MUMBAI: About 100 persons who claimed to be Gau Rakshaks or cow protectors, took out a protest march against the Maharashtra ATS demanding the release of arrested terror suspect Vaibhav Raut from whose residence and office over 30 pistols and a huge cache of explosives and other arms and ammunition have been seized.
The protesters chanted anti-police and anti-government slogans and said the BJP-led government in Maharashtra was trying to appease the Muslim community prior to the elections next year.
The Bhandari community and cow vigilantes on Friday took out a march along the streets of Nalasopara to show support to arrested terror plot suspect Vaibhav Raut by the state Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS), reports the Times of India.
Raut (40) who is in police custody till Saturday was arrested on August 10 from his Bhandaraly home in Nalasopara (west) for criminal conspiracy and planning to carry out bomb blasts to disturb the communal harmony.
Around 200 protesters joined the march that began from Bhandaraly village and culminated at the station.
The protestors raised slogans of ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Jai Shree Ram’ amidst heavy police bandobast.
The protestors said that Raut, who belongs to the Bhandari community and is well known in the village for his Hindutva principles, was falsely booked by the ATS.
The ATS has claimed to have seized explosives and arms and raw materials from Raut’s three-storey bungalow where he lives in a joint family,
The ATS has been conducting searches at his home and office since then. On Wednesday, the ATS had seized his vehicle, suspected to have been used to transport explosives.
A team of plain clothes ATS officers have been keeping a watch in the village since the past few days.
The Palghar police too conducted a march past on Thursday, ahead of the protest, reports the Times of India.
Protestors worn T-shirts with Raut’s poster and demanded that he be released.