Bhopal: On February 14, Valentine’s Day, workers belonging to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), and Shiv Sena reportedly vandalised eateries and cafes in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal for promoting love jihad, as per police officials.
Reportedly, a group of 10-15 men, holding saffron flags and chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’, attacked the Junkyard Cafe in Bhopal’s posh Shyamla Hills locality on Sunday afternoon. The men were armed with sticks and cricket bats.
In nearby Bittan Market, around 10 km away from Shyamla Hills, another group with saffron flags allegedly barged into the Cowboy Restro Bar and vandalised it.
In the videos of the incidents, which have since gone viral on social media platforms, it can be seen that those who attacked the eateries claimed themselves to be supporters of former BJP MLA from Bhopal Central, Surendranath Singh. Among those who attacked the Junkyard Cafe was a member of BJYM, who can be seen breaking furniture in the restaurant and assaulting customers in the reported video, while alleging that the restaurant was promoting love jihad.
The Shyamla Hills Police have confirmed that the attackers are associated with the ruling BJP government and are supporters of former MLA Surendanath Singh.
In the video showing the attack in the restaurant at Bittan Market, the attackers can be seen asking the names of the couples seating inside the cafe. They also snatched glasses from their hands and smashed it along with plates and manhandled one of the couple. Meanwhile, slogans of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ continued to be raised throughout the attacked.
The Habibganj Police have claimed that the attacking group are workers of Shiv Sena and also supporters of former MLA Singh.
Also read: MP Police Reports First Case of ‘Love-Jihad’ Under New Freedom of Religion Law
After the incident, BJYM worker Amit Rathore, told the media, "Under the guardianship of former BJP MLA Surendranath Singh, several teams have carried out Halla Bol on Hukka Lounge as they are promoting Love-Jihad."
"This is just a trailer, we will carry out multiple such raids in future," he added at the end of 1-minute long video.
Former BJP MLA Arrested
In the Shyamla Hills incident, the police have booked former BJP MLA along with six other BJP workers for creating riot, carrying deadly weapon, house-trespass, assault and other relevant sections of the IPC on complaint of Narendra Kumar, manager of the Junkyard Cafe.
In his statement to the police, Kumar reportedly said, "The men accused us of promoting love jihad stating 'You people encourage Love Jihad. This is just the trailer, if you are seen inside the cafe again, then we'll kill you."
Talking about the actions, Inspector of Shyamla Hills PS, Tarun Bhati said, “We have arrested ex-BJP MLA Surendranath Singh and six others for creating riot, carrying deadly weapon, house-trespass, assault and other relevant sections of the IPC.”
In the Cowboy Restro Bar incident, the workers identified themselves to be members of Shiv Sena, according to Rahul Yadav, manager of the bar. In this incident, the Habibganj Police registered FIR against 10 people including three women for rioting, tress-pass and other relevant sections of the IPC and arrested them, according to an NDTV report.