'BKU leader Tikait's arrest inevitable'

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BKU leader Mahendra Singh Tikait
Lucknow, Apr 1: An uneasy calm prevailed in Sisauli village today with the police personnel deputed to arrest BKU leader Mahendra Singh Tikait exercising caution following yesterday's violence in which BKU members attacked a police party. ''An uneasy calm is prevailing in Sisauli village...police is working with patience on the issue of Tikait's arrest to avert any violence,'' official sources told the sources. At least 12 people, including policemen, were wounded in violence yesterday after BKU members attacked the police party which had gone to arrest Tikait. An FIR has been lodged against Tikait for using objectionable language against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati. Tikait's native village Sisauli in Muzaffarnagar district has been witnesing tension since the last two days.

The BKU leader has been booked under the provisions of the SC and ST Act and charged with using objectionable language against Ms Mayawati at a rally at Bijnore on March 30. While the BKU has announced a grand Kisan Mahapanchayat on April 8, the state government is determined to get Tikait arrested. The police yesterday arrested eight people, including Tikait's son Surendra. Sisauli village has been surrounded by police and PAC personnel with senior officers of IG and DIG rank personally supervising the operation to arrest the BKU leader. Earlier, talking to the sources, the Inspector General of Police (Meerut Zone) V K Gupta had confirmed use of mild force and tear gas against the protesting BKU members.

The prime opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) has also come out in open support of BKU leader, condemning attempts to present him by the Mayawati government.

SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and state acting President Shivpal Singh Yadav had yesterday defended Tikait. ''Whatever Tikait said was harmless remark and his statement was construed as objectionable due to the tone of his rural dialect,''Mr Shivpal Singh Yadav said.

He said the state administration had converted Sisauli, the native village of Tikait, into a fortress and its action was ''uncalled for''.

''The BKU leader has not said anything in the manner being projected by the government, which had unleased unnecessary terror among the villagers and poor farmers,'' he had said.

Principal Secretary (Home), UP, J N Chamber had yesterday said ''police is trying hard to arrest him and it has already obtained the arrest warrant from court.'' Putting aside reports of a compromise formula being worked out on the arrest issue following violence, he had said, ''Tikait has committed a crime and will be arrested for the same.'' The SP is the second major political party after the Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal(RLD) to came out in support of the BKU leader.

Apna Dal's national President Dr Sone Lal Patel had also condemned the UP government's action against farmers and announced to stage a dharna in protest.

UNI

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