Union Minister of State Ashwini Kumar Choubey’s son Arijit Shashwat, who is facing arrest in connection with communal clashes during a procession in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district, on Monday asked why he should surrender to the police since he was not absconding.
“The court issues warrant but the court also gives shelter,” Shashwat told ANI. “Once you go to the court, you will do only what it decides for you.” He told the news agency he would file an anticipatory bail application and that he would comply with the police’s orders if they try to arrest him.
Shashwat’s father Choubey called the FIR “a piece of garbage” registered by corrupt officers of the area, ANI reported. “My son made no mistake,” he said.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav asked why the state government has not arrested Shashwat yet. “He has lost control of the government,” Yadav alleged, referring to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. “It’s is being run from Nagpur [the headquarters of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh]. This shows how weak he has become.”
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy also said that Kumar should be asked why Shashwat is still free. “What is the police doing?” Swamy asked. “Police has the warrant, they should go ahead and catch him.” The BJP and Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) are in an alliance in the state.
Violence broke out on March 17 during a procession in Nathnagar that the Bharatiya Navvarsh Jagran Samiti organised to mark the Hindu New Year. Shashwat led the procession that passed through at least half-a-dozen Muslim-dominated areas. Sanjeev Kumar, the officer in charge of Lalmatia outpost, told The Indian Express that some of the slogans shouted were “provocative”, and could have triggered the violence. Three policemen were injured in incidents of stone pelting.