A day after O P Sharma was caught on camera assaulting CPI leader Ameeque Jamei, the BJP closed ranks around its Delhi MLA while police continued to drag their feet on taking action against him.
On Monday, Sharma and his aides were seen chasing and assaulting Jamei outside the Patiala House Courts complex, ahead of the hearing on police custody of arrested JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar.
Sharma was at Patiala House to support Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who had appeared in court in connection with his defamation case against Kejriwal.
On Tuesday, Police Commissioner B S Bassi termed the attack on journalists and students as “minor scuffles”. “Two different lines of thought confronted each other in a charged environment. Allegations and counter-allegations have been made,” he said.
Asked about the action against Sharma, Bassi said both parties suffered injuries and that the BJP MLA had been sent for a medical examination.
Police later said they had registered an FIR in the case based on a PCR call at 3.45 pm on Monday that Sharma has been injured in a scuffle and on Jamei’s complaint against Sharma.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Sharma said he was upset at being called names on TV. “I am being called names in every form of media. Some call me goonda, some badmash. But you tell me, what would you do if someone abuses your motherland?” he said.
Delhi unit chief Satish Upadhyay said a clarification had been sought from Sharma, but claimed his colleague was innocent.
“I have told them that whatever happens, one should not take the law in his hands. But the incidents narrated to me could boil anyone’s blood. One cannot hear abuses against your own nation, irrespective of your affiliation to any political party. And had the CPI leader been innocent, he would have lodged the complaint against Sharma yesterday and completed a medical test like Sharma did,” he said.
Jamei had registered a police complaint hours after being released from hospital on Monday.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal wrote in his letter to Modi: “What transpired in the Patiala House Court yesterday was very disturbing. Teachers, students and journalists were beaten up and Police stood there and did nothing… Front pages of all newspapers have carried a picture of BJP MLA O P Sharma beating up a man and he has also been quoted as saying he would open fire if he had a gun. These are circumstances that can cause the system to fail.”
He added: “By taking strict action against disruptive elements and anarchists like O P Sharma, a message should be sent to people that the government will not tolerate such anarchy… I believe if you call O P Sharma and reprimand him, he will not dare to commit such acts in the future. Else, elements like Sharma will think they have the Centre’s support. This belief has to be crushed.”
Asking Modi to break his silence on the issue, Kejriwal wrote, “The country is united against anti-national elements. But is every student opposing the BJP anti-national? No.”
Kejriwal wrote that the task of running universities should be left to academicians and political interference must be done away with. The Chief Minister also asked the PM to ensure that the guilty are identified and punished. Innocents in the case, he wrote, should be released.