Besides BJP MP Hukum Singh, MLA Suresh Rana and some VHP and Bajrang Dal office bearers, a local Congress leader, Pawan Kansal, has also been named in a complaint related to the mahapanchayat in Shamli district last week, where some inflammatory speeches were allegedly made, leading to communal tension in the area.
In his complaint, Maulana Ehtaramul Hasan, a local cleric, has alleged that Singh, Rana and Kansal were among those present on the dais when Acharya Jasveer Maharaj, who runs an ashram in Muzaffarnagar, made an inflammatory speech. Hasan alleged that none of the party leaders raised objections.
“We have examined the video clips of the mahapanchayat and have found that a few of the accused made objectionable comments. We will soon start the process of taking action against them,” said SHO, Kandhla police station, Naresh Pal Singh.
The police had earlier filed an FIR in which only Jasveer was named. Jasveer and his nephew, Jitendra, have since been arrested.
A case has been filed under IPC Sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause a riot), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant).
According to the SHO, Section 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) has also been included. Police claimed that the process to invoke the National Security Act (NSA) against Jasveer has also begun.
The mahapanchayat was called on December 25 over the Shamli police’s “failure” to trace a 23-year-old Hindu woman, who went missing with a tenant of her family. The woman, who has since been traced, has alleged that the accused, Mohammad Asif, took her to Delhi on the pretext of finding her a job.
When contacted, Kansal said: “People from different communities were present at the mahapanchayat… The mahapanchayat was called to demand that the missing girl be traced… I also addressed the meeting with the same demand but did not use any inflammatory or derogatory words. There were a few Congress workers also at the mahapanchayat.”
Om Prakash Sharma, district Congress president, Shamli, said: “We have questioned Kansal for taking part in the mahapanchayat organised by the BJP worker. Kansal could not give any clear reply.”
Among the others who have been named in the case are VHP’s Shamli district president Subhash Malik, Bajrang Dal state convenor Balraj Doongar, Bharatiya Kisan Mazdoor Sanyukth Morcha national working president Chowdhary Rajveer Singh, BJP worker Naresh Saini, who organised the mahapanchayat, and village pradhan Arvind Saini.
When contacted, Arvind Saini and Subhash Malik claimed that they did not give any speech and were not even present on the dais. Balraj Doongar and Chowdhary Rajveer Singh said they spoke, but did not use any derogatory or inflammatory words.