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Ajmer blast convict on bail gets hero's welcome in hometown

Last updated on: September 06, 2018 00:01 IST

Members of the RSS, VHP and BJP were also part of the crowd welcoming Bhavesh Patel.

A convict in the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast case, in which three persons were killed, was accorded a hero's welcome in Bharuch on Sunday by a large crowd, including members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Bharatiya Janata Party, after being released on bail.

The convict, Bhavesh Patel, who had been awarded life imprisonment by a trial court in Ajmer dargah blast case, was granted bail by Rajasthan high court last week.

Relatives of Patel, who was dressed in saffron robes and a turban, revealed to some of those present during the welcome ceremony that during his jail stay he became a monk and changed his name to Swami Muktanand.

 

As he arrived in Bharuch, his hometown, from Ajmer, members of the saffron outfits as well as of the BJP-ruled Bharuch Municipality, along with general public gave him a warm welcome.

On reaching Bharuch, Patel first visited the Swaminarayan temple in Dandiya bazar area.

On his way home from the temple, hundreds of people stood there to welcome him.

As he walked towards his residence, people apparently showered rose petals, garlanded him and shouted slogans in his support, while he walked towards his residence with his hands folded in prayer as his supporters surrounded him.

"A large number of members of Bharuch Municipality were present on the occasion," local BJP councillor Marutisinh Atodariya said.

Among those present to welcome him was Surbhi Tamakuwala, president of Bharuch Municipality.

"VHP, RSS and BJP members along with hundreds of people welcomed him as he walked towards his residence at Hathikhana Bazar from nearby Swaminarayan temple, where he went to offer prayers after his arrival here," Viral Desai, spokesperson of south Gujarat unit of the VHP, said.

Desai claimed Patel has been associated with the VHP and the RSS since his younger days.

He had also served as an office-bearer of the RSS's Bharuch unit long ago.

Reacting to the grand welcome accorded to Patel, social activist Nishant Varma said a hero's welcome to a convict by members of a political party is 'unacceptable' and should be termed as 'anti-national'.

A person who is a convict, even if he comes out on bail, cannot be given a hero's welcome, he said.

"Anyone who adopts the name of a swami on his own...at least the akhara swamis and self-styled swamis are hypocrites. He might have been granted bail, but the lower court has pronounced him a convict," Varma said.

In March 2017, a trial court had sentenced Patel and his co-accused, Devendra Gupta, to life imprisonment in the Ajmer dargah blast case.

The blast at the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer at the time of Roza Iftaar on October 11, 2007, had left three pilgrims dead and 15 others injured.

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