For the best experience, open
on your mobile browser or Download our App.
You are reading an older article which was published on
Apr 08, 2023

Hindu Mahasabha Conspirator Wanted to Incite Communal Passions Using Cow Ruse: UP Police

The main accused, Sanjay Jaat, has a previous criminal record, police said. Jaat told 'The Wire' that he was being framed by cow smugglers.
Illustration: Pariplab Chakraborty

New Delhi: Individuals associated with the Hindu Mahasabha conspired to use the claim of a cow slaughter not just to wrongly implicate individuals from the Muslim community but also to incite communal passions ahead of Ram Navami, sources in the Uttar Pradesh Police told The Wire.

Police have claimed to have found alleged links between those associated with Hindu Mahasabha, a prominent Hindutva outfit often in headlines for communal controversies, to Agra cow smugglers in the recent incident involving the discovery of a large quantity of what was claimed to be beef. It is yet not clear if the conspirators slaughtered a cow themselves or spread information after sourcing and placing the meat there.

Uttar Pradesh has a stringent anti-cow slaughter law, providing a maximum rigorous imprisonment of 10 years and a fine up to Rs 5 lakh for the offence.

As reported before, members of the Hindu Mahasabha had held protests outside a police station, against the discovery of beef in Agra. Jitender Kumar, a member of the outfit, had filed a complaint alleging cow slaughter.

After police interrogation, it emerged that three people, including Brijesh Bhadauria, Saurabh Sharma, Ajay and Sanjay Jaat, were involved in the case. The name of Sanjay Jaat has emerged as the main conspirator. Jaat is said to have hatched the conspiracy in connivance with some members of the minority community. News reports have described Jaat as a spokesperson for the Mahasabha. “It was a sort of an extortion business…with involvement of members of both communities,” the police source told The Wire.

Speaking to The Wire, Agra Commissioner of Police, Preetinder Singh, said that this was an attempt to stir communal differences ahead of a big festival. “Basically, sometimes before important festivals some people try to create a situation that vitiates the atmosphere. But that did not happen,” he asked.

When asked as to how police could crack the case open, Singh said that the plot was revealed through CCTV footage, the matching of timings, tracing the location of the accused, and through thorough interrogation. “The accused were in touch via phone,” he added, implying that call logs were traced to place them geographically.

Who is Sanjay Jaat?

Sanjay Jaat has a previous criminal record although the nature of his earlier offences is different, the Agra Commissioner of Police confirmed.

In the present case, the police have booked the accused under charges for criminal conspiracy, communal instigation, and sections under the cow protection law in Uttar Pradesh. The police have arrested two of the accused but Sanjay Jaat is still at large. 

The Wire reached out to Sanjay Jaat for his reactions to the allegations levelled by the Uttar Pradesh police. Jaat rubbished the charges and said that they are being falsely framed in a conspiracy by cow smugglers.

Jaat claimed that last month his ‘team’ had apprehended two men, Jhallu and Imran, who were sent to jail on cow smuggling charges. The men, according to Jaat, asked him if he wanted to stop “other actions of cow smuggling.” Jaat alleged that the two eventually conspired to frame him.

“I trusted him because he swore by Allah that he wants cow smuggling to stop. I had no reason to think that it was a lie because the informant was fasting during Ramzan,” he said. 

This is not the first time that Jaat has been involved in polarising issues and communal controversies. He and his group were involved in issuing threats to Samajwadi Party leader Swami Prasad Maurya when he spoke against the Ramcharitmanas and in protests against the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Pathaan. In January, he had threatened to install a portrait of Hindutva icon Vinayak Damodar Savarkar inside the Aligarh Muslim University campus. In February, he was reportedly arrested under charges of extortion.

As per media reports, groups functioning under him intercepted traders transporting meat, and accused them of carrying beef. Such action was followed by loud protests and the lodging of police complaints. Later, a settlement would be made after the group which ‘caught’ the traders was paid money. 

When asked about his involvement in protests against Maurya and Pathaan, Jaat said that he is not the only person to have engaged in such protests.

When The Wire asked Jaat as to why he had recently led agitations on the demand that he be allowed to pray on Shivratri inside the Taj Mahal, he said that it is a temple of Lord Ram. This was at odds with the popular Hindutva conspiracy theory that claims that the Taj Mahal is ‘Tejo Mahalaya’, a Shiv temple.

Jaat also told The Wire that he has no criminal background and said that he works as a cashier at a government bank.

Meanwhile, this reporter has accessed a letter, the authenticity of which cannot be confirmed yet, through which the Hindu Mahasabha has allegedly announced Jaat’s expulsion from the group due to ‘anti-party activities’.

Make a contribution to Independent Journalism
facebook twitter