Muzaffarnagar riots: BSP, BJP MLAs arrested
The UP police arrested BJP MLAs Sangeet Som, Hukum Singh and BSP MLA Noor Salim Rana today even as Rajnath Singh’s scheduled visit to the riot-hit Muzaffarnagar was called off after the district administration advised him to cancel his trip. HT reports.lucknow Updated: Sep 21, 2013 21:01 IST
The Uttar Pradesh police arrested Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Sangeet Som and BSP MLA Noor Salim Rana on Saturday even as Rajnath Singh’s scheduled visit to the riot-hit Muzaffarnagar was called off after the district administration advised him to cancel his visit.
Som is accused of uploading a fake video that played a role in provoking communal tension in Muzaffarnagar and making inflammatory speeches.
SSP Deepak Kumar said that the BJP MLA was arrested from Salava village in his constituency Sardhana amid slogan-shouting by his supporters.
Though police said they had arrested Som, the supporters of the legislator claimed he had surrendered before Sardhana police.
Police has been put on alert in the town to deal with possible protests by BJP supporters.
Hukum Singh was arrested in Ghaziabad.
Arrested BJP MLA Suresh Rana was on Saturday remanded to 14 days judicial custody by a local court in Muzaffarnagar which also rejected his interim bail plea.
Rana was produced in the court of Additional Judicial Magistrate Sunder Lal this morning.
The court, while rejecting his interim bail application, fixed September 24 as the next date for hearing on permanent bail application.
"I raised my voice against government that is why they arrested me. I won't be deterred by this arrest. I would get arrested thousand times for the safety and security of women," Rana told reporters soon after his bail application was rejected.
In another development, Rajnath Singh, officials said, had been requested by Muzaffarnagar district magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma not to come to the city.
In a fax letter sent to the BJP president's office, the DM urged him not to pay a visit to the area as it could disturb calm and peace that is prevailing in the area after a string of violent clashes and incidents since Sep 7.
Officials said Singh was to start from his Ashoka road residence in New Delhi for Muzaffarnagar but later put off his visit in view of the tension after the arrest of BJP legislator Suresh Rana Friday.
Later, Singh said, "it's unfortunate that my visit was not allowed by the district administration."
"There is emergency like situation in Muzaffarnagar, arrests of innocents must stop," he said.
"While we continue to maintain that the state government had completely failed to protect the citizens in the area, the BJP president did not want to take the blame of any untoward incident that might follow," a close aide said.
Earlier, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had also called off his visit to Muzaffarnagar Friday owing to the "continued tension in the region".
A court in Muzaffarnagar had on Wednesday issued arrest warrants against 16 politicians and community leaders including Som, BSP MP Qadir Rana, BJP MLA Bhartendu Singh, BSP MLAs Noor Saleem and Maulana Jameel, Congress leader Saeeduzaman and BKU chief Naresh Tikait.
They are wanted for violating prohibitory orders and provoking communal tension by inflammatory speeches in different meetings (mahapanchayats) in the district, police said.
Som has been accused of allegedly uploading a fake video that provoked communal riots in Muzaffarnagar.
The communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas claimed 47 lives and displaced over 40,000 people.
The BJP has lashed out at the Samajwadi Party government alleging that its workers were being targeted and implicated in cases "without evidence".
The party also called for a bandh in western UP districts on Sunday.
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.
About 15 other politicians from various parties have been slapped with similar charges, including BJP MLAs Sangeet Som, Hukum Singh and Bhartendu Singh.
Communal violence engulfed Muzaffarnagar, about 125 km from Delhi, in which 48 people were killed and at least 50,000 people were displaced.
Speculation was rife that the riots were an attempt to polarise communities ahead of the 2014 general elections.
(With inputs from Agencies)