BJP leader Varun Gandhi's mother and MP from Pilibhit, Maneka Gandhi who visited the jail and met her son, lent a communal touch to the entire episode by alleging that 45 people were injured in police firing including 25 by a Muslim police inspector.
Turning it into a political spectacle, Varun Gandhi today surrendered before a local court and was sent to jail in a criminal case against him for hate speeches on a day when his supporters fought pitched battles with police leaving over 20 injured.
Varun, who arrived in the morning to a tumultuous welcome from a large number of BJP workers and saffron activists, was arrested and later remanded to judicial custody till Monday by Chief Judicial Magistrate Vipin Kumar. His bail plea will come up for hearing on Monday.
But shortly after the brief court proceedings, the area around the district jail where he was taken, was turned into a battle zone with unruly activists of the Sangh Parivar attacking officials and attempting to block police from taking Gandhi to the jail.
Police fired rubber bullets and lathicharged the activists who indulged in heavy stone throwing. Police also returned the missiles and the situation was tense till late in the evening.
The state government said in Lucknow that police used force to control the situation after BJP workers indulged in unprovoked violence.
BJP downplays Varun arrest, Cong dubs it as 'tamaasha'
Varun Gandhi's arrest for the hate speeches he made in Pilibhit saw the BJP downplay the episode while Congress dubbed it as a "tamaasha" in which the leader was following the script of party veteran L K Advani.
"The silent Advaniji is completely in tune with what is happening because without his consent this could not have happened. He could have easily stopped it," Congress spokesman Kapil Sibal said.
"He (Advani) wants this issue to carry on in public eye and continue this tamasha (drama)," he said. BJP leader Kalraj Mishra, who is in Pilibhit, said that he was "observing the situation" in Varun's pocket borough and also making attempts to ensure that the Model Code of Conduct is not violated.
"I am only observing the situation... I am also seeing that there should be no violation of the code of conduct," said Mishra, who is incharge of BJP affairs in Uttar Pradesh.
Asked about Varun courting arrest, BJP spokesman Balbir Punj said that "Varun Gandhi is responding as a political worker who has a public support base to respond".
Varun on Saturday surrendered before a court in Pilibhit in connection with a case against him for hate speeches after which he was arrested and sent to judicial remand till Monday.