Muzaffarnagar, Sept 20: In the first 'political' arrest since the communal clashes broke out in Muzaffarnagar district of western Uttar Pradesh, the UP police on Friday arrested the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Suresh Rana on charges of making provocative speeches to cause riots.
According to reports, Rana was arrested from Samta Mulak Samaj Chowk near Gomtinagar, Lucknow after he left the BJP office at around 5pm. Rana had been attending the Uttar Pradesh Assembly session for the last few days.
Uttar Pradesh Police Inspector General (Law And Order) Rajkumar Vishwakarma confirmed Rana's arrest by saying that he was arrested when he was on his way from the BJP office to Gomati Nagar area of Lucknow in a car.
A legislator from Thana Bhawan in Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Rana has been booked under the Indian Penal Code and section 7 of the Criminal Amendment Act, which is a non-bailable offence, the police official said.
He said that a case has been lodged against Rana under sections 188 (knowingly disobeying orders to maintain public order), 153 A (promoting enmity between groups on the basis of religion) 353 (provoking with intent to cause riots) and 435 (damage to property) of IPC and criminal law amendment act, which is non-bailable.
Rana is accused of making inflammatory speeches in connection with riot-hit Muzaffarnagar.
As news of Rana's arrest spread, several of his supporters reached the Gomtinagar police station and tried to prevent police from taking him away to an undisclosed destination.
Another BJP MLA Sangeet Som is accused of circulating a fake video, that reportedly triggered the clashes between the two communities. Som, who had challenged the Uttar Pradesh Police to arrest him, has reportedly gone underground.
A local court on Wednesday had issued arrest warrants against a BSP MP, BJP and BSP MLAs, besides several politicians and senior community leaders for allegedly inciting violence through hate speeches.
The arrest warrants were issued against 16 politicians and community leaders including 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.
The communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas claimed 47 lives and displaced over 40,000 people.