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Amravati rioting: Ex-minister among BJP leaders held; total arrests 132

So far, a total of 72 arrests have been made in 26 FIRs registered at four police stations in Amravati in connection with the violence on Friday and Saturday.

Written by Jayprakash S Naidu , Yogesh Naik , Mohamed Thaver | Amravati |
Updated: November 16, 2021 5:13:25 am
Former Maharashtra minister Anil Bonde was arrested by Amravati police | Facebook/Dr Anil Bonde

AMRAVATI police on Monday arrested BJP leader and former agriculture minister Dr Anil Bonde along with some other BJP leaders in connection with the violence in Amravati on Saturday.

The police said that former state minister Pravin Pote Patil is also a wanted accused in the case.

All the accused were produced before a court on Monday and granted bail.

The arrests triggered a war of words between the opposition BJP and Maha Vikas Aghadi government. Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis called it “appeasement politics” by the government while MVA spokesperson Nawab Malik said the police had foiled a conspiracy by the BJP to provoke a riot and destabilise the state government.

The city Kotwali police have also arrested other BJP leaders, including Amravati spokesperson s, Tushar Bharatiya, Mayor Chetan Gavande, Nivedita Choudhary, Mangesh Khond, Surekha Lungare and Radha Kuril.

A team led by CP Arti Singh and comprising DCP Vikram Sali, ACP Bharat Gaikwad, Senior PI Neelima Araj of City Kotwali police made the arrests.

A senior officer told The Indian Express that the latest arrests were in connection with the rioting that took place on Saturday in the Kotwali area of Amravati when the BJP had called a bandh. This takes the total number of arrests for the violence to 132.

Around 6,000 party members, along with allied organisations like Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, had taken to the streets to enforce the bandh on Saturday. Two shops belonging to a minority communities and four vehicles were torched. After being caught unawares, and overpowered by the numbers on the streets, the police acted quickly to prevent the violence from spreading.

The bandh was called to protest the march carried out by Muslim groups in Amravati a day earlier against anti-minority violence in Tripura. During this protest, a stone was thrown at the residence of Pote, in which a window was shattered and a person sustained injuries.

An official said it was Bonde along with Pote who were some of the main persons involved in calling the bandh on Saturday.

The police said they recovered swords and knives from many of the accused.

A curfew imposed on Saturday continued on Monday, but was eased for a few hours to buy essentials. Internet services also remained disconnected in the area. Senior officers of Maharashtra police are currently camping in Amravati.

Government spokesperson Malik alleged that Bonde had hatched a conspiracy to provoke rioting.

“Alcohol and money was distributed… riots were instigated. Police have got information. Money went from Mumbai to provoke riots. It was distributed through MLAs. The case is under investigation,” Malik said Monday.

He added, “When the BJP runs out of all weapons to destabilise governments in opposition-ruled states, it uses riots as a weapon of last resort.”

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