At least 20 lawyers from Bathinda and Muktsar districts in Punjab have come forward to support the accused in Abohar BJP MLA Arun Narang assault case. They have offered free legal aid to all the accused. Earlier, the Police had filed a case against Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU-Sidhupur) Muktsar president Sukhdev Singh and 26 others for an attempt to murder BJP MLA Arun Narang at Malout town.
Narang was attacked, assaulted, and stripped by the alleged protesters present when he came to attend a press conference organized by BJP to highlight failures of the Congress-led Punjab government. His clothes were torn, and ink was thrown on him. The incident has been widely criticized.
‘Police deliberately did not take measures to avoid attack’ alleged advocate Mander
Ajitpal Singh Mander, President Rampura Phul Bar Association, is one of the advocates who offered free legal aid to the accused. While talking to The Indian Express, he said that across the country, there is a mob mentality. The administration and Police are responsible for ensuring no mob gathers at any sensitive event. “Police deliberately did not take any measures. And even if a mob had gathered, Police should have ensured that it was dispersed. It is a failure of state machinery,” he added. Blaming BJP leaders for the provocative statements, he added that the Police should have been pro-active when there is an environment of hatred against them.
He further said that Section 307 (murder attempt) is wrongly applied in the FIR. Instead, it should have been a case under Section 355 (assault or criminal force intent to dishonour person, otherwise than on grave provocation). He claimed tearing someone clothes and throwing ink is “not an attempt to murder”. Mander is also a member of the Kisan Lawyer’s Forum that is providing legal aid to the accused of the January 26 Red Fort riots.
‘It is unclear who did it’ – Advocate Sandhu
The former deputy district attorney, Fateh Singh Sandhu, claimed that it is unclear who had initiated the attack and why it happened. “I don’t know the facts. What I know at this stage is that it was known that there is going to be a press conference (by Narang), and there was a large police presence with ranking police officials. And the police officials, among other things, were armed with batons. And despite that, such a thing happened,“ he said.
Iqbal Singh Buttar also claimed the same. He said the three persons from Bodiwala village were not indulged in any violence. “Some miscreants might be involved in this,” he added. His claims were supported by Kuljinder Singh Sandhu, President, Gidderbaha Bar Association, who called the incident unfortunate. He also supported the three accused from Bodiwala village and alleged they were not part of the agitation.
Sandhu further raised questions on MLA Narang and asked when Police had issued an advisory not to hold any such event why he went ahead and reached the venue.
‘Arun Narang cannot be finished like this’ – Abohar BJP MLA
On Tuesday, MLA Narang alleged that Police did not use any force to protect him. He thanked the people of Abohar and his family and said that it was their good wishes that saved him from the violent mob. “They tried to kill me mentally, to finish me sentimentally. Seeing your support, I am fully sure that Arun Narang cannot be finished like this. I will neither end mentally nor physically. I will go to every place to tell the functioning of the Police and this government,” he added.
Police advised BJP to shift the venue – said SP
In the FIR registered based on the complaint of SP Gurmail Singh, Muktsar, it was mentioned that he had told Muktsar BJP president Gora Phutela and Malout in-charge of BJP Sita Ram and other BJP leaders to shift the venue. Still, they anyway came for the press conference. When OpIndia reached out to MLA Narang, he said that as soon as he stepped out of the vehicle, around 250-300 protesters attacked him. According to the FIR, Muktsar BKU (Sidhupur) president Sukhdev Singh, block president Lakhan Pal Sharma, general secretary Nirmal Singh and several others were involved in the attack.