The Madhya Pradesh Police on Saturday arrested Bharatiya Janata Party worker Dinesh Kushwaha, who was seen assaulting a 65-year-old man with mental illness on video, The Indian Express reported.
The man, identified as Bhawarlal Jain, was later found dead in the Neemuch district.
The video shared on social media showed Kushwaha repeatedly slapping Jain and asking him about his identity. Kushwaha was seen asking him if his name was Mohammed and demanding his Aadhaar card.
Trigger warning: A differently-abled elderly person Bhanwarlal Jain was brutally beaten in MP’s Neemuch over suspicion of being a Muslim. The person (Dinesh Kushwaha) can be seen asking ‘Are you Mohammed, Show me your Identity Card’, while thrashing him. He Was Later Found Dead. pic.twitter.com/o0xvlFoUXK
— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) May 21, 2022
Jain was a resident of Sarsi village in Ratlam district of the state. He had gone missing on May 16 after visiting a religious event in Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh district. His body was found in front of a car showroom on the Rampura road in Neemuch on May 19.
After the elderly man’s body was found, his family members, residents of his village and members of the Jain community had held protests at the police station, seeking strict action against the accused persons.
KL Dangi, who is in charge of the Manasa police station in the Neemuch district, said that Kushwaha had gone into hiding after the incident, according to The Indian Express. He was traced by a team of 40 policemen.
Dangi added that the video of the assault was shared on social media after Jain’s body was handed over to his family on May 19. He said the video was shot just 600 metres from where Jain’s body was discovered.
The police have registered a case under Section 302 (murder) and Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code against Kushwaha, who is the husband of a former BJP corporator.
State BJP secretary Rajneesh Agrawal said that the incident was unfortunate, NDTV reported.
“An accused is an accused and it has nothing to do with party politics,” Agrawal said. “None of the people involved in such an act will be spared by the state government.”
The saffron party chief in the Neemuch district said that Kushwaha does not hold any position in the BJP. “He is simply a worker,” he said, according to The Indian Express.
Congress leader Kamal Nath questioned why criminals in Madhya Pradesh were “so confident of themselves” and alleged that the state government was only interested in event management.
“Just where is law and order in the state?” he asked. “Till when will people be killed in this manner?”