Muzaffarnagar: Two weeks after the communal riots in Muzafarnagar left almost 50 people dead, the police have started to arrest the political leaders who have been accused of inciting violence. While the government of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has got some opposition leaders arrested after much dilly dallying, it is yet to act against Samajwadi Party leaders.
BJP MLA Sangeet Som was on Saturday arrested and sent to 14 days in jail along with another legislator from his party, Suresh Rana, for making hate speeches that allegedly led to the communal riots.
BSP MLA Noor Salim Rana was also arrested on Saturday. While action is being taken against leaders from other parties, the state government is yet to act against SP leader Rashid Siddiqui who has also been blamed of inciting communal riots.
Rather, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had jumped to the defence of senior Samajwadi Party leader and Urban Development Minister Azam Khan who has been accused of asking the police to go slow on the rioters, saying that Khan had nothing to do with the riots.
BJP MLA Som on Saturday surrendered before the police amidst 10,000 supporters who had gathered at Sardhana where they refused to let him be taken away. The police had to wait to arrest Som while he gave interviews and made a speech before finally jostling his way into his car.
Som denied uploading the fake video which showed two boys being lynched which is said to have triggered the communal violence. He said that he merely shared the video. "Let someone prove that I have uploaded the video. In fact the allegation is that I have shared the video and sharing is no crime. Why don't they show the video and it will get proved if I have given any inflammatory speech," he said.
He also added that he has not been escaping from the police. "I have not been hiding from the law. If the media can find me why can't the police," he said.
The BJP, meanwhile, has maintained that its party leaders are being targeted by the state government. BJP President Rajnath Singh said, "I strongly call for stopping the arrests of innocent BJP leaders. The UP government is trying to frame BJP leaders and mask their own wrong doings."
Rajnath on Saturday also cancelled his trip to the riot-hit Muzaffarnagar following an appeal from the District Magistrate and Akhilesh that his visit could further vitiate the situation in the area.
While BSP leader Noor Salim Rana has been arrested on Saturday there is still no action against his elder brother and MP from Muzaffarnagar Kadir Rana who has been caught on tape making a hate speech that fanned tensions. It is not just Rana but there are 13 other political leaders against whom non-bailable warrants have been issued but any action from the police awaits.