Tuesday, April 29, 2014

AAP alleges its volunteers attacked by BJP workers in Varanasi // Press Statement on Attack on Shabnam Hashmi

Varanasi: The Aam Aadmi Party has alleged that two of its volunteers were beaten up late on  Monday night by BJP workers in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, where the party's chief Arvind Kejriwal has challenged the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in the general elections. The BJP has promised action if at all its workers were involved, but has also suggested that the AAP volunteers may have provoked an argument that led to a fight. 

The Varanasi police said AAP volunteers Nandan Mishra and Ankit Lal had an argument last night with some people who wore BJP badges at the Assi Ghat in the temple town, which later turned into a brawl. They have registered a complaint against unknown people. The BJP's Nalin Kohli told NDTV this morning, "We appeal to all supporters and the public not to get into any physical altercation... If a worker is involved, we will take strict action."  He also added, "All people who wear BJP badges are not party workers."

"Nandan Mishra, the guitarist of Play4Change campaign is in hospital now, bleeding bcz of attack. From Varanasi. (sic)," AAP tweeted on Monday night. Play4Change is a musical election campaign that AAP takes from city to city.  

Sometime later, Mr Mishra, with a bruised nose and a nostril plugged, said he was kicked and punched. "After campaigning, I stopped to drink water at a nearby shop. There was a group of BJP workers. On seeing us they argued. One of them came and started beating me. There were around 15-20 people," he said. Ankit Lal said their alleged attackers had criticised AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and when the AAP workers objected, assaulted them. 

Nalin Kohli said, "There are equal reports that AAP people instigate and this leads to heated arguments sometimes. We have even said they should seek police protection but AAP's track record has been that of sensationalism." Varanasi votes on May 12. 


Press Statement on Attack on Shabnam Hashmi

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the attack on Shabnam Hashmi in Rai Barley. She was attacked at about 12.30 on April 28 while she with her associates was distributing leaflets brought out by JAVAB- Janvadi Vichar Andolan Bharat barely 100 metres from the Gadaganj Police Station in side the Rai-Barely constituency.

Shabnam Hashmi and her associate were attacked by a gang of about 20 hoodlums who snatched all the Javab Leaflets while pushing and abusing Shabnam Hashmi in the most foul and sexist terms. At the police station Shabnam had to argue with the SHO, telling him that no one can be stopped from exercising their right to free expression and that he had to file an FIR against the attack on her and the threats of rape and sexist abuses. The SHO did not register an FIR and did not give her a copy of her complaint.

We demand that the hoodlums are immediately apprehended and coercive tactics of the BJP not be allowed by the local administration.