Jharkhand CM planned the mob attack, Agnivesh tells NH

Fifteen days prior to the mob attack, Agnivesh had written a letter to Jharkhand CM informing him about his plans of addressing an adivasi rally in Pakur district

NH photo by Vipin
NH photo by Vipin
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Dhairya Maheshwari

Social activist Swami Agnivesh has accused Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das of "pre-planning" the mob attack on him, saying that he had written a letter to Das 15 days prior to his rally in Pakur district where he was attacked by activists from BJP's youth wing.

"I had written a letter to Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das informing him that I would be taking up the issue of Adivasis. I had also requested an appointment with him so I could discuss these issues in person," Agnivesh told National Herald in an exclusive interaction after being discharged from AIIMS Trauma Centre on Thursday.

"This was 15 days prior to the rally where I was attacked. On July 16, I waited at CM's office in Ranchi for hours but wasn't given time with him, following which I took the night train and proceeded to Pakur," he said.

Agnivesh said that around a lakh adivasis had gathered for the rally, which was organised to discuss the plight of the primitive tribes under the BJP state government.

"The Jharkhand Government has signed 210 MoUs with corporates, as part of which 3.5 lakh acre of tribal land will be given away to these big businesses without the consent of the adivasi community. It is a classic instance of crony capitalism that is at play in Jharkhand," he said.

"I was due to address the rally, which had the presence of around a lakh locals, to highlight the injustice being meted out to adivasis. They had invited me from Delhi just for the rally. They had made all the arrangements," said the former academic at St Xavier’s College, Kolkata, who left his job to take up the cause of the adivasi community.

“What’s shocking is that they were chanting Jai Shree Ram slogans while attacking me and my associates. Ram never preached violence. His legacy is that of uniting the entire humanity. They are tarnishing the legacy of Ram and the Vedas just for their own political motives,” he said.

"The Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act 1996, passed by the Parliament in 1996, is yet to be implemented, even after 22 years of being passed. It is big joke on the adivasis. I was there to highlight that the Indian Constitution has accorded special privileges for the welfare of the adivasi community," he said.

Agnivesh expressed shock at his attackers chanting slogans of Jai Shree Ram while attacking him, noting that the BJP was 'tarnishing' the legacy of Hindu deities by using it as an excuse to incite people to violence.

"What's shocking is that they were chanting Jai Shree Ram slogans while attacking me and my associates. Ram never preached violence. His legacy is that of uniting the entire humanity. They are tarnishing the legacy of Ram and the Vedas just for their own political motives," he said.

"They are just using one pretext or the other to incite people and target dissent- be it in the name of beef, child lifting or any random excuse. This is what is happening today," he added.

Agnivesh quashed rumours that he had made provocative remarks on beef consumption, as being claimed by a section of social media users.

"I am a vegetarian. My friend, who is a lawyer at Supreme Court, had invited me to an Eid event last month. I told him that I would only show up if there was no meat at the event. So, he had invitation cards made, which said that the Eid function would be a vegan event. I am against all kinds of meat. I can't even think of supporting beef consumption," he said.

Added Agnivesh, "But these all facts doesn't matter to them. They will do what they have to. Look at what Haryana's minister Anil Vij has posted on social media. He says that whoever goes against Modi will have his tongue pulled out and hands chopped."

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Published: 19 Jul 2018, 6:32 PM
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