A Bhagalpur court rejected the bail petition of Union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey’s son and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arijit Shashwat on Tuesday.
Shashwat has been accused of inciting violence in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district. The violence had left several persons, including two police personnel, injured in clashes that witnessed heavy stone-pelting, arson and exchange of fire.
According to CNN-News18, the court rejected Shashwat’s bail petition saying that it will consider the issue of bail for the BJP leader once a case diary is submitted in the Bhagalpur violence incident.
Shashwat was arrested on Sunday over his alleged involvement in the communal clashes in Bhagalpur and remanded to 14-day judicial custody, the police had said.
The arrest came barely a few hours after a Bhagalpur court rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Shashwat against whom an arrest warrant was issued on 24 March.
“We had information that Shashwat was at the famous Hanuman temple in the vicinity of Patna junction. A police team reached the spot and arrested him and he has been sent to Bhagalpur”, Senior Superintendent of Police, Patna, Manu Maharaj had said.
On his arrest, Shashwat had told reporters “I have given myself up to police in deference to the court order. I have been wrongly accused of evading arrest.”
“I was not absconding as I have not committed any crime. If raising slogans in praise of ‘Bharat Mata’ and ‘Sri Ram’ is a crime then I may be called a criminal,” he said.
Shashwat has been named, besides eight others, in one of the two FIRs lodged at Nathnagar police station of Bhagalpur, following the communal riots that broke out on 17 March after some people objected to playing of loud music during a procession led by him.
It had been taken out allegedly without permission to celebrate the New Year as per the Hindu calendar.
The alleged delay in Shashwat’s arrest had invited strong criticism from opposition parties in Bihar, especially the RJD-Congress combine, which accused the Nitish Kumar government of soft-peddling the matter, while Choubey had dubbed the FIR against his son as a “piece of garbage”.
Reacting to Shashwat’s arrest, ruling JD(U) spokesman Neeraj Kumar said it was a fitting reply to the Opposition, while Congress leader Prem Chand Mishra said the whole episode showed the “helplessness” of Kumar before the BJP.