Muzaffarnagar riots: Arrest warrants against 16 UP leaders

LUCKNOW/NEW DELHI (TIP): A Muzaffarnagar court on September 18 issued non-bailable arrest warrants against a BSP MP, two MLAs each of the BJP and the BSP and 11 other political and community leaders for allegedly inciting communal violence that has claimed 47 lives. The warrants were issued on a day when the Central Government accused the Samajwadi Party-led UP Government of “extreme carelessness” in containing violence and demanded its resignation. No arrests have been made, but the police said action would be taken against the accused in two days. “We have collected some evidence and more evidence is being collected. The guilty will be arrested in two days,” said SSP Muzaffarnagar, Praveen Kumar. BSP’s Muzaffarnagar MP Qadir Rana, BJP MLAs Hukum Singh, Sangeet Som and Bhartendu Singh, BSP MLAs Noor Saleem and Maulana Jameel, Congress leader Saeed-ul-Zaman and BKU chief Naresh Tikait were among the 16 against whom warrants were issued, the police said. They are wanted for violating prohibitory orders and provoking communal tension by making inflammatory speeches at different meetings (mahapanchayats).

As many as 10 police teams have fanned out across the state to arrest those against whom warrants have been issued. In the UP Assembly, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav hit out at the BJP accusing it of vitiating the atmosphere in view of the coming Lok Sabha elections and promised stern action against all those guilty. High drama was witnessed outside the Vidhan Sabha this evening amidst rumours that BJP MLAs — against whom a Muzaffarnagar court had issued warrants — would be arrested when they emerge from the House. The leaders hurriedly left the Assembly complex virtually shielded by a human armor of their MLAs. Shouting anti- SP slogans, BJP MLAs led by Hukum Singh and Uma Bharti crossed the Ashok Marg and found refuge in the heavily guarded BJP state office virtually across the road. Uma Bharti warned the SP government of dire consequences if it dared to arrest BJP MLAs. “First get the charges against them probed. There are charges against Mohd Azam Khan as well. If Hukum Singh and Sangeet Som are arrested, then he (Azam Khan) should also be arrested. Otherwise, all BJP MLAs would court arrest.

The situation may turn ugly for which none but the SP government would be held responsible,” said Bharti. Later, BJP leaders quietly dispersed to their respective Lucknow homes. It is now believed that the arrests would be made after the conclusion of the monsoon session. In New Delhi, Congress spokesperon Meem Afzal said: “The UP Government has failed to contain the situation and has displayed extreme carelessness in containing violence. If they can’t run the government, they must resign immediately.” The Congress’ demand for the Akhilesh Yadav government’s resignation came on the day of mounting evidence that the state political machinery prevented UP cops from taking preemptive action. Amid two new sting CDs that have “caught the cops on camera” accusing some UP ministers (including Azam Khan who has denied his role) of asking them to go soft on rioters of a particular community, the Congress called for a thorough probe to determine the veracity of the policemen’s claims.

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