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Bhagalpur clashes: Arijit Shashwat sent to 14-day judicial custody

The 36-year-old BJP leader surrendered to the police around 2 am on Sunday at a temple in Patna in the presence of a huge crowd of his supporters and the media.

SNS | New Delhi |

A court in Bhagalpur sent Arijit Shashwat to 14-day judicial custody in connection with the 17 March communal clashes in the city.

Arijit, the son of Union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey, was produced in the Bhagalpur district court by the Bihar Police on Sunday hours after his dramatic surrender.

The 36-year-old BJP leader surrendered to the police around 2 am on Sunday at a temple in Patna in the presence of a huge crowd of his supporters and the media.

After he was taken into custody, the police took Arijit to a hospital for a routine medical examination. He was thereafter taken to Bhagalpur where he will be produced before a court later today.

While the police claimed that he was arrested, Arijit said that he had surrendered.

Read More: Bhagalpur riots: Union Minister’s son Arijit Shashwat in police custody

The dramatic development came hours after the Bhagalpur district court declined to grant bail to Arijit. As he was being taken away, Arijit told reporters that he will provide evidence of his innocence. He claimed that he never chanted provocative slogans or brandished any weapon.

Choubey, who is the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare in the Modi government, maintained that his son is innocent.

Addressing the media on Sunday, Choubey said, “Arijit has been saying that the FIR registered against him is a conspiracy. He told me he wants to surrender. I said it is a good decision. We respect the law. He said that he will fight this case within the legal perimeters.”

Choubey had earlier called the FIR against Arijit “a piece of garbage” and claimed that his son has not done anything wrong.

Arijit is accused of inciting communal violence on 17 March in Medini Chowk. Clashes erupted in the Muslim-dominated area during a procession of BJP, RSS and Bajrang Dal workers. An FIR was filed against Arijit and eight others in connection with the violence.

According to reports, the incident in which Arijit is accused happened on the eve of Hindu New Year. The procession, which passed through many Muslim-dominated areas on a 15-km route, was organised by the Bharatiya Navvarsh Jagran Samiti.

Stone-pelting in the area during a clash between two groups left three policemen injured.

Opposition leaders in Bihar roasted the BJP-JD(U) alliance government led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over Arijit’s arrest.

In a series of tweets, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav had slammed the Bihar CM over the delay in the arrest of the BJP leader.

“Nitish Kumar ji ghutan mein hai. Hataash, udas, pareshan aur vichlit hai. Haathon mein beriyan aur chooriyan hai. (Nitish Kumar ji is feeling suffocated. He is depressed, distraught, disturbed and desperate. Chains and bangles are on the hands.),” wrote Tejashwi on his official Twitter handle.