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BJP leaders’ murder: 7 held, Guj ATS says Mum blasts accused

Ahmedabad: Gujarat ATS has arrested seven persons in connection with the murder of two BJP leaders in Bharuch earlier this month and claimed the contract for their killing was allegedly given by absconding 1993 Mumbai serial blasts accused Javed Chikna from South Africa, apparently to avenge subsequent riots in Mumbai and Gujarat.

“We have arrested seven persons, including two sharp shooters, for murder of BJP leaders,” Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) chief J K Bhatt told reporters at a press conference here today.

The two BJP leaders — former party president of Bharuch district and senior RSS member Shirish Bangali and general secretary of Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha of Bharuch district Pragnesh Mistry — were shot dead by two unidentified gunmen in Bharuch on November 2.

“Primary investigations revealed that the murders were carried out citing injustice due to the incidents that happened from 1993 (Mumbai riots) to 2002 (Gujarat riots),” Bhatt said without elaborating.

“The persons involved in the incident had three more leaders as their target,” he said refusing to give their names or that of their organisation due to security reasons.

“We will provide them (the persons on target) with adequate security,” the officer said.

“The ‘supari’ (contract) for killing two leaders was given by absconding (1993) Mumbai blasts accused Javed Chikna from South Africa. He had hired killers for Rs 50 lakhs to kills those Bharuch based leaders,” Bhatt said adding that the shooters had so far received Rs 5 lakhs.