Aam Aadmi Party MLA and former Delhi minister Somnath Bharti was on Monday arrested in Rae Bareli for allegedly promoting enmity between two groups. He was produced before a local court in Amethi’s Sultanpur and sent to judicial custody for 14 days.
Minutes before his arrest, a Hindu outfit worker threw ink on Bharti’s face outside a Rae Bareli guest house where he had been staying for the last two days. The MLA was in Rae Bareli to meet party workers and locals.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Bharti had gone to check the condition of government schools and alleged that his UP counterpart Yogi Adityanath was “scared” to let others see schools.
Bharti has been booked in two cases lodged in Rae Bareli and Amethi. The first case was lodged at Amethi’s Jagdishpur police station late Sunday evening on charges of using derogatory words against women. Station House Officer (SHO) of Jagdishpur Rajesh Kumar Singh said Bharti, at a public meeting in Amethi, likened women with animals, saying “children of dogs are born in government hospitals”. Bharti also hit out at the state government for alleged poor condition of state-run hospitals and schools. He has been booked under IPC sections 505 (statements of conducting to public mischief) and 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups).
Singh said the complaint was lodged by social activist Shobnath Sahu on Saturday. On getting information about Bharti’s stay in Rae Bareli, Amethi police asked their Rae Bareli counterparts to not allow him move out of the guest house till they arrived.
Rae Bareli police led by Kotwali SHO Atul Kumar Singh reached at the guest house. A group of people, including right-wing activists, were already there and raised slogans against the MLA for his comments against women. One of the protesters in the group threw ink on Bharti’s face.
In the melee, he allegedly misbehaved with a police officer by threatening to strip him of his uniform and used derogatory language against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, said Rae Bareli’s Superintendent of Police Shlok Kumar.
Later in the day, another case against Bharti and 15-20 unidentified people was lodged at City Kotwali police station of Rae Bareli by SHO Singh. The FIR has been lodged on various charges, including rioting, promoting enmity between two groups, voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from discharging his duty and criminal intimidation.
Rae Bareli SP Kumar said the ink-throwing incident would be investigated as part of the case lodged at Kotwali police station as no complaint had so far been filed. He said they would collect all videos related to the incident.
One Jitendra Singh of Rae Bareli claimed to have thrown ink on Bharti. “I was hurt with the statement of Somnath against Yogi Aditynath ji, and to show my disapproval, I threw ink at him,” he said.
Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi: “Yogi ji, our MLA Somnath Bharti was going to see your government schools, but you had ink thrown at him. He was then arrested. Are your schools really in such a poor condition? Why do you get so scared if someone goes to see your schools? Improve your schools. If you don’t know how to do it, then ask Manish Sisodi (Delhi’s education minister),” Kejriwal.
In another tweet, he said, “Our children study in schools you (Adityanath) feel ashamed of showing to others. You are ruining future of crores of children.”
In a statement, UP Cabinet minister Suresh Khanna slammed Bharti for using abusive language against children, Adityanath and police.
“Somnath has threatened to kill the chief minister and used abusive language against police. If Arvind Kejriwal respects the dignity of chief minister’s post, then he should tender a public apology for Somnath’s remarks,” he said.