In an explosive claim, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in a press briefing on Tuesday levelled serious charges against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its alleged role in engineering the Jahangirpuri communal riots.
AAP’s Kalkaji MLA Atishi tweeted that the 35-year-old Mohammad Ansar, who the Delhi police say is one of the main conspirators of the Jahangirpuri riots, has been a “BJP leader”.
She posted several photos in which Ansar can be seen campaigning for BJP candidate Sangeeta Bajaj in Jahangirpuri. Bajaj was the BJP’s Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) candidate from North Jahangirpuri in 2017 and can be seen with Ansar in multiple photos posted by Atishi.
In her Hindi tweet, Atishi said, “It is clear that the BJP is behind the violence in Jahangirpuri, BJP must apologise to the people of Delhi.”
Mohammad Ansar was arrested on April 17 by the Delhi police claiming that he was a key conspirator in the riots. The police stated that Ansar, along with his four-five companions, reached the Hanuman Jayanti procession carried out in the area and started fighting with people.
Ansar and his companions allegedly started the ruckus, which acted as a trigger point for clashes between the two communities. The police claimed to have asked Ansar and his accomplices to stop fighting, but in no time the crowd outnumbered the police personnel.
The Delhi police said in a remand note that this was how the “peaceful” Hanuman Jayanti procession turned violent, although several videos suggested that many participants in the procession came with the intention to provoke Muslims who were praying at the Masjid before Iftar.
The Delhi Police maintains its stand that the violence was a “pre-planned conspiracy” on the day of the riots.
On Monday, BJP spokesperson Sarika Jain claimed that Ansar was an AAP member and showed a picture of him wearing an AAP cap. Immediately after her claim, several news channels broadcasted footage of Ansar brandishing swords during the procession.
However, with AAP sharing multiple photos of Ansar where he is seen as campaigning for a BJP candidate and even wearing a BJP cap, allegations against AAP may not hold much ground, even as the saffron party will have a lot to answer.
Ansar is a known history-sheeter of the area, according to the Delhi police which has a record of his criminal history since 2007. He is said to be running a bootlegging business and gambling racket in the area. In the past, Ansar has been taken into preventive custody multiple times.
Addressing a press briefing, AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj said that Ansar’s association with the BJP could be seen in different photos. He also said that Ansar had been a BJP member for a long time. Regarding Ansar’s photo in an AAP cap that the BJP produced, Bhardwaj said that may be a one-off photo-op but Ansar’s association with the BJP is much more evident in the photos that AAP produced.
“From the April 16, the BJP is running a narrative that a man named Ansar is a key conspirator, and that he was an AAP member. However, the big picture is that the BJP has organised riots across seven Indian states. Who is the beneficiary? Who is gaining? The BJP’s narrative and its script are pre-planned,” he said.
“It is absolutely clear that the BJP is the party which benefits from a riot. Be it their leaders, their MPs their members from top to bottom gain from the violence,” he added.