Tikait goes back on remarks, calls Mayawati ‘beti’

April 1st, 2008 - 11:57 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party
(Second Lead)

Sisauli (Uttar Pradesh), April 1 (IANS) With the Uttar Pradesh police closing in on him, farmer leader Mahendra Singh Tikait Tuesday did a volte face, saying he had not uttered any offensive caste-based remark against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, and said she was like his daughter. “Maine koi apshabd nahi kahe. Mayawati to meri beti barobar hai, galti mein kuchch munh sein nikal gaya hoga (I did not use any derogatory word against her. Mayawati is like my daughter, it might have been a slip of tongue),” said Tikait in this Uttar Pradesh town, surrounded by his supporters shouting slogans against the Uttar Pradesh chief minister.

The u-turn by the Bharatiya Kisan Union president came as the Uttar Pradesh police launched “Operation Tikait” and intensified their efforts to nab him.

A 6,000-strong force surrounded Sisauli, the BKU headquarters, even as the villagers started gathering stones, sticks and weapons to thwart any possible attempt to arrest the popular farmer leader.

As Tikait’s arrest looked imminent, the villagers blocked all entry and exit points to the village, which has virtually been turned into a fortress.

“Mai toh surrender karna chahata tha par janata kisi kimat par maanane ko taiyyar nahi thi (I wanted to surrender, but the people were not prepared for that),” Tikait said.

On Monday, the police attempts to arrest Tikait, who commands vast following among farmers here, met with violent resistance from his supporters in Sisauli, forcing them to back off.

An arrest warrant was issued Monday against the 73-year-old leader under the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Atrocities (Prevention) Act for his alleged remarks against Mayawati.

The situation in the village remained tense with police sources saying that they had been alerted for a late Tuesday night operation to arrest Tikait.

Tikait’s two sons - Rakesh and Surinder - were arrested over the clashes between his supporters and the security personnel Monday.

Tikait’s diatribe against the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief has brought to the fore the differences between the upper castes and lower castes in western Uttar Pradesh. With the Jat community in dominance here, Tikait’s arrest could antagonize the community.

In view of the situation in Sisauli, an alert has been sounded in all western Uttar Pradesh districts and the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) units deployed around the town.

“The forces will remain deployed till the situation demands,” Inspector General (Meerut range) V.K. Gupta said.

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