A day after the political drama outside the Uttar Pradesh Assembly and the Bharatiya Janata Party office, the police on Thursday said the arrest of BJP MLAs Sangeet Singh Som and Bhartendu Singh, against whom non-bailable warrants were issued by a Muzaffarnagar court, has been put on hold till Friday, when the short monsoon session of the Vidhan Sabha ends.
“Arresting the MLAs from the Assembly premises was deliberately avoided and for administrative reasons, we decided to put their arrest on hold,” IG (Law and Order) R.K. Vishwakarma said adding that under the Vidhan Sabha rules, the Speaker had to be informed about the arrest of a sitting MLA when session is on.
“Since the court has issued non-bailable warrants against the MLAs, they will ultimately be booked,” Mr. Vishwakarma said.
On Wednesday, the presence of a huge police force outside the Assembly and near the BJP State headquarters seemed to suggest that the arrest of Mr. Som, MLA from Sardhana in Meerut district, was on the cards. The other legislator, Bijnor MLA Bhartendu Singh, was not present in the House. A police team form Muzaffarnagar, armed with arrest warrants, was also present. But, the arrest was not to be as BJP MLAs, led by Uma Bharti, were allowed to enter the party office. The legislators were not arrested, Mr. Vishwakarma said, as “it was decided jointly to put on hold the MLAs’ arrest.”
Mr. Som was not present in the Assembly on Thursday as was Mr. Singh. Mr. Som’s whereabouts are unknown.
Before the session started on Monday, the police were reported to have conducted raids in Meerut to arrest Mr. Som, but to no avail. Last week, a police team from Muzaffarnagar went to Dehradun to arrest Mr. Singh, but returned empty-handed as it did not have the arrest warrant.
Mr. Som and Mr. Singh are among 40 persons, including several other politicians and “khap panchayat” leaders, named in the FIR lodged by the police in connection with the Jat “mahapanchayat” in Muzaffarnagar on September 7.
Mr. Som has also been named in the FIR filed on August 29 related to a fake video on the Kawal incident of August 27 that sparked the riots.