The Varanasi district administration on Wednesday sent Congress MLA Ajay Rai to Fatehgarh jail, following which the party raised concerns over his security. Rai was arrested Tuesday evening in connection with the violence during Anyar Pratikar Yatra on October 5 in Godaulia.
Varanasi SSP Akash Kulhari confirmed the development while informing that Swami Avimukteshwaranand, one of the main accused named in the FIR, was yet to be arrested.
While officials remained silent on the need to shift Rai, it is understood it was done to keep his supporters at bay.
Following Rai’s arrest, Congress workers had tried to block roads in some areas. There were also reports that the police had planned to arrest Swami Avimukteshwaranand last night but withdrew after apprehending crowd trouble.
Kulhari, however, denied the claim, saying the media would be informed as and when the arrest takes place.
Talking to The Indian Express, Varanasi-based Congress leader Laliteshpati Tripathi, in-charge of the Allahabad Zone and currently overseeing the developments there, said: “It’s well known that Rai has stood witness against mafia don Mukhtar Ansari. Even though he is not there, we know criminals have links all across. It appears that the police in Varanasi were not aware of the Supreme Court order, which had granted him (Rai) permission to get security. It is likely that Rai’s wife would approach Inspector General (Varanasi Zone) over the next couple of days and raise the issue with him.”
Tripathi alleged that both the Centre and the state government were behind this.
Incidentally, after the violence took place, Rai had flown to Delhi to meet Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and was arrested when he returned. “Rahul Gandhi asked Rai to keep him apprised of the situation, and called him over after the incident. They met (in Delhi) to discuss the issue and, when he returned, he was arrested,” Tripathi said.
The Congress in Lucknow, meanwhile, alleged that BJP MLAs Shyam Deo Rai Chaudhary, Ravindra Jaiswal and Jyotsna Srivastava as well as VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi were also part of the protest but similar action was not taken against them.
Satyadev Tripathi, party’s communication department chairman, alleged that the Samajwadi Party government was harassing Congress leaders in Varanasi and that raids were being conducted at the houses of party leaders.
“We demand judicial inquiry into this violence so that the truth can come out and real culprits could be caught because members of BJP, VHP and Hindu Yuva Vahini, who had instigated the violence, have not been named so far,” he claimed.