The BJP will felicitate 63 party workers who were jailed after the July 4 street violence in Moradabad, in which the then district magistrate was badly injured. BJP supporters had clashed with police after a mahapanchayat called to protest the removal of a loudspeaker from a temple in the town’s Kanth area was disallowed.
The BJP workers were released on bail on September 26. The party’s Amroha unit will felicitate them on October 5, for supposedly having spent three months in jail fighting for the rights of Dalit Hindus.
UP BJP president Lakshmikant Bajpai and general secretary (organisation) Sunil Bansal have been invited to the felicitation ceremony, along with several officebearers of the RSS in western UP.
On November 21, 2013, the UP BJP had felicitated its MLAs Suresh Rana and Sangeet Som in the presence of Bajpai and the then state party in-charge Amit Shah on a stage in Agra, from which Narendra Modi, then the prime ministerial candidate of the NDA, spoke shortly afterward.
Rana and Som, whom Bajpai had described as “heroes” and “saviours of Hindus”, had been booked by the UP government for instigating the September 2013 communal riots in Muzaffarnagar, but subsequently let out on bail.
BJP leaders said 29 of the 63 workers who will be felicitated on October 5 are from Amroha, 19 are from Bijnor, eight from Moradabad, and 7 from Sambhal.
The Amroha district president of the BJP, Girish Tyagi, said the workers had been booked for rioting, attempt to murder, causing hurt, unlawful assembly, and damaging public and Railway property. The ceremony would boost the morale of 23 BJP workers who are still in jail, Tyagi said.
The workers will be given the title of “Jail yatri”, and presented with a garland, shawl and memento.
BJP state spokesperson Anila Singh said she would attend the felicitation ceremony. “These workers bravely went to jail for an issue raised by the party. They will be encouraged, and the morale of other party workers too will rise,” she said.
BJP workers and other local people had clashed with police after being prevented from holding a mahapanchayat against the removal of a loudspeaker from a temple in Akbarpur Chanderi Nayagaon village. The protesters said the loudspeaker had been in operation for 40 years, and had been removed at the behest of the local Peace Party MLA, Aneesur Rahman.
MLA Som, and MPs Sarvesh Kumar Singh (Moradabad), Nepal Singh (Rampur), Kanwar Singh Tanwar (Amroha), and Satyapal Saini (Sambhal), and the BJP western UP president Bhupendra Singh, were detained at different places after they tried to defy the district administration’s ban on the mahapanchayat.
During the protests and stone-throwing, a stone had hit the then district magistrate of Amroha, Chandra Kant, in the eye. The BJP had later alleged that its party workers were arrested before the incident took place.