Two more arrests, rumours and muscle flexing – the Muzaffarnagar riots case generated confusion, tension and protests in parts of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh on Saturday.
While Sangeet Som — the BJP legislator accused of uploading a fake video that played a role in provoking the communal tension — was arrested in Sardhana, the police picked up BSP legislator Noor Salim Rana from Muzaffarnagar.
The two were among the 16 politicians against whom non-bailable arrest warrants had been issued by a Muzaffarnagar court for complicity in the riots that claimed 47 lives.
Claiming he had voluntarily surrendered, Som’s supporters gathered and shouted anti-government slogans, demanding his release. As the trouble was on, news came of the arrest of Rana.
What aggravated the tension was the cancellation of BJP chief Rajnath Singh’s visit to Muzaffarnagar. Singh had planned the visit to show solidarity with BJP legislator Suresh Rana, first man arrested in the case, who was remanded in judicial custody for a fortnight on Saturday.
Rumours of the arrest of BJP legislator Hukum Singh caused confusion, and in Delhi, BKU convenor Rakesh Tikait declared he wouldn’t be arrested like “cattle”.
“I won’t court arrest. I’m not a criminal. Show me the CD which shows me committing a crime! I won’t be dragged like cattle,” Tikait said.
Later in the evening, Hukum Singh clarified that he had not been arrested. “Yes, there were some confusion and the party was under the impression that I was arrested,” he said. “I am in Delhi and we would meet the President on Sunday to demand the dismissal of UP government, arrest of UP minister Azam Khan and a CBI probe into the riots.”