Tikait ready to surrender in court

April 2nd, 2008 - 10:38 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

Sisauli (Uttar Pradesh), April 2 (IANS) Bharatiya Kisan Union’s (BKU) president Mahendra Singh Tikait, accused of hurling caste-laced insults at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, has announced his willingness to surrender in court. As about 10,000 men in uniform stood guard around Sisauli village in Muzaffarnagar district, Tikait called a panchayat early Wednesday to discuss the issue.

The farmer leader, who commands a vast following in the farming community, told his supporters in the presence of journalists that he was ready to surrender. Tikait, however, asked the police not to arrest him and declared that he would give himself up in court.

It remains to be seen if the administration will agree to this demand. Three senior bureaucrats had been sent to the village Tuesday to negotiate with Tikait.

Tikait late Tuesday signalled that he was mellowing down by going back on his remarks against Mayawati and calling her his daughter.

An arrest warrant against the 73-year-old leader was issued Monday under the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Atrocities (Prevention) Act for his alleged caste-laced diatribe against Mayawati, a Dalit leader, during a farmers’ rally in Bijnaur district Sunday.

The Uttar Pradesh government called in 20 companies of the Rapid Action Force, Provincial Armed Constabulary and policemen from 28 police stations Monday to arrest Tikait, but backed off as his supporters in this village fought pitched battles with the security personnel throughout the day.

Despite admitting his mistake and terming the remarks “a slip of tongue”, the farmer leader said Mayawati was seeking revenge.

Tikait’s softening of stance late Tuesday brought him more time to consider the option of surrender. Behind the scene negotiations of the administrators with Tikait’s family members also paved the way for a possible amicable solution to the impasse.

Tikait’s supporters were opposed to his decision to surrender.

“If you surrender today the atrocities of this government would increase,” Rashtriya Lok Dal MP Anuradha Chowdhury said as Tikait supporters shouted anti-Mayawati slogans.

Insiders said that Tikait would be seeking to bail out his two sons already arrested by the police over Monday’s clashes.

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

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