Updated: January 11, 2022 2:22:11 am
The Varanasi Police on Sunday registered an FIR against five people for allegedly putting up posters at various city ghats warning non-Hindus to keep away from those places. No one has been arrested so far in connection with the posters that were spotted for the first time last Thursday.
Of the five people booked for putting up the posters — purportedly signed “Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)” and “Bajrang Dal Kashi” — two men were VHP and Bajrang Dal workers. They were reportedly seen in videos acknowledging their role. The videos, which The Indian Express has not verified independently, were shared widely on social media. The VHP on Sunday said the two had been removed from the organisations.
The police identified the two men as Rajan Gupta and Nikhil Tripathi “Rudra”. In a video, Gupta, who claimed to be the VHP’s Kashi mahanagar mantri, purportedly said the posters were a “message for people not following Sanatan Dharma”. He reportedly went on to add, “Ganga ghats and temples are symbols of Sanatan Dharma and the centre of faith…this is not a picnic spot. If they have faith in Sanatan Dharma, they are welcome. If not, we will send them away.”
In another video, Tripathi, who claimed to be a Bajrang Dal sanghyojak in Varanasi, was purportedly heard making similar remarks. He reportedly said the posters were a “warning to people that the Ganga is our mother, it is not a picnic spot”. He purportedly added, “They have been warned to stay away from here. If they don’t remain at a distance, Bajrang Dal will make sure they are [sent] away from here.”
The police have registered the case against the two at Bhelupur station. While Assistant Commissioner of Police (Bhelupur) Praveen Kumar Singh on Sunday said investigators were trying to ascertain the identities of the others involved, Bhelupur Station House Officer (SHO) Rama Kant Dubey said Gupta and Tripathi had been served notices and ordered to deposit personal bonds of Rs 5 lakh each to ensure peace is maintained.
Meanwhile, the VHP’s Kashi (Varanasi) Prant Mantri Anand Singh claimed Gupta and Tripathi had nothing to do with the organisation anymore. “Rajan Gupta and Nikhil Tripathi ‘Rudra’ have been relieved from all their responsibilities and they have also been removed from the organisations,” he told The Indian Express.
On Friday, the VHP’s national spokesperson, Vinod Bansal, had said an inquiry into the matter would be conducted and action would be taken accordingly.
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