicial custody.
“Some more accused have been identified as Subash, Kiran, Datta Sai, Sai Reddy, Venkat, and others. Efforts are continued to arrest all of them,” the statement added.
The Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, has been seeking a ban on Valentine’s day celebrations calling it western and citing the need to preserve Indian culture. The Telangana unit had announced February 14 as “veer jawan divas” in memory of CRPF jawans who were killed in a terrorist attack in Pulwama, J&K, last year on this day.
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