Four members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) have been booked in Baghpat for alleged vandalism at a college on Tuesday over an idol of Shrutdevi, worshipped by the Jain community.
The ABVP has condemned the incident and apologised. The college administration, meanwhile, said they were not satisfied with charges invoked in the FIR and have demanded that the accused be booked for hurting religious sentiments.
The FIR against Akshay Kumar, Yachika Tomar, Ankur Chaudhary, Happy Sharma and unidentified persons was lodged under IPC sections 147 (rioting), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), and 506 (criminal intimidation).
D K Jain, joint secretary of Digamber Jain College in Baraut, told The Indian Express Thursday that they want the accused to be arrested. “The sections invoked are not satisfactory. They (police) should add sections for hurting religious sentiments so the accused can be arrested as soon as possible,” he said.
Baghpat SP Abhishek Singh said, “We have lodged the case based on the complaint under relevant sections of IPC. If need be, more sections will be added.”
Giving details of incident, Jain said, “Around 10-15 people claiming to be ABVP members indulged in vandalism inside the college over an idol of Goddess Shrutdevi.”
“In 2016, during centenary celebrations of the college, a temple of Shrutdevi was established in presence of Governor Ram Naik and a BJP Rajya Sabha member. The Jain community worships Shrutdevi, who has four hands,” he said.
“On Tuesday, some youngsters started vandalism on the campus and said they wanted to speak to the principal. They behaved like goons and misbehaved with officials. When the principal went to speak to them, they said they wanted to talk to the management. In the meantime, police reached. I got a call that they want to submit a memorandum,” Jain said.
“Most of these people were not from our college. They threatened to break the temple and the idol of Shrutdevi.”
“Shrutdevi is considered goddess of knowledge by the Jains. According to the Hindu mythology, Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge. These people are spreading misinformation that we replaced Saraswati’s idol with Shrutdevi’s idol,” Jain said.
He said that 300 people from the Jain community held a panchayat on Wednesday to discuss the incident.
Digamber Jain College is 105 years old and is recognised as a minority institution. Around 3,000 students are currently enrolled at the college that offers graduation and postgraduation courses. The college is affiliated to the Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut.
In the police complaint by the college administration, it was alleged that college students Akhshay Kumar, Yachika Tomar, and Ankur Chaudhary along with 10 outsiders indulged in vandalism, locked gates of some classrooms and abused members of college administration. “There is a possibility of a communal riot between communities over the incident,” it stated.
Rahul Valmiki, ABVP’s national secretary, told The Indian Express, “The issue was raised by some members of ABVP without the knowledge of senior office bearers. ABVP condemns the incident. I would like to apologise to the Jain community on behalf of the ABVP. The issue was raised by some members due to lack of knowledge.” He confirmed that all four named in the FIR are ABVP members.
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