3 states’ police at odds after Punjab cops arrest BJP leader

Delhi police claimed that the Punjab cops did not inform the local police before arresting Mr Bagga from his residence in Delhi

NEW DELHI: A bitter slugfest between the BJP and the AAP ensued after the arrest of Delhi BJP spokesperson and the national secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha Tajinder Bagga by the Punjab police from his Delhi residence on Friday. Police forces from three states – Punjab, Delhi and Haryana – got embroiled in dramatic developments that befit a blockbuster thriller. It all started with the Punjab police arresting Mr Bagga from his home, only to be stopped at Kurukshetra by the Haryana police en route to Mohali and hours later brought back to the national capital by the Delhi police after it acted on a complaint of kidnapping by the BJP leader’s father.

The drama, an outcome of a bitter political rivalry between the AAP and the BJP, began around 8am when over a dozen personnel of the Punjab police swooped down on Mr Bagga's residence in Jankapuri, West Delhi.

The news about the arrest of Mr Bagga by Punjab police became public after BJP leader Kapil Mishra posted about it on the social media. "Tajinder Bagga was arrested and taken away by 50 Punjab police personnel from his house," Mr Mishra wrote on Twitter.

Soon afterwards, Mr Bagga’s 67-year-old father Preetpal Singh Bagga, who Mr Mishra claimed was thrashed and punched by the Punjab police, lodged a complaint with the Delhi police. He claimed that some people came to his residence around 8am and took away his son and did not even allow his son to wear a turban.

The Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta accompanied Mr Singh when he went to the police stations to file an FIR. A case of kidnapping was registered at the Janakpuri police station.

The action then shifted to Kurukshetra, where around 2pm the convoy of the Punjab police was stopped by the Haryana police. Explaining their action, the Haryana police officials said they had received the information that Mr Bagga was forcibly picked up from his residence. “We were altered by the Delhi Police about the “abducted victim. We are duty bound to verify and crosscheck such developments,” the officials added.

The drama climaxed with a Delhi police team reaching Kurukshetra’s Thana Sadar police station in Pipli and taking the ‘custody' of Mr Bagga from the Punjab police. Mr Bagga was then brought back to Delhi by the police team that also included DCP (outer) Sameer Sharma and additional DCP (west) Prashant Gautam.

The Delhi police claimed that the Punjab cops did not inform the local police before arresting Mr Bagga from his residence in Delhi's Janakpuri.

DCP (west) Ghanshyam Bansal said that information was received from Mr Singh that his son has been abducted around 8.30am from his house by some unknown persons.

“A wireless message was flashed and the said vehicle was intercepted by the Haryana police at Kurukshetra. A search warrant was obtained from the concerned Dwarka court based on which assistance of Kurukshetra district police was taken to trace and abducted victim was recovered. He will be brought to Delhi and will be produced before the concerned honourable court as per law,” said the DCP.

As per the FIR, Mr Singh stated that on Friday, when he was at home along with his son, around 8.30am, someone knocked the door. “When I opened the door, some persons entered home and manhandled me. Some of them had weapons and they started asking me where is Tajinder? When I asked them what they wanted from Tajinder, they slapped me. Later, my son came there and he too was beaten up. When I tried to intervene, they pushed me,” the FIR reads.

“When I took out my phone to make their video, they beat me up and snatched my mobile. Later, they forcefully took away my son who was not allowed to wear a turban and was dragged out of the house,” the FIR further stated.

Following the arrest, the Punjab police, in a statement, said, "The accused was served five notices under Sections 41 A CrPC to come and join the investigation. The notices dated April 9, 11, 15, 22 and 28 were duly served upon. Despite that, the accused deliberately did not join the investigation."

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) defended the move by the Punjab police and claimed that the state police had registered a case against him last month after he, through his social media posts, tried to create communal tension and incite violence in the state.

The AAP also alleged that the Punjab police personnel were illegally detained by the Delhi police officials at Janakpuri police station when they had reached there to inform about their action.

Saurabh Bhardwaj, the AAP spokesperson, said that a case against Mr Bagga was filed last month after the BJP leader, through his social media posts, tried to create communal tension and incite violence in the state and because of such statements, the Punjab police lodged an FIR and now arrested Bagga.

Countering the arrest the BJP launched a full-blown attack on AAP. From sharing videos and photos of the incident, to alleging that Mr Bagga’s father was assaulted, tweets poured out on the social media website by the BJP leaders.

Delhi BJP leaders and workers headed by the party’s state president staged a protest and raised slogans against AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and the Punjab police even as the Delhi police tried to stop them from moving to the AAP headquarters on DDU Marg.

Delhi BJP chief said a complaint has been lodged at the Janakpuri police station in the national capital over the Punjab police allegedly beating of Mr Bagga's father.

"FIR was lodged at Janakpuri police station over the Punjab police beating Tajinder Bagga's father. Sending 50-60 Punjab police personnel to the house of the young BJP leader, forcibly lifting him and getting his elderly father beaten up is proof of the dictatorial mindset of Arvind Kejriwal," Mr Gupta tweeted in Hindi.

BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa alleged that a Sikh, a reference to Mr Bagga, has been "insulted" despite Punjab having a Sikh chief minister in Bhagwant Mann.

Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said the party strongly condemns the arrest of Mr Bagga. "It's highly shameful that Mr Kejriwal has started political misuse of power and the police in AAP-ruled Punjab to scare his opponents. Every citizen of Delhi stands with Mr Bagga and his family in this hour of crisis," he said.

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