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Bhushan attackers have BJP links?

Sources within the party have confirmed to MiD DAY that the trio has been associated with their youth wing; senior leaders denied the charge

With Wednesday's incident, it seems that Anna may have been welcomed by the right-wingers but there is a lot of resentment against other members of his team. Sources within Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have told MiD DAY that the three attackers, who beat up senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan in his Supreme Court chambers yesterday, have been associated with the saffron party. Although after the attack on Bhushan, the BJP came out in his support by condemning the incident and the culprits, but according to sources, all three - TPS Bagga, Arun Kumar and Inder Verma - have been members of the party's youth wing and have been seen with some senior leaders on occasions. "We have seen them participating in BJP rallies. Even party leaders used to take their help for organising programmes in different areas of Delhi including those areas that has a student crowd," BJP insiders told MiD DAY on condition of anonymity.


Hurt: Prashant Bhushan was taken to RML Hospital in Delhi following
the incident. His shirt was torn and his spectacles fell off when he was
roughed up. pic/Mid Day



Caught: Inder Verma was nabbed and handed over to police by
Bhushan's staff. The other two attackers managed to get away.
An FIR has been filed against the trio.Pic/Mid Day



Hands on: A TV grab of the attack that took place inside Bhushan's
Supreme Court chambers. Pic/Courtesy Times Now


Different 'beat'
On Wednesday, the trio - also alleged members of Shri Ram Sene -barged into Bhushan's chambers and thrashed him over his recent speech on Kashmir. Bhushan had said a referendum should be held in Kashmir on whether the locals want to stay with India. Pamphlets saying "Kashmir humara hai aur humara hi rahega," were also scattered by the attackers. Inder Verma, who's Delhi president of Shri Ram Sene, was arrested from the spot while his two associates managed to flee from the scene. Shri Ram Sene has claimed they wanted to teach Bhushan a lesson for his "separatist" statement. At 3:40pm, the advocate had called some media personnel for a briefing inside his chamber on the third floor of Supreme Court. As soon as his conference began, the culprits entered and started beating him up. 


So to speak: A file photo of Prashant Bhushan addressing the public
during the sixth day of Anna Hazare's fast against corruption at
Ramlila Grounds in New Delhi.



A TV grab of Wednesday's incident.

Hit hard
"We got to know about the incident at around 3:50 pm. Bhushan was rushed to RML hospital and police have taken his statement," said a police official. Meanwhile, late in the evening, Verma said Bhushan's statement on Kashmir was anti-India and will not be tolerated. "People who speak against our army and security forces are like agents of our enemies. I wonder why the President, who is also the chief of army, navy and air force, doesn't release a shoot-at-sight order against such people. We the people of India have some responsibilities and we have to teach a lesson to such traitors," read his press note.

Word for word
"They were saying that I have made some comments on Kashmir to which they were taking objection. I have said that a referendum should be held in Kashmir," Bhushan said after the incident. Activist Kiran Bedi said the attack was absolutely shocking and shameful. "It shows the amount of intolerance level we have reached. I don't know what they are him up for, but they don't know they are beating up such a good man who continues to work for the community day in and day out," Bedi said.

Not only Bhushan's statement on Kashmir, but, according to sources, his remark over the Batla House encounter may also have played a part. Arun Kumar and Inder Verma actively organise and participate in the yearly march at Batla House on the occasion of death anniversary of cop Mohan Chand Sharma, who was killed in the shootout near Jamia Millia Islamia University. It may be recalled that Prashant Bhushan had raised doubts over the authenticity of the encounter.

Unrepentant
Speaking to MiD DAY, TPS Bagga - one of the attackers - confirmed that he was a member of BJP's youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) till two years ago. "I was with BJYM till 2009. But due to some differences, I left the group," he said. Later, in a press release, Bagga, President of Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena claimed responsibility. "If you will try to break my nation, I will break your head. You people might not have liked the way we protested, but in the name of human rights a handful of people are tying to divide the nation," the statement said. The statement further demanded the parliament to debate the issue of right to expression as it was being misused.

When contacted by MiD DAY Sriram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik said his outfit was not behind the attack. "This is an undemocratic act. We have no role in this. We condemn the attack," he said. Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh too alleged yesterday that one of the three attackers was a member of BJP's youth wing, a charge the saffron party quickly denied. However, sources in BJP said Arun was part of the northeast cell of BJYM in Delhi; Bagga was with another youth wing chapter 'Youth Kamal' and Inder Verma was also an active member of BJYM. "BJP is a large party. Act of 2-3 people should not be seen as endorsement of the party," a top Delhi BJP leader said.

Police have lodged an FIR under sections 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 452 (House-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint) and 120-B (Criminal Conspiracy) of IPC against Inder Verma and his associates at Tilak Marg police station.

(With inputs from BV Shiva Shankar)

Condemnation
Anna Hazare on Wednesday spoke out against the attack on team member Prashant Bhushan. Talking to the media persons, Anna said, "I strongly condemn this attack. No one has the right to take law in their hands."
The attack has been condemned by all political parties including the BJP. Party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said, "The BJP has nothing to do with these people." She added, "If the individual claims any association with the Yuva Morcha, the Yuva Morcha will give its clarification." The Left parties too have condemned the attack. The legal fraternity on Wednesday expressed anger and indignation over the incident. The Co-ordination Committee of all Bar Association of Delhi has called a meeting today to discuss the attack on the noted lawyer.

'Political conspiracy'
BJP sources maintained that there could be a larger political game plan behind the incident. "Since Anna and his team is campaigning against the Congress and urging people not to vote for them, it makes little sense for persons from the BJP to have carried out this act. This might be a conspiracy to create a rift between us and Team Anna. It's anybody's guess who would benefit in such a scenario," they said.

The other side
President of Delhi BJP's youth wing Nakul Bhardwaj said that the attackers were in no way associated with the party. BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said that the party condemned the attack on Bhushan. She also denied that the culprits were associated with the party.

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