Twenty two people were arrested in Jammu on Tuesday night during violence that followed an incident of sacrilege at a temple in Roopnagar by a youth from Doda, which was seen as a political move by many in the state. All the protestors were released unconditionally next day on orders of the state government. However, among them, only one was a BJP district general secretary and another a Bajrang Dal activist. Here are some of them:
Raju Sharma, 39, Muthi: It’s the nick name BJP’s district general secretary (rural) Mukesh Sharma, but he preferred to give only this name to the cops at the time of his apprehension along with two others, Udit and Joginder. However, he says that he’d gone to get some medicine for her minor daughter and both Udit and Joginder accompanied him. He admitted that they preferred to move to Janipura instead of nearby Ranbir Canal bridge at Bakshi Nagar out of curiosity following reports of violence over sacrilege incident. Though Mukesh being a BJP functionary had been apprehended by police many times for participating in agitations, it was his first night at a police station.
Rohit Sharma, 34, Pacca Danga: A prominent Bajrang Dal activist and a gym owner, he went to Janipura on hearing about an incident of sacrilege at Roopnagar temple. Admitting that they had been protesting outside the police station, he said that they were appealing the protestors to maintain peace when some of them started pelting stones. However, cops apprehended him. Though he too had been apprehended by police earlier also during agitations, it was his first night at the police station. He was the only Bajrang Dal activist apprehended by police as others managed to escape.
Sanjeev Sharma, 40, Buta Nagar (opposite Janipura police station): A former HR employee in a construction company, he is married and has two children aged 3 and 2 years. Pointing out that he was standing outside his lane when a police official called him and pushed him inside a vehicle after some cops identified him as one of the people standing outside the police station. He says that he had gone there out of curiosity as police station was situated a stone’s throw distance from his residence. Prior to it, he was never apprehended by police.
Kuldeep Kumar, 35, of Laxmipuram, Chinore: A class VIII pass, he runs a tea stall on the Janipura-Bantalab road. Hailing from Ramnagar tehsil which was once a hot bed of militants in Udhampur district, he had come to Jammu in search of livelihood over a decade ago. Married, he has a wife and two children, 5 and 2 years. He had voted for BJP during the last Lok Sabha and the Assembly polls.
Puran Singh, 35, of Sumber in Ramban district: He owns a tractor. He had migrated to Jammu in search of livelihood when his native place was affected by militancy. Initially, he worked as tractor driver for someone else. Living at Laxmupuram along with his wife and two daughters, aged 3 years and 8 months, he too had voted for BJP during the Lok Sabha and assembly. He too had supported BJP during the last Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
Both were apprehended by police near Roopnagar from behind a truck during violence. However, they say that they were on way to Roopnagar to shift water tanker of Kuldeep’s elder brother Rakesh from near Janipura police station to some safer place.
Arjun Singh, 16, Uppar Thathar: A student of class 11, he alongwith Rishap Singh, a B.Sc. Part-II student of nearby Lower Thathar, was apprehended by cops from near upper Barnai near Roop nagar when they were returning home after seeing a cricket match held at Barnai between two local clubs during evening. Arjun, who had secured 84 per cent marks in his class 10 exams, denies having participated in arson.
Pardeep Singh, 34, Lower Barnai: A brick kiln owner, he too had gone with the wave supporting BJP during the last Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. Married and having two children aged 8 and 3 years, he said, “I was returning from Sarwal after collecting a payment of Rs 1 lakh from a customer when I got stranded in traffic jam caused due to blockade of road by protestors outside Janipura station. As there had been no senior officials either from the civil administration or the police, protestors suddenly went on rampage burning the vehicles. Pointing out that he was helping the local SHO in dousing fire when cops caught him, he said that it was his first night at the police station.
Rohit Sharma, 21, New Plot: A B.Com final year student, he along with Vijay Kumar, 27, of the same locality and one Satvir Jamwal, 23, of Bantalab was arrested by cops at Janipura main crossing. While Vijay Kumar works at a readymade shop in Jammu city, Jamwal is a post-graduate student. According to Rohit, Vijay alongwith Satvir was going to Bantalab to see his ailing mother. As both were on a two-wheeler, he asked them to drop in at Roopnagar where his friend was living. Trio were heading towards Roopnagar when police nabbed them around 10 pm. Vijay confirmed Rohit’s version. Both denied association with any political organisation, but admitted having voted for BJP during the last Assembly polls held in the state. It was their first night at Bahu police station.
Others whose also figured among the list of those apprehended during violence by police on Tuesday late evening included, Alok Sharma alias Kali of Top Paloura, Ajay Singh Manhas of Janipura, Vinayak Kaul of Muthi Gaon, Harjit Sharma of Muthi, Ashish Sharma of Janipura and Pardeep Singh of Lower Barnai, and Gagan Singh of Muthi Camp.