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AAP MLA Naresh Yadav Held for Desecration Of Quran

Two MLAs from the party arrested within hours.

25/07/2016 9:47 AM IST | Updated 25/07/2016 11:36 AM IST
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PATIALA, INDIA - JULY 5: AAP Party Delhi MLA Naresh Yadav coming out after being questioned for five hours by Punjab Police officials at CIA Staff Office on July 5, 2016 in Patiala, India. Naresh Yadav, AAP MLA from Mehrauli, had been booked in the alleged sacrilege incident after one of the accused claimed that he had acted at the behest of the legislator. (Photo by Bharat Bhushan/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

In a span of hours, two members of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were arrested on separate charges.

MLA Amanatullah Khan was detained for questioning from his Jamia Nagar residence after a woman complained of being harassed and threatened by a youth she had met at Khan's house recently. In response, AAP tweeted out a video claiming that the woman was being asked by Delhi police to lodge false complaints against the MLA.

Within hours, another AAP MLA was held by a team from the Punjab police for his alleged involvement in an incident of desecration of the Quran. Naresh Yadav, a legislator from Delhi's Mehrauli area, has been accused of abetting Vijay Kumar in Jind, Haryana, to tear pages from the Holy Book. Kumar claimed the MLA was his "friend" and had offered him Rs 1 crore to carry out the act. The motive behind this request, ostensibly, was to inflame communal tensions, police sources said.

SP Jaskaran Singh Teja, who led the police team from Sangrur, said, "We have SMSes, call ... records and evidence of [Yadav's] presence in the district which prove his involvement."

In his defence, Yadav claimed he had been framed in a "conspiracy". "When I had told police that I was available for questioning any time then why I am being arrested," he said to The Times of India. He also accused the police of arresting him on the instigation of an "RSS man". "I have nothing to hide. I have been framed by Punjab Police at the behest of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal. I have full faith in the judiciary and will come clean," Hindustan Times quoted him as saying.

On 24 June, the third Friday of the holy month of Ramzan, pages torn from the Quran were found lying in a drain near a cemetery in Malerkotla in Punjab. Within minutes, an angry mob had gathered there. In the course of their protest, they tried to set fire to the residence of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA, Farzana Nissara Khatoon.

Vijay Kumar, a businessman with a reputation for being anti-Pakistan who had lived in Canada, was aided in the tearing of the Quran by a father-son duo, Nand Kishore 'Goldy' and Gaurav, from Begowal village in the Taragarh area of Pathankot district. A day after the three were arrested, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) cried foul that one of them was its Punjab unit secretary (organisation) and had been framed.

Delhi chief minister and leader of AAP, Arvind Kejriwal, alleged that since his party is steadily emerging as a strong contender in the upcoming assembly polls in Punjab in 2017, the SAD-BJP alliance has been trying to malign its chances. Earlier this month, another AAP member, Ashish Khetan was booked on the charge of hurting religious sentiments when he compared the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs, with his party's manifesto.

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