Cow vigilante Bittu Bajrangi’s brother set afire last year, dies

Soon after Panchal's death, a section of media tried to incite communal sentiments by using the incident

The younger brother of cow vigilante and right-wing mobster Raj Kumar alias Bittu Bajrangi, who was receiving treatment for burn injuries in AIIMS, New Delhi, has passed away.

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Confirming the news, Faridabad police told Siasat.com that Mahesh Panchal succumbed to his injuries on January 8. “Following police commissioner’s order, a special investigation team was formed. The investigation is still under way,” police said.

On December 14, 2023, Panchal was allegedly attacked and set on fire by at least five men at Chacha Chowk in Baba Mandi, Faridabad, Haryana. Initially admitted at a private hospital with 50-60% burn injuries, he was later shifted to AIIMS as his condition deteriorated.

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An FIR was registered and Panchal, in his police statement, had identified one of the attackers. Upon apprehending the suspect, who runs a juice shop, police told Siasat.com that they were unable to find any leads during the interrogation.

“IPC section 302 (murder) has been added to the FIR,” police said.

Bid to incite communal rift

Soon after Panchal’s death, a section of media tried to incite communal sentiments by using the incident. Many reports of Sudarshan TV have emerged where the reporter is seen sitting with a distraught Bittu Bajrangi on the hospital premises and saying words like, “Jihaadiyon ne jala kar bhai ko maar diya. (Jihadis have killed Bittu’s brother).”

Sudarshan TV is known for its polarising reportage. It is run by a Hindutva leader named Suresh Chavhanke, who has several FIRs registered against him for hate speech.

When asked if they were going to take action against Sudarshan TV, Faridabad police declined to comment . “The investigation is still under process and no suspects have been rounded up so far. Nothing can be said at the moment,” police told Siasat.com.

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