Newsmaker | Abhay Mathane: Achalpur unit chief under arrest over communal clash a ‘popular’ party worker, says BJP

Newsmaker | Abhay Mathane: Achalpur unit chief under arrest over communal clash a ‘popular’ party worker, says BJP

India News

Mathane and over 20 others were arrested over the communal violence that broke out in Achalpur on April 17 after two groups pelted stones at each other and clashed over religious flags. Police said that after Mathane and his group hoisted saffron flags at Dulha Gate in the city, members of another group allegedly removed the flags, triggering the clash. Mathane, who has been booked under IPC sections related to damaging public properties, was produced before a magistrate on Wednesday and remanded in police custody till April 22.

On Thursday, speaking about Mathane’s arrest, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis accused the Maharashtra police of “targeting Hindus”. “The police crackdown in Achalpur last week exposed the police’s prejudice. It is evident that the state police are targeting Hindus.”

A former councilor in the Achalpur Municipal Council, Mathane is also president of Girani Kamgar Sangh, a union fighting for the rights of mill workers. The union has been agitating to restart the Finlay Textile Mill in the town, which shut down during the pandemic.

In a Facebook post on March 12, Mathane informed his followers about a special screening of the The Kashmir Files in Achalpur’s Shri Talkies movie hall, saying watching the film “is no less than service to the nation”.

Mathane’s wife Rupali said her husband was not present at the spot when the clashes broke out. “My husband has been made a scapegoat. He is innocent. We were on our way to Pune when we heard about the clashes. The next day police came and arrested my husband,” she said.

Shivray Kulkarni, senior BJP leader from Amravati, too alleged a conspiracy. “He is a very popular worker. There is a conspiracy behind his arrest. The flat hoisting is done by all communities every year. This was not the first time a flag was hoisted,” said Kulkarni.

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