BJP, AIMIM councillors clash over Vande Mataram at oath-taking in Meerut | Meerut News – Times of India

By- Krishna Chaudhary
MEERUT: Newly-elected councillors of the BJP and AIMIM clashed with each other over the “repeated recital of Vande Mataram” during an oath-taking ceremony of the mayor and other members for Meerut Nagar Nigam on Friday. Police said that two councillors have been arrested and 18 booked after the incident.
Incidentally, the Vande Mataram was recited by a municipal official but when he fumbled and missed a few sentences, BJP MPs Laxmikant Bajpai and Rajendra Agarwal, who were present on the occasion, took the stage and began singing. This did not go down well with the AIMIM councillors of the Hyderabad-based Asaduddin Owaisi’s party and they refused to stand up “more than once”.
Irked BJP councillors then allegedly thrashed some of the AIMIM councillors. Soon, things inside the CCS university hall turned ugly and police arrived in large numbers to escort the AIMIM councillors out of the venue.
Civil lines circle officer, Arvind Chaurasia, told TOI: “It started with a verbal spat between the two sides and thereafter a few AIMIM councillors came under attack. No one sustained any injuries. An FIR has been registered under IPC sections 147 (rioting), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) against three identified persons — Rajeev Gupta, Kavita Rahi and Uttam Saini — and 15 unidentified. Gupta (ward 39) and Saini (ward 44), both councillors representing BJP, have been arrested so far.”
Eighty-five municipal councillors — BJP 42, SP 13, AIMIM seven, BSP six and 17 from other parties — took their oath, along with the newly-elected mayor Harikant Ahluwalia of BJP. Municipal commissioner, Amit Pal Sharma, said, “There are 90 nagar nigam wards in Meerut with AIMIM having 11 elected councillors.
The new mayor will now take the decision on the oath-taking event of the remaining five councillors, including one IUML.” The mayor was unavailable to comment on the matter.
Soon after the Friday afternoon clash, BJP and AIMIM began blaming each other. BJP’s ward 69 councillor, Pankaj Goel, said, “I was sitting behind the AIMIM group when the Vande Mataram was recited, but they didn’t want to rise to their feet as a show of respect and this is when the altercation ensued.”
AIMIM’s ward 71 councillor, Fazal Karim, said, “We were sitting quietly when the Vande Mataram was recited again and again. Some councillors and BJP supporters were forcing us to stand. They started beating us when we refused.” Karim added: “Even though elected councillors from various political parties were present, it seemed to be a BJP-only oath-taking affair.”
AIMIM’s district president, Faeem Chaudhary, pointed out, “We’re not going to sing Vande Mataram under pressure. We all respect our Constitution. We will say ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and sing our national anthem with full pride and honour, but not Vande Mataram.”
In December 2017, there was a similar clash between BJP and BSP councillors during the oath-taking ceremony of the then newly-elected BSP mayor, Sunita Verma, over Vande Mataram.

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