Tikait, arrested and freed on bail, regrets caste slur

April 2nd, 2008 - 9:06 pm ICT by admin  


Muzaffarnagar (Uttar Pradesh), April 2 (IANS) Farmer leader Mahendra Singh Tikait was Wednesday released on bail after his arrest following two days of high drama sparked by the casteist insults he hurled at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati. The 73-year-old Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) president, who enjoys wide support among the farming community in this region, was produced in a court at Bijnor town after his dramatic arrest from his son’s house here.

The court granted bail to Tikait on two personal bonds of Rs.20,000 each even as it said that the first information report (FIR) filed by the police against him was not complete.

After getting bail, Tikait, dressed in his trademark white kurta-pyjama and Gandhi cap, admitted that his caste-laced remarks against the Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief were a slip of the tongue and that he was in the wrong.

As he was produced in the court, thousands of his agitated supporters created a ruckus outside, forcing the police to use batons to disperse them.

The situation in the court complex remained tense, particularly after it became clear that the police were planning to arrest him in a fresh criminal case registered at Sisauli over clashes between his supporters and the police.

On Monday, the police had gone to Sisauli - his native village in western Uttar Pradesh - to arrest Tikait. But his supporters thwarted their attempts and fought pitched battles with the security personnel.

Tikait yielded after a two-day face-off with the administration after it declared virtual war on him by calling about 10,000 police and paramilitary forces. The Mayawati government eventually succeeded in taming him.

With his arrest looking imminent, Tikait struck a deal with the administration arguing he was ready to surrender. He asked the police not oppose his bail plea, police sources told IANS.

The Jat leader also sought a soft stand towards his two sons and nine supporters, arrested over the clashes with the security personnel, they said.

To execute what it said was ‘Operation Tikait’, Mayawati handpicked one Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and three Indian Police Service (IPS) officers. All of them had served in Muzaffarnagar, three of them belong to Tikait’s Jat community.

By Tuesday night, the previously belligerent Tikait had mellowed down, doing a volte face by calling Mayawati his “daughter”. He also said that he would surrender before the court to avoid “bloodshed”.

“This is the first time Tikait has been humbled into virtually surrendering before the police,” added a top official in Lucknow.

Accordingly, a convoy of more than 100 cars, jeeps and tractors left Sisauli and proceeded to Muzaffarnagar town.

When it reached the town, Senior Superintendent of Police Ajay Anand announced his formal arrest and escorted the farmer leader to Bijnor.

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