Jahangirpuri riots: The AAP vs BJP fight over ‘main conspirator’ Ansar

Four days after violence broke out in Jahangirpuri in Northwest Delhi — injuring eight police personnel and a local resident — an uneasy cal...

Four days after violence broke out in Jahangirpuri in Northwest Delhi — injuring eight police personnel and a local resident — an uneasy calm prevails in the riot-hit area.

Normal life in the area has been impacted owing to the heavy deployment of police personnel.

However, as residents of the area try to resume normal activities and push the horrors of 16 April to the deep recesses of their minds, leaders of political parties, namely the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), have escalated their fight over Ansar, the main accused in the Delhi Jahangirpuri violence, and his alleged links to the parties.

Both parties have been involved in a war of words, accusing each other of being affiliated to Ansar, the accused mastermind of the riots.

Let’s take a look at who Ansar is and what charges have both parties been levelling against each other.

Also read: Delhi riots: From 2022’s Jahangirpuri to Sadar Bazar in 1974, a history of communal clashes in the Capital

Who is Ansar?

Mohammad Ansar was arrested on 17 April by the Delhi police claiming that he was a key conspirator in the riots.

The police stated that Ansar, along with his four-five companions, reached the Hanuman Jayanti procession carried out in the area and started fighting with people.

Ansar and his companions allegedly started the ruckus, which acted as a trigger point for clashes between the two communities.

According to a report in The Wire, Ansar is a known history-sheeter of the area and has a record of his criminal history since 2007. He is said to be running a bootlegging business and gambling racket in the area. In the past, Ansar has been taken into preventive custody multiple times.

According to reports, Mohammed Ansar, born in 1980 in the slum of Jahangirpuri, was arrested with a knife for the first time 13 years ago. He has a total of seven FIRs have been registered against him.

Since his arrest, several images of him have surfaced online; some show him wearing thick gold rings and a gold chain. In another, he is seen drinking expensive alcohol. Along with this, images of Ansar wearing the AAP cap also went viral, in which he is being welcomed with garlands.

On Sunday, when the police was presenting him in court, Ansar appeared in front of the media in the style of ‘Main Jhukega Nahi…’ from the film Pushpa.

BJP vs AAP

Shortly after images of Ansar surfaced of him in an AAP cap, the BJP slammed the AAP for the riots.
Manoj Tiwari of the BJP on Monday had alleged Ansar had links with Delhi's ruling party.

He also called AAP a “riots factory” as he alleged that Ansar was linked to the party.

“The mastermind of the Jahangirpuri violence, Ansar, was found to be an AAP worker. Tahir Hussain, who was the mastermind of the 2020 Delhi riots, was also an AAP councillor. Is AAP running a riots factory? Everyone knows illegal immigrants are a huge problem in Delhi and AAP is soft on them. There should be an investigation as whenever there is any violence in Delhi, the mastermind is found to be from AAP,” Tiwari said in a video he tweeted.

On 19 April, AAP countered the BJP’s allegations. AAP’s Kalkaji MLA Atishi tweeted that the 35-year-old Mohammad Ansar has been a “BJP leader”.

She posted several photos in which Ansar can be seen campaigning for BJP candidate Sangeeta Bajaj in Jahangirpuri. Bajaj was the BJP’s Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) candidate from North Jahangirpuri in 2017 and can be seen with Ansar in multiple photos posted by Atishi.

AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj also held a press conference, stating that Ansar was an “active BJP leader”.

The party also shared on social media some pictures in which Ansar is seen wearing a saffron cap and the BJP's scarf, and seems to be attending some political events with other leaders of the BJP.

“With these pictures, the dirty and ugly face of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stands exposed before the country. These pictures make it clear that the riots in Jahangirpuri had been engineered by the BJP,” Bharadwaj said.

The BJP immediately hit back at the AAP, accusing them of "lying" to divert attention from the role of its party worker in the violence.

"The main accused, Ansar, along with another leader had quit the BJP in January 2020 and joined the AAP before the assembly polls. The AAP leaders are covering up this fact since Ansar's involvement in the April 16 incident has exposed their anti-Hindu face," Delhi BJP media head Navin Kumar told PTI.

He also claimed that Ansar joined the AAP in the presence of senior party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh in January 2020.

Also read: Nine states, 15 days: India is witnessing a spate of communal violence

Jahangirpuri riots

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police, who is investigating the riots, has imposed the stringent National Security Act (NSA) on five persons.

Police said that among those booked under the NSA are Ansar, the alleged "main conspirator" behind the violence, and Sonu, who was seen in a video opening fire during the clashes.

News agency PTI reported that the other three are Salim, Dilshad and Ahir who are facing charges under the NSA for their alleged involvement in the violence.

With inputs from agencies

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