The AAP on Friday claimed Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga has been arrested from Delhi by the Punjab Police for trying to stoke communal tension and violence in the border state and rejected the BJP’s charge of vendetta.
Though AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj referred to the clashes in Patiala on April 29, the Punjab Police said it arrested the Delhi BJP spokesperson from his residence in the national capital in connection with a case registered in Mohali on April 1.
The April 1 FIR referred to Bagga’s remarks on March 30, when he was part of a BJP youth wing protest outside the Delhi chief minister’s residence.
Defending the Punjab Police’s action, Bharadwaj told a press conference that the state police registered a case against Bagga last month after the BJP leader, through his social media posts, “tried to create communal tension and incite violence in the state”.
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“Because of such statements, the Punjab Police lodged an FIR and now arrested Bagga. His statements were communal in nature. A lot of BJP-linked people were instigating the violence in Patiala,” Bhardwaj alleged.
The April 1 FIR was registered under relevant IPC sections, including 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place, etc.), 505 (whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
Bagga had come under fire from the AAP, which is ruling both Delhi and Punjab, for his tweet against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over ‘The Kashmir Files’ movie.
After Bagga’s arrest, the BJP accused the Punjab Police of “abducting” him and alleged that AAP national convenor leader Arvind Kejriwal was pursuing vendetta through the state police.
Launching a counterattack, Bharadwaj said the Punjab Police arrested Bagga only after he did not join the investigation despite five summons.
“There is no vendetta. The Punjab Police is doing its work impartially,” he said, dismissing the BJP’s allegations of vindictive action as “absolutely wrong”.
The AAP spokesperson alleged the BJP sees politics and vendetta behind the arrest of Bagga because it has been “misusing” state machinery for political gains.
“It’s BJP’s and not any other political party’s modus operandi,” he charged.
“The BJP has always been misusing state machinery for its benefit. When elections are there, raids by ED and I-T, NIA summons and arrests by the police are quite common,” Bharadwaj said.
Since the BJP has always “intimidated and threatened” its rivals using the police and other agencies, it feels the rest of the parties have also become like it when “any work is done impartially”, he added.
“If there was a bit of chance in his (Bagga’s) favour, he approached a lower court, high court, tried to get anticipatory bail but he didn’t get any relief from any court,” he added.
The AAP leader listed a number of cases registered against Bagga since 2011 and said he has “a dossier like a big criminal”.
“If you see his (Bagga’s) Twitter and Facebook account to understand what is he known for in Delhi, you will find that his unique selling point (USP) is dirty and cheap language, poisonous speeches that can create hatred and lead to quarrels between two communities,” the AAP leader said.
Bharadwaj on Thursday alleged the BJP was behind the clashes between two groups in Punjab’s Patiala district, claiming that the special investigation team set up by the Bhagwant Mann government will soon come up with a “big revelation” in this connection.