Self-styled cow vigilante Bittu Bajrangi, arrested earlier this week in connection with the recent communal clashes in Haryana, was remanded in judicial custody on Thursday for two weeks. The police told the court that eight swords were recovered based on his information.
He was arrested under the Arms Act and various sections of the IPC, including rioting, criminal intimidation, and assault to deter public servant from discharge of duty.
Mr. Bajrangi, a vegetable and fruit seller based in Faridabad’s Dabua Mandi, who is in his late 50s, came from Okhla in Delhi to Haryana over three decades ago. He was gradually drawn towards Hindu outfits in Faridabad and, six years ago, launched a cow vigilante group, Goraksha Bajrang Force. The Facebook page of the group, which contains some provocative posts, has 500-odd members and names him as its national president. Goraksha Bajrang Force organises motorcycle rallies and blood donation camps to “unite Hindus”.
In a recent interview to a news channel, Mr. Bajrangi said he had been working for cow protection and against “love jihad” (interfaith relationships]) for the past 25 years. In their interaction with various media channels, his acquaintances and friends have described him as a “fanatic”.
According to Assistant Superintendent of Police, Nuh, Usha Kundu, the complainant, Mr. Bajrangi and his accomplices had wielded swords and tridents during the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s procession in Nuh on July 31. Over the following days, six people died, several were left injured and a large number of families fled as communal clashes spread across parts of south Haryana.
As per the FIR, the police team deployed at Nalhar temple in Nuh had seized the weapons brought by the accused in the procession. However, Mr. Bajrangi started raising slogans against the police and managed to make off with the weapons.
A resident of Faridabad’s Sanjay Colony, Rajkumar alias Bittu, was earlier accused of uploading provocative posts on social media in the run-up to the procession in Nuh. He was arrested by Faridabad Police in this connection and later let off. At least three cases of hate speech were registered against him at different police stations of Faridabad – Saran, Dhoj, and Dabua – over the past year. He was arrested in each case and subsequently released on bail, a Faridabad police officer said.