The Bihar Police on Sunday said they had arrested two people in connection with the assault of a professor at Mahatma Gandhi Central University in Motihari in Bihar’s East Champaran district. Sanjay Kumar, who teaches in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, had posted a comment on Facebook criticising former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Vajpayee died on August 16.
Motihari Superintentendent of Police Upendra Sharma confirmed the development. The professor had commented on a friend’s post that claimed Vajpayee was not a Nehruvian socialist but a staunch loyalist of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh who always pushed the right-wing organisation’s agenda. “Ek fasiwad yug ka samapti. Atalji anant yatra pe nikle [The end of a fascist era, Atal ji begins an unending journey],” Kumar commented.
Motihari Town Police Station House Officer Anand Kumar said his department had verified the identity of seven people from a video clip purportedly of the assault that had surfaced on Facebook. “The two arrested people are among the seven identified in the video and the accused named in the professor’s complaint,” the officer said. The police said Jitendra Giri was arrested on Saturday, but did not identify the second accused who was arrested on Sunday.
The other five accused are still absconding. The investigators have been unable to collect sufficient evidence or eye witness testimonies to arrest the other accused. The professor had named a Dainik Bhaskar journalist among the accused.
The station house officer said the police have booked the two under charges of criminal conspiracy, but did not clarify if the accused are members of any group.
A third-year sociology student named Amit Vikram, who was reported missing on Saturday, returned to the university on Sunday and told the police that he had fled the campus fearing for his life when he saw the professor being beaten up.
Sanjay Kumar has been a vocal critic of the university’s vice chancellor and had been participating in a teachers’ protest against the vice chancellor for the past 70 days. In his complaint, he alleged that the attackers had asked him why he had been speaking up against the vice chancellor and a few others. A purported video of the assault shows a person asking Kumar if he wants to “become [former Delhi University students’ union president] Kanhaiya Kumar”.
Kumar was being treated at a medical facility in Patna after the assault.