15 Feb 2021: Bhopal: 17, including former BJP MLA arrested, over V-Day ruckus
Police in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, arrested 17 people for creating a ruckus on Sunday, Valentine's Day. Among those arrested is a former MLA of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Surendra Nath Singh.
At least two eateries were vandalized by men, who called themselves members of Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM).
The owners said the miscreants accused them of promoting "love jihad."
What happened: Armed with hockey sticks and bats, men entered Junkyard Cafe
The first incident of vandalism was reported from Junkyard Cafe in Shyamla Hills in the state capital.
Around 12:20 pm, eight men, claiming to be affiliated to BJYM, barged inside the cafe, hurled abuses at the customers, and started misbehaving with the staff members,
In his police complaint, the manager Narendra Kumar said they were carrying hockey sticks and bats with them.
Accusations: Men accused us of promoting love jihad: Manager
The men then broke furniture inside the cafe, leaving a trail of destruction.
"The men accused us of promoting "love jihad," saying 'You people encourage love jihad. This is just the trailer. If you are seen inside the cafe again, we will kill you," Kumar said.
In the afternoon, a similar incident played out at the Cowboy Restro Bar near Bittan market.
Details: Workers at second restaurant suffered minor injuries
In the second case, around 10 men, who claimed to be members of Shiv Sena, abused the customers.
"My workers in the restaurant and I tried to intervene and during the process, we also suffered minor injuries. They damaged the furniture inside and then left," said complainant Rahul Yadav.
Police said many attackers were followers of Singh, a former MLA from Bhopal South West.
Statement: Just a start, more action will follow: BJYM leader
Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha leader Amit Rathore admitted that the members of the outfit had responded to Singh's halla bol call against "love jihad" and drug abuse.
"Some youngsters have vented their frustration and anger by damaging property, let me make it clear, this is just a start, much more action will follow if the hookah bars aren't closed," he said, as per NDTV.
Details: Arrested people sent to judicial custody
The arrested people were sent to judicial custody after being produced before a local court.
Meanwhile, anticipating trouble by right-wing activists, police remained on a high-alert yesterday, with cops deployed at almost every tourist hotspot.
While several sites like Boat Club, VIP Road, and Rani Kamlapati Arch Bridge remained without visitors, bike rallies against Valentine's Day celebrations were taken out by several saffron outfits.