A Gurjar leader who had defaced Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s name on a plaque has accused the state’s police of double standards by not taking action against some people who had allegedly wiped off the community’s name on the same plaque on a statue of 9th century king Mihir Bhoj.
Shyam Singh Bhati, 35, has admitted to defacing the name of Yogi Adityanath from the plaque on the statue in a Dadri college on September 28. Gautam Budh Nagar police had lodged an FIR against him and his associates and arrested him in Lucknow. He absconded from police custody and remained elusive till the time the district court granted him bail on October 7.
“When the word Gurjar was blackened from the plaque on the statue just before the arrival of the CM for the inauguration, the police didn’t lodge an FIR and investigate the matter but when I defaced the CM’s name on the plaque later, the police arrested me. Isn’t it double standards of the UP government?” asked Bhati, the president of All India Veer Gurjar Mahasabha. The plaque was corrected in the evening.
The controversy started a few days after the Gurjar Vidya Sabha, which runs the college, invited the UP CM to inaugurate the statue of the Bhoj, a king of the Gurjar Pratihar dynasty on September 22.
After the CM accepted the invitation, Bhati alleged, Gurjar leaders of the BJP hijacked the event and side-lined the office-bearers of Vidya Sabha. Gurjars and Rajputs are in dispute over the ancestry of the emperor as both communities claim that Mihir Bhoj belongs to their community. “Since the Rajput community is a strong supporter of the BJP, they pressurised the CM to get the Gurjar word removed from the plaque and the hoardings,” Bhati alleged.
BJP leaders put up hoardings in which they wrote ‘Pratihar Samrat Mihir Bhoj’ instead of ‘Gurjar Pratihar Samrat Mihir Bhoj'. Bhati and his associates pulled down these hoardings and burnt effigies of BJP leaders over which the Gautam Budh Nagar police booked them.
A few days after the event, Bhati and other members of the Gurjar community washed the statue with Ganga water and defaced CM’s and other BJP’s leaders' names on the plaque. “I admit that I didn’t do the right thing. But shouldn’t the CM and other BJP leaders apologise for erasing the glorious past of the Gurjar community?,” Bhati questioned and accused the BJP of playing politics of appeasement for vote bank.
“Everyone works for his community. There is nothing wrong if I am doing it for my community,” he added.