The Uttar Pradesh Police have arrested five people associated with the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha for shooting at an effigy of Mahatma Gandhi to mark his 71st death anniversary in Aligarh on Wednesday, PTI reported.
The police had registered a case against 13 people, including the outfit’s national general secretary Puja Shakun Pandey, who is seen firing at the effigy in a video.
The police arrested two accused on Wednesday evening. One of them had set the effigy on fire. On Thursday, the police arrested four people, two of whom were seen in the video that was shared widely on social media, Additional Superintendent of Police Neeraj Kumar Jadaun told PTI.
However, Puja Shakun Pandey and her husband Ashok Pandey are absconding, the police said. Aligarh Senior Superintendent of Police Akash Kulhary told The Hindu that the police had raided the couple’s house on Thursday.
The suspects have been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, including committing deliberate and malicious acts to promote enmity between different groups.
Kulhary added that a police official has been suspended. He said the incident was a failure of the local intelligence unit.
The organisation had recreated Gandhi’s assassination and celebrated the day as “Shaurya Divas”, or Bravery Day. In a video shared on social media, Puja Shakun Pandey, dressed in saffron, is seen aiming a toy gun at the effigy of Gandhi. After she “shoots at” the effigy, a red-coloured liquid is seen flowing from it. The effigy was later set ablaze, as the supporters of the group shouted slogans against Gandhi and in praise of his assassin Nathuram Godse.
Hindu Mahasabha workers had also garlanded a statue of Godse, who had shot Gandhi dead in Delhi on January 30, 1948. The Hindutva outfit has held Gandhi responsible for India’s partition. Godse and his co-conspirator Narayan Apte were executed on November 15, 1949.