Patna: Hindu Samaj Sangathan leader Vinod Nonia—the absconding main accused in the killing of 18-year-old Amir Hanzla during the anti-CAA-NRC protests in Patna’s Phulwari Sharif on December 21—has surrendered before the court and has reportedly confessed his crime to the police.
A police officer from the Phulwari Sharif police station claimed that Vinod, who was absconding for last 18 days, surrendered in the local court under police pressure, as the police pasted a notice of attachment outside his house two days ago. The police were set to attach his house on Thursday if he failed to surrender.
“It was Vinod, district president of Hindu Samaj Sangathan, a Hindutva outfit, who was the brain behind the well-planned attack on the peaceful protest march against CAA-NRC during the statewide shutdown called by the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal(RJD). He killed Aamir Hanzala when he was running for safety through Sangat Gali (bylane); accused opened indiscriminate firing on protesters” said the police officer.
Another police officer told NewsClick.in that Vinod was the man behind the conspiracy to generate communal trouble in Phulwari Sharif by attacking the protest march. It was revealed by nearly a dozen others arrested who are accused of having been involved in the killing of Aamir. They had informed police that Vinod, along with Nagesh Samrat, Deepak and two others, first forcibly captured Aamir and mercilessly hit his head with a bat and brutally stabbed him to death for participating in the protest march against CAA-NRC. “A few days ahead of the protests against CAA-NRC, Vinod had called a meeting of his party workers and local supporters and had decided to attack the protest march and use violence if required. Vinod played the main role and engaged some local women who were found pelting stones at the protest march that led to violent clashes and resulted in killing of Aamir,” he said.
Police have arrested 9 accused; three including Vinod have surrendered. Now all the accused in the case are in judicial custody. Most of the accused are known bootleggers. Police have also recovered one pistol and five live cartridges from Chaitu Kumar, one of the accused arrested in this case and a hand-driven trolley (small thela) that was used to carry body of Aamir after he was killed. Aamir's decomposed body was found 10 days after he was killed, in a small pond surrounded by bushes close to the Phulwari Sharif Block and DSP offices here.
During police interrogation, arrested accused told the police that Vinod had asked them not to allow the protest march to pass through Sangat locality and stop them at any cost. “For this, Vinod had collected funds from outside; tractor loads of broken bricks and stones were brought and stored on the rooftops. Firearms were arranged for attacking the protesters,” said the police officer.
According to police officials, Vinod is a historysheeter and has been jailed several times in the past for serious crimes. There are 14 cases registered against him including murder from before this latest incident.
Earlier, the police had arrested Nagesh Samrat, district president of Hindu Putra Sanghatan, who is one of the main accused in the killing of Aamir and another main man behind hatching the conspiracy to attack protesters.
In ongoing investigation, the police have found provocative videos on social media posted by the Hindu Samaj Sangathan and Hindu Putra Sangathan ahead of the march against CAA-NRC and had threatened with violence.
Nagesh, on December 17, four days before the violent attack on protesters, had posted an instigating video on social media in which he had threatened with the “repeat of Godhra”. “You have burnt buses and trains. Tomorrow, if Godhra repeat happens, don’t say that Modiji (Narendra Modi) is a villain,” he was seen saying in the video.
Family members of Aamir had repeatedly said that he was attacked and killed by a group of youths belonging to the right-wing Hindutva outfits having close relations with the RSS. Aamir is the first reported casualty from Bihar during the ongoing protests against CAA-NRC. Minutes before he was killed in Sangat Gali (a bylane) near Tam Tam Padao in Phulwari Sharif, Aamir was seen carrying the national flag in his hands.
It should be noted that the Sangat locality is commonly known to have significant RSS influence and also, “a hub of criminals”. A school run by the RSS-affiliated Saraswati Vidya Mandir close to Sangat calls the locality “Phulwari Shri” instead of Phulwari Sharif, as the name come from a popular Muslim saint’s mausoleum.
According to police sources, till date, more than 62 people have been arrested in Phulwari Sharif in connection with the attack on the peaceful protest march followed by clashes between the two groups in which six people received gunshot injuries, two sustained stab injuries and nearly a dozen were injured in stone and brick pelting. Armed security men are still deployed at different sensitive places in Phulwari Sharif in view of the prevailing tension.