Supporters of Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Mahender Singh Tikait clashed with the police and Rapid Action Force personnel for over 18 hours at his village Sisauli on Sunday. The police had come to arrest Tikait for allegedly making derogatory remarks against UP Chief Minister Mayawati.
Around 25 policemen and at least two farmers were injured. Nine persons, including Tikait's younger son Surendra, have been arrested and a case of rioting registered against them.
The UP government has condemned Tikait's comments against Mayawati and said stern action will be taken against him.
Tikait is reported to have made casteist remarks against Mayawati at a rally in Bijnore on Sunday. A case was registered under SC/ST Act against the veteran leader in Bijnore Kotwali. The police organised a dragnet between Jansath and Sikhera area of Muzaffarnagar to arrest him. But Tikait gave them the slip and reached Sisauli where he addressed a meeting of farmers.
Bijnore SSP Gyan Singh reached Muzaffarnagar with a 300-strong police team and prepared a strategy with Muzaffarnagar SSP Ajay Anand to arrest Tikait. The Bijnore SSP asked Tikait to surrender, but he refused. Provincial Armed Constabulary and RAF companies were summoned to Sisauli. The forces then entered Sisauli to arrest Tikait but faced stiff resistance from villagers. Villagers pelted stones at the security forces, who lobbed teargas shells in retaliation. After a protracted showdown, villagers managed to push the forces out of the village.
Later on Monday, BKU activists and villagers formed a protective ring around the leader.
Additional Director General of Police (law and order) Brij Lal said senior police officers were camping at the site and making attempts to arrest Tikait.
Tikait's son Rakesh accused the police of opening fire on unarmed villagers. But Meerut IG VK Gupta denied Rakesh's charge. “Teargas was used to disperse the mob,” he said. “We could have arrested Tikait but we restrained ourselves, sensing lives may be lost in the ensuing violence,” said the IG.
Rakesh said SP leader Mulayam Singh and the BJP's Rajnath Singh have assured them full support in the fight against Mayawati.