Bajrang Dal leader and cow vigilante Mohit Yadav alias Monu Manesar was arested in Haryana on Tuesday and later handed over to Rajasthan police in connection with the murder of two Muslim men whose charred bodies were found inside a vehicle in Haryana’s Bhiwani district in February.
Rajasthan police had earlier booked Manesar for the murder of Nasir, 25, and Junaid, 35, and filed a chargesheet naming him as a prime accused. He had been on the run for seven months.
On Tuesday, the Haryana police arrested Manesar in connection with the recent communal violence in Nuh district in which six people, including two home guards and a cleric, were killed.
Police sources said Manesar was arrested on the charge of inciting violence in Nuh and was produced before a local court, which remanded him in 14 days' judicial custody.
“Soon after, a Rajasthan police team approached the court around 6pm and submitted a production warrant in connection with the double murder case. The court granted his custody to the Rajasthan police,” said a Haryana police officer.
Junaid and Nasir, residents of Ghatmeeka village in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan, were allegedly abducted by cow vigilantes, who then crossed the state border into adjoining Haryana.
Manesar heads the cow vigilante wing of the Bajrang Dal in BJP-ruled Haryana. He gained prominence over the past few years in Haryana as a leader of the cow protection task force and was allegedly supported by local BJP leaders.
Bajrang Dal leaders in Nuh claimed there was no case against Manesar and accused the police of harassing their workers.
Manesar’s name had cropped up in connection with the communal violence on July 31 in Nuh district and adjoining Gurgaon, with his social media posts vowing to be part of a religious procession led by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal being seen as incitement.
“He had also uploaded objectionable and inflammatory posts under a fictitious name on social media days before the violence on July 31,” said a Haryana police officer.
In a video that had surfaced on social media, purported local VHP leaders were seen delivering hate speeches against Muslims hours before the religious rally started in the afternoon.
Police sources had said the trigger for the violence were two videos — one by Manesar saying he would also take part in the procession and urging his supporters to participate in large numbers. He, however, did not participate in the rally.