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

The 36-year-old BJP leader is accused of inciting communal violence on 17 March in Medini Chowk.

SNS | New Delhi |

Arijit Shashwat, son of Union minister and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Choubey, surrendered to the police around 2 am on Sunday at a temple in Patna. He was wanted in connection with the Bhagalpur clashes of 17 March.

There was a huge crowd of supporters at the temple who had been asked to assemble at the site. The media had been informed too.

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.

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.

The 36-year-old BJP leader is accused of inciting communal violence on 17 March in Medini Chowk. Communal 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.

His father, who is the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare in the Modi government, called the FIR against Arijit “a piece of garbage” and claimed that his son has not done anything wrong.

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.

Read More: Tejashwi Yadav attacks Nitish Kumar, demands against son of Union minister

“If Nitish Kumar cannot get the son of the Union minister arrested then he should give us the chance with the police. We will nab and hand him over to Nitish ji,” he added.

Arijit had unsuccessfully contested the 2015 assembly polls as the BJP candidate from Bhagalpur.