The Jharkhand Police have detained 20 people for allegedly beating up social activist Agnivesh in the state’s Pakur district on Tuesday, News18 reported.
Agnivesh claimed his attackers were workers of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. He was in Pakur to participate in an event in Littipara block. “As soon as I came out of the venue, BJYM and ABVP activists attacked me without any provocation,” he told PTI. “They alleged that I was speaking against Hindus.”
Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das has ordered an investigation into the matter. Pakur Sub-Divisional Police Officer Ashok Kumar Singh said the guilty would not be spared.
Videos of the incident, which have since gone viral on social media, show the attackers waving black flags and raising slogans against him. “I thought Jharkhand was a peaceful state, but my views have changed after this incident,” Agnivesh said.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party distanced itself from the incident. The spokesperson of the party’s Jharkhand unit, P Shahdeo, said, “They weren’t workers of our party. We condemn this but his track record is such that this reaction doesn’t come as a surprise.”
Congress General Secretary Ashok Gehlot condemned the attack and demanded an investigation.
Agnivesh has been attacked in the past as well. In 2011, religious leader Nityanand Das assaulted Agnivesh at a public meeting over his comments on the Amarnath Yatra. The activist had described the annual pilgrimage as “pakhand”, or hypocrisy, a statement for which he was later criticised by the Supreme Court.