Tikait arrested from his Muzaffarnagar home

April 2nd, 2008 - 1:11 pm ICT by admin  

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

Muzaffarnagar (Uttar Pradesh), April 2 (IANS) Ending a two-day standoff, farmer leader Mahendra Singh Tikait was arrested from his house here Wednesday for allegedly making casteist remarks against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati. Tikait, against whom a warrant had been issued Monday under the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Atrocities Prevention Act, came to this district headquarter town with leaders of the Rashtriya Lok Dal and hordes of his supporters to surrender in Bijnore court. But he was arrested in this town itself.

“Tikait was arrested from his house in Muzaffarnagar and will be taken to the Bijnore court which had issued the arrest warrant against him,” Inspector General (Meerut) V.K. Gupta told IANS.

The controversy was sparked after Tikait, 73, allegedly abused Mayawati during a rally in Bijnore Sunday.

Tikait decided to take a step back early Wednesday at a panchayat in Sisauli village of Muzaffarnagar district. The village is the headquarters of his Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU).

Sporting his trademark Gandhi cap and white clothes, a now-portly Tikait told his supporters in the village: “I do not want bloodshed; that is why I am surrendering”. The supporters were opposed to the idea of his arrest and were prepared for a showdown with the police.

As about 10,000 men in uniform stood guard around Sisauli, the man 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.

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

The Uttar Pradesh government called in 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 who were opposed to his decision to surrender continued to shout anti-Mayawati slogans throughout.

“If you surrender today the atrocities of this government would increase,” Rashtriya Lok Dal MP Anuradha Chowdhury told him.

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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