Congress MLA arrested for role in Varanasi violence


Congress MLA Ajay Rai was arrested today for his alleged role in the violence and arson in this holy city during a march by seers and other local leaders against police action on protesters opposing ban on immersion of Ganesha idols in the Ganga river.

Rai was arrested around 5:30 PM as soon as he landed at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport in Babatpur here. The arrest came after Rai arrived here from New Delhi.

Varanasi District Magistrate Rajmani Yadav said that MLA Ajay Rai has been arrested for his alleged role in yesterday’s violence.

Opposing the arrest, Congress district unit president Prajanath Sharma said, “Police have taken him (Rai) to a secluded place… We are trying to meet the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) and know about his whereabout.”

Rai, who represents Pindra constituency in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, had unsuccessfully contested the last Lok Sabha election from Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal.

Meanwhile, SSP Akash Kulhari said that an FIR has been registered against 105 named persons at Dashashwamedh police station and more than 50 of them have been arrested. Efforts were on to arrest all of them for there alleged involvement in the violence at Godowlia here.

The SSP said the police were patrolling the affected areas and that the situation was under control and peaceful.

Twenty-five people, including eight policemen, were injured as protesters went on a rampage, pelting stones and setting afire at least four police vehicles, booths, nearly half-a-dozen motorcycles and some shops. They also hurled crude bomb.

The protests were against police action on demonstrators demanding withdrawal of the SP government’s ban on immersion of Ganesha idols in Ganga.


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