How a Minor Altercation Over Cricket in Mehrauli Led to a Protest by RSS and BJP Members and an Inquiry Against Four Police Officers

12 May 2017
The accounts of various others suggest that the reason for the protest by RSS and BJP members was unusual, if not downright surprising: a minor altercation between young men playing cricket in a park.
Oinam Anand/Indian Express Archive

At about 8 pm on 6 May 2017, a group of over 50 protestors gathered outside the Mehrauli police station in Delhi. Among the protestors were several members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh; the local councillor Arti Yadav, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party; and her husband Gajendra Yadav, the state secretary for the BJP in Delhi. The protestors gathered again the next day. That morning, a person present at the protest later told me, Manoj Tiwari, the head of the BJP in Delhi, also visited the station.

The protestors had gathered in support of Vijaypal Chaurasia, a 44-year-old resident of Vashno apartments in Mehrauli who is a member of the RSS. Chaurasia wished to file a complaint regarding a scuffle that had broken out between several young men in a park in Mehrauli’s Aamwale Bagh area on the evening of 6 May. He alleged in his complaint—which was filed after Tiwari’s visit—that he and his sons had been attacked by a mob of nearly 40 residents of the nearby Islam Colony. He further alleged that police officials, including beat officers who arrived at the park and those at the station, had refused to register his complaint. Chaurasia told the Indian Express that the police officials at the station refused to file his complaint, and that he “finally approached the local councillor Arti Yadav and her husband, Gajendra Yadav, for help.”

But the accounts of various others suggest that the reason for the protest was unusual, if not downright surprising: a minor altercation between young men playing cricket in a park. “The fight was not at all what it was made out to be. Some boys fought about some cricket or something and a big issue was made out of it,” a police official familiar with the details of the case told me, requesting anonymity. “It is terrible and will set a very bad precedent.” As a result of Chaurasia’s allegation, four police officials—Vikramjit Singh Virk, a station house officer, and three inspectors—from the Mehrauli police station were transferred, allegedly for inaction and misbehaviour. They were sent to District Lines, a police posting to which officers are often assigned when there is an inquiry pending against them.

In his complaint, Chaurasia wrote that at close to 6.30 pm on 6 May, he and his sons Mrityunjay Kumar and Kumar Kartikay —who are 17 and 18 years old respectively—were at the park. He wrote that his sons were playing when a young man named Nitish arrived at the spot. Chaurasia alleged that Nitish was in an inebriated state, and “began to physically harass” his sons. He added that he asked Nitish to stop, but that the young man did not relent. Chaurasia alleged that Nasir, a friend of Nitish’s who was standing nearby, came over and together, the two friends began beating up his sons.

Chaurasia’s complaint goes on to state that after the scuffle broke out, his cousin Arun Kumar, who was also present at the park, came over to help his sons. By this time, Chaurasia alleged, “Nasir had called the Muslims of Aulia Masjid and Islam Colony”—two nearby areas. He claimed that close to 40 young men had gathered, and that this mob began beating him, his two sons and his cousin. He further claimed that Nasir harassed him, and that Nitish threatened to kill him. “He withdrew a knife from his person and held it to my throat,” Chaurasia wrote. He added that Nasir hit his son Mrityunjay over the head with a steel rod, injuring him gravely.

Kedar Nagarajan is a web reporter at The Caravan.

Keywords: religion BJP RSS religious minorities