The Amravati police today arrested former Maharashtra agriculture minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Dr Anil Bonde and a few other party members for inciting the violence that rocked Maharashtra’s Amravati town during a BJP called bandh.
The police are also on the lookout for another BJP leader Praveen Pote, who has been missing from Amravati.
According to The Indian Express report, a senior official said that the latest arrests were in connection with the rioting that took place on Saturday in the Kotwali area of Amravati when BJP called a bandh.
Shops owned by the Muslim community were vandalized and set on fire during a bandh called by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Amravati, Maharashtra.
The BJP called for a bandh in rebuttal to statewide protests and rallies carried out by some Muslim organisations like Raza Academy on Friday. The Muslim groups were protesting against the recent communal violence that erupted in Tripura in which at least six Mosques, dozens of houses and shops belonging to Muslims were burnt.
As the Muslim procession was passing by the Kotwari area in Amravati, stones were thrown at the house of local BJP leader Pravin Pote, breaking his window. One person was injured in the stone-pelting elsewhere. By police estimates, some 25,000 people participated in this protest.
According to police officials, activists from the BJP, Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena outnumbered the police personnel. Two Muslim shops and three two-wheelers parked outside one of these shops were burnt. Another shop was damaged, and the shop owner’s vehicle also burnt. Two dargahs were also damaged.
The Indian Express quoted police officials, saying, “They (Hindutva protestors) gathered at Rajkamal Chowk. A section of this crowd turned violent, burnt two shops, damaged some other shops, burnt vehicles. Almost all the victims are from the minority community. It appears that the violence had been planned a day in advance in retaliation for the violence on Friday by some members of the minority community.”
According to local police estimates, around 6,000 workers of the party and other allied organisations came out to enforce the closure, which is when the violence erupted. BJP leader Pravin Pote was seen in a video urging BJP workers to gather at Rajkamal Chowk.