Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Sangeet Singh Som and the Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Noor Saleem Rana were arrested on Saturday for their alleged role in fanning communal violence in Muzaffarnagar.
Mr. Som is an MLA from Sardhana in Meerut district and Mr. Rana from Purkazi in Muzaffarnagar district.
Their arrest comes a day after the BJP MLA from Thana Bhavan, Suresh Rana, was arrested in Lucknow. Mr. Rana, who was taken on a 20-hour transit remand to Muzaffarnagar, was sent to 14 days judicial custody by a court on Saturday. The court had earlier rejected his interim bail application.
“While Mr. Som was arrested from Salava village under the Sardhana police station area in Meerut at 12.15 p.m., Mr. Noor Saleem Rana was arrested in Muzaffarnagar,” IG (Law and Order ) R.K. Vishwakarma told reporters.
Mr. Som was sent to 14 days’ judicial custody by a Muzaffarnagar court for his alleged involvement in uploading a fake video on the Internet in the wake of the Kawal village incident on August 27, which led to the communal violence in Muzaffarnagar district.
Mr. Som has also been booked for allegedly delivering an inflammatory speech at the Jat mahapanchayat in Muzaffarnagar on September 7. Forty persons have been named in the FIR lodged by the police in connection with the mahapanchayat.
Non-bailable warrants were issued by a Muzaffarnagar court against 16 persons earlier this week. Among them are three BJP MLAs Sangeet Singh Som, Suresh Rana and Kunwar Bhartendu Singh; two BSP MLAs Noor Saleem Rana and Jameel Ahmed; the BSP MP from Muzaffarnagar, Qadir Rana; Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leaders Naresh Tikait and Rakesh Tikait and the former Congress Minister, Saeeduzaman.
The BJP has called for a bandh in western Uttar Pradesh on Sunday to protest the “one-sided action” taken against its MLAs by the Samajwadi Party government.
Rakesh Tikait denies charge
Gargi Parsai reports from New Delhi:
BKU leader Rakesh Tikait, against whom a warrant has been issued for his alleged inflammatory speech on September 7, says he did not convene any mahapanchayat. I attended a panchayat called by another group that day and made no provocative speech. Let them see the CD. And now I am told that I have been named in an FIR. I am not guilty but if they feel I should surrender, I will, along with the others,” he said at a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday.
Seeking a high-level inquiry into the clashes in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli that left more than 45 people dead, he said the district officials had no power to act and stop the violence. “Authorities should first find out who were responsible for the incidents of August 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31 [The clashes first broke out in Kawal area on August 27] and then come to September 7. Why is the administration starting from the wrong end? The government is under pressure to arrest people but it should look at facts without bias. The local administration was just not allowed to function.”
Mr. Tikait said his first priority was to bring peace to the riot-affected districts.
He has already set up committees of people from both communities to safeguard their villages and instil confidence in residents. He successfully persuaded Muslim families from his ancestral Sisauli village from migrating to relief camps.