New Delhi, Jan. 8: A fringe outfit today vandalised the Aam Aadmi Party headquarters to protest against Prashant Bhushan’s “divisive” views on Kashmir, prompting Arvind Kejriwal to declare that he was “ready to be killed for Kashmir”.
“If they think by killing me or Prashant Bhushan, the Kashmir issue will get resolved, they should tell me the place and date when they want to kill me and I’ll go,” Kejriwal said, pointing out that his party had already clarified its stand on Kashmir.
Some 30 to 40 members of a little-known outfit, the Hindu Rakshak Dal, attacked the AAP’s headquarters in Kaushambi, located in Uttar Pradesh bordering Delhi. The attackers raised slogans against Bhushan, hurled stones into the office and broke glass panes and flowerpots. No AAP leader or volunteer was hurt in the attack. Delhi chief minister Kejriwal lives in a flat near the party office.
AAP spokesperson Dilip Pandey said the mob barged into the office and indulged in vandalism.
“We are against the statement made by Bhushan and will not tolerate such anti-national views,” said Bhupendra Tomar alias Pinky Choudhary, who led the attack and was later arrested by Uttar Pradesh police.
In a television interview, Bhushan had suggested a referendum in the Kashmir Valley and said the army should be withdrawn if the people preferred so.
Kejriwal invoked “Lord Ram” to turn the political heat on the BJP without naming the party. He wondered why the outfit attacked their office when Bhushan and the AAP had said Kashmir was an integral part of India.
“No God can create such a sena that attacks the offices and houses of people. It is against the principles of Lord Ram. I am also a Hindu,” Kejriwal said.
Other AAP leaders said the vandal outfit was part of the Sangh parivar. Bhushan, who blamed the attack on the BJP, said it was the outcome of the party’s frustration over the AAP’s rising popularity.
“It shows that the BJP and RSS are frustrated by the emergence of the AAP. It shows their characterů. They have opened organisations which are meant for violence and hatred,” Bhushan said.
He said that he had been attacked earlier too and the person responsible then worked for the BJP.
AAP spokesperson Pandey alleged that the group that attacked the office was affiliated to the BJP. “Everybody knows with which party such groups are associated. They are all part of the Sangh and BJP parivar,” he said.
The AAP leaders felt that the attack would help them politically in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls and deflect attention from Bhushan’s controversial remarks on Kashmir.
“The Hindu outfit has helped us by attacking us. Now everybody is condemning the attack and feeling that the BJP is really scared by the AAP’s popularity,” a party leader said.