Ashwini Kumar Choubey’s son Arijit Shashwat. Image Courtesy: ANI Twitter
Patna: Nearly two years after being booked and jailed for his alleged role in communal clashes during a procession in Bihar's Bhagalpur district, the police said it would will file a chargesheet against Bharatiya Janata Paryy (BJP) leader Arijit Shashwat, son of Union Minister Ashwani Choubey in a local court.
This is a setback for Choubey’s son, Shashwat, who is currently on bail, and has been projected as a youth icon of Hindutva politics for his ‘hate speech’ and alleged role in communal clashes in 2018 in Nathnagar in Bhagalpur.
Ahead of Bihar Assembly elections scheduled later this year, Shashwat is said to be keen to contest as a BJP candidate and is being projected as a young Hindutva face by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal.
According to police sources, the Bhagalpur Superintendent of Police Ashish Bharti has ordered a police investigation officer involved in the case to file a chargesheet in court against Shashwat and eight others, following approval from the home department, which is under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, an ally of BJP.
“Police will file a chargesheet against Shashwat in the court in connection with the case of inciting communal violence”, a district police officer told NewsClick.
The home department’s go-ahead to Bhagalpur police to file a chargesheet against Shashwat has raised many eyebrows within BJP circles here as th move is being seen as an embarrassment not only for Choubey but the party as well in an election year.
Shashwat had unsuccessfully contested the last Bihar Assembly polls as the BJP candidate from Bhagalpur, considered a stronghold of Choubey.
An FIR was lodged in Nathnagar police station on March 17, 2018, against Shashwat for ‘inciting communal violence’. He was named an accused in the case along with others. During the investigation, the police have reportedly found the allegations against Shashwat as true.
Police officials in Bhagalpur said that a case was lodged in connection with the communal clashes on the basis of footage from video clips. In the case, a complaint was made against taking out the procession without permission, inciting communal sentiments and roaming on roads openly displaying arms, in which Choubey's son, Arijit Shashwat, and others were named as accused.
The procession was organised by the Bharatiya Navvarsh Jagran Samiti on the eve of the Hindu New Year in March 2018.
At that time, Choubey, as well as local BJP leaders, had claimed that the rally organisers had been given permission by the district administration. The BJP Union Minister also denied that any provocative slogans were raised or objectionable songs were played in the procession.
After the court issued an arrest warrant against Shashwat, accused for ‘inciting communal violence’, he surrendered after evading arrest for over a week. He shouted slogans like “Jai Shri Ram”, “Bharat Mata Ki jai” before surrendering.
Bhagalpur is a communally sensitive place as it witnessed one of the worst communal riots in 1989 in which more than 1,000 people were killed.