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Farmer leader Tikait arrested

The BKU leader was accused of making derogatory casteist remarks against UP Chief Minister Myawati in a rally in Bijnore on Sunday.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Muzaffarnagar
UPDATED ON APR 02, 2008 02:41 PM IST

BKU leader Mahendra Singh Tikait was on Wednesday arrested after he surrendered before the police for his alleged casteist remarks against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati ending three days of tension.

"Yes, absolutely," Gurdarshan Singh, UP IG (Railways) told newspersons shortly after the 73-year-old farmers' leader came in a cavalcade of cars from his Sisoli village this morning after negotiating a peaceful surrender.

"He (Tikait) is with us. I am thankful to kisan leaders and everyone present for cooperating with us in a peaceful and constitutional manner. We will take him to Bijnore court," Singh said outside the residence of the Jat leader's son.

Tikait, whom the police wanted for allegedly making casteist remarks in a public meeting on Sunday, took the decision to surrender after a meeting of the Panchayat leaders this morning and night-long negotiations with the district administration to avoid a forcible arrest.

Police and his supporters had clashed on Monday after the administration tried to arrest him. Tension mounted on Tuesday when around 10,000 policemen were rushed to Sisauli for his arrest and hundreds of his supporters cordoned off the area setting the stage for a showdown.

Indicating an end to the standoff between him and the district authorities for the last three days, Tikait said his utterances against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati were "a mistake".

"She (Mayawati) is like my daughter," he said.

"I consider this (alleged castiest remarks against Mayawati) a mistake... It was a slip of the tongue. It is human to commit a mistake and I am ready to withdraw the comments," he told reporters here after arriving from Sisauli village, the BKU headquarters.

The farmers' leader, who reached his son Rakesh's house in the George Colony area, said he was complying with the decision of the Mahapanchayat that he should give up before the authorities.

"I was always willing to get arrested but the public resented it and hence I complied with their sentiments," he claimed.

On the moves of the state government, he said "all this happens... And someone who cannot face this will feel pressure. I have a lot of endurance."

Tikait also urged the farmers to remain peaceful and get back to their work in their fields.

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