A day after a worker of the Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV) threw ink on Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA from Delhi Somnath Bharti in Rae Bareli, Harchandpur MLA Rakesh Singh on Tuesday praised and felicitated the attacker.
The UP legislator garlanded 34-year-old Jitendra Singh, who claims to be the HYV’s district convener, and gave him a cash award of Rs 51,000 at his home in Rae Bareli. Jitendra Singh claims to have attacked Bharti for making derogatory comments about Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who had formed the Hindu Yuva Vahini.
On Tuesday, he told reporters, “Today, on the invitation of MLA Rakesh Singh, I, along with members of our organisation, reached his residence at the civil lines area of Rae Bareli. The MLA garlanded and awarded me Rs 51,000 in cash. He also asked us to strengthen the organisation in Rae Bareli.”
The MLA said, “Aam Aadmi Party’s former law minister made derogatory statements about the chief minister and this youth gave him a befitting reply in the same language by blackening his face.”
Referring to Adityanath as “Devtulya [godlike]”, Rakesh Singh added, “Since the man gave a reply to the AAP leader in the same language he deserved, I decided to honour him by giving him a cash award of Rs 51,000. The man took a corrective decision as no one gets physically hurt if ink is thrown on them. At the same time, he gave a reply to the AAP leader for making derogatory remarks about our CM.”
Rakesh Singh was elected MLA on a Congress ticket but began supporting the BJP after his brother Dinesh Singh, a former Congress MLC, contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election against Sonia Gandhi as a candidate of the saffron party. A few months ago, the UP Assembly Speaker rejected a Congress petition to disqualify him.
The protests against Bharti were triggered after he allegedly made derogatory comments about women and criticised the condition of state hospitals at a public meeting in Amethi on Saturday. The Hindu Yuva Vahini arrived at a government guest house in Rae Bareli, where the former Delhi minister was staying, on Monday morning to demonstrate against him. The AAP leader was reportedly on his way to a government school when he was stopped by the police. In the ensuing melee, Bharti made the alleged remarks about Adityanath, following which Jitendra Singh threw ink on his face.
The AAP MLA, who allegedly misbehaved with a police officer and threatened to strip him of his uniform, was then arrested by Amethi police for the alleged comments about women and hospitals. Later in the evening, a local court sent him to judicial custody.
The police in Rae Bareli have lodged a case against the AAP leader and 15 unidentified people for the alleged remarks about the chief minister. The charges against them include rioting, promoting enmity between two groups, voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from discharging his duty and criminal intimidation.
The police said the ink attack on Bharti would also be part of its investigation. Investigators are now collecting videos and photographs of the incident.