Four of the five accused of damaging a bust of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at a park in Mirzapur’s Awas Vikas colony, were arrested on Wednesday.
This comes three days after the bust was found damaged and a day after a Congress delegation met Governor Ram Naik, demanding that the culprits be arrested.
Police said none of the accused — all in the age group of 22 to 25 years — has any political affiliation or criminal antecedent.
“Based on a tip-off, we have caught four of the five accused. Following a powercut in the area, Ajay Kumar Dwivedi, Sandeep Kumar Tiwari, Shivam Sharma and Rahul Gautam went to a nearby park and tried to show how strong they were by vandalising the bust,” said Mirzapur SSP Ashish Tiwari.
“Ajay first tried to display his strength by trying to break the bust with a brick. When he failed, Sandeep tried to do the same with a stone. As soon as the statue got damaged, they threw the bust in a nearby drain and escaped, as they were afraid,” he added.
Tiwari said that considering the sensitivity of the incident, statements of the four have been video recorded.
“None of them has any previous criminal record, nor is associated with any party. They have confessed to the crime. We have recovered mobile phones from them and are trying to trace another culprit involved in the incident,” he added. The other accused has been identified as Vipin Pandey.
The accused have been arrested under section 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) of the IPC and Criminal Law Amendment Act.
However, the Congress alleged that police were trying to save the real culprits. State party president Raj Babbar said: “Police are trying to save the real faces behind the incident. How is it possible that some boys out of mischief went on to damage the bust of Rajiv Gandhi, not only by removing its head but also throwing it in a drain? It was a planned politically-motivated move. Thus, we will again a launch protest if the police does not strictly deal with the accused.”