A minister in Jharkhand, where Swami Agnivesh was mercilessly beaten up on Tuesday, accused the social activist of planning the attack on himself to "gain popularity". Swami Agnivesh, said CP Singh, is a "fraud" and wears saffron to "deceive simple people of the country".
It is not known yet why the activist was attacked -- no arrest has been made in the case. Swami Agnivesh said his attackers have accused him of supporting beef consumption.
Video footage from Jharkhand's Pakur -- showing the 80-year-old being kicked, punched and beaten by alleged workers of the BJP's youth wing on Tuesday - has been widely condemned.
But CP Singh, the 62-year-old urban development minister, was vocal in his criticism.
"As far as I know, Swami Agnivesh is a person who survives on foreign donations. The saffron dress that he wears is to deceive the simple Indians. He is a fraud and not a Swami. He had himself planned this attack to gain popularity," the minister told reporters.
But another BJP leader in the state has indicated that Swami Agnivesh's "track record" offers some clue to the attack.
"There have been cases where Swami Agnivesh's speech hurt religious sentiment... What we know so far is that, Swami Agnivesh said a few things which hurt religious sentiments of people," said Deepak Prakash, a BJP leader in Ranchi.
The state BJP has denied any complicity of their youth wing in the attack.
Mr Singh's boss, Chief Minister Raghubar Das, has ordered an investigation into the attack on Swami Agnivesh.
On Tuesday, from a hospital where he was admitted, Swami Agnivesh told NDTV that it was a "lynch mob" of 100-150 people.
"I was pushed and I fell. I was on the ground, my clothes torn...they accused me of supporting gau maas (beef). They raised slogans of Jai Sri Ram. Abused me... With folded hands I kept saying - what's the problem, what is my mistake, why are you angry, nobody listened to me," he said.
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