Uttar Pradesh police on Friday effected the first arrest of a politician accused of inciting violence in Muzaffarnagar, taking Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Suresh Rana into custody.
Rana, the MLA from Thana Bhawan constituency in Shamli district adjoining Muzaffarnagar, was arrested after the end of the assembly session.
The police have filed charges against Rana under sections 188 (violating section 144 that prevents a gathering of four or more people), 153 (a)(fanning communal feelings) and 335 (voluntarily causing serious hurt on provocation) of the Indian Penal Code.
Rana is among several politicians booked on charges of inciting violence in western UP's Muzzafarnagar district, around 125 km northeast of New Delhi.
On the charges slapped on him, Rana had said, "This government should immediately make the CDs containing our alleged inflammatory speeches and other villainous acts public. None of us is afraid of being arrested. But the truth of Muzaffarnagar riots must come out. We are all for it. Just because a government is out to get us doesn't make us guilty. Facts are facts. This government must reveal everything."
Ten teams out to arrest UP politicians
On Wednesday, the Muzaffarnagar chief judicial magistrate had issued non-bailable warrants against 16 UP politicians and community leaders for allegedly inciting violence through inflammatory speeches.
At least 48 people were killed and nearly 50,000 displaced from their homes in violence that engulfed the district and adjoining areas.
Communal violence had flared up in Muzaffarnagar after two brothers allegedly killed a man from another community who was stalking their sister at Kawaal village of the district on August 27. In a swift reprisal, the two brothers were also killed.
Ten police teams have been tasked to arrest those against whom warrants have been issued, a senior official said.
These include BSP MP Qadir Rana, BJP MLAs Sangeet Som and Bhartendu Singh, BSP MLAs Noor Saleem and Maulana Jameel, Congress leader Saeeduzaman and BKU chief Naresh Tikait among others, the police said.
The politicians and the community leaders are wanted for violating prohibitory orders and provoking communal tension by inflammatory speeches in different meetings (mahapanchayats) in the district.
BJP MLA Suresh Rana arrested
Qadir Rana had called a meeting at Khalapar on August 30 to lodge protest against the incident. However, the meeting turned volatile after inflammatory speeches were delivered there.
Subsequently, on August 31 the BJP leaders led by MLA Hukum Singh called a condolence meeting at Kawaal seeking justice for the killing of the two brothers.
Inflammatory speeches were delivered there as well following which the police registered an FIR against Hukum Singh and three other BJP MLAs Suresh Rana, Bhartendu Singh and BJP's Sangeet Singh Som.
With inputs from agencies