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‘Release Shrikant or face your downfall in 2024,’ Tyagis warn BJP at Noida mahapanchayat

While BJP has denied any links with the self-proclaimed politician, Union Minister of state Sanjeev Balyan said 'Tyagi community has always voted for us, we will sit and talk'.

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Noida: “Yogi-Modi murdabad”, “BJP sarkaar murdabad” — slogans against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the Narendra Modi government could be heard blaring from loudspeakers in several parts of Noida Sunday. The demand of the demonstrators? “Tyagi bhai ko riha karo” — the immediate release of Shrikant Tyagi, a self-proclaimed politician, arrested on 9 August.

Tyagi is currently in jail for allegedly assaulting and abusing a woman resident of his society, Grand Omaxe, in Noida, on 5 August. He was arrested from Meerut four days after the incident on charges of molestation, criminal intimidation and cheating after a video of him abusing and pushing the woman went viral.

A ‘mahapanchayat’, or major congregation, of the Tyagi community was organised at the Ramlila Maidan in Sector 110, Noida, in support of Shrikant.

While Shrikant claimed to be a BJP functionary, the party has denied any links with him.

The demonstration at the maidan, which began at around 10 am, kept swelling till the evening with hundreds of Tyagi community members from several parts of western UP arriving to participate.

Hundreds of men congregated with several demands — first, immediate release of Tyagi; second, the revocation of charges on Tyagi under the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986; and, finally, for the Noida police to apologise to Tyagi’s family, who, they said was allegedly tortured by the police after Shrikant’s arrest.

Anger and frustration with the BJP government was palpable on the ground.

Agar Shrikant ko nahi chhoda, toh humaare gaon me BJP ke kisi bhi neta ki entry band (if they don’t release Tyagi, we will prohibit the entry of any BJP politician in our village),” said Ramesh Tyagi, who had come from Hapur, to ThePrint.

According to the 38-year-old, the Tyagis are among the BJP’s biggest vote banks; they would not take any kind of injustice lying down. “Derogatory words used by [Gautam Buddha Nagar MP] Mahesh Sharma for the Tyagi community and him saying that Shrikant has no connection with the BJP is unacceptable,” he said.

Many of the men present at the ground justified Tyagi’s actions against the woman.

Shyamlal Tyagi, a 62-year-old man from Muzaffarnagar told ThePrint, “If anyone killed the plants you grew like a baby, what would you have done? The woman who filed the complaint against Shrikant was destroying his plants. Anyone would be angry. Shrikant abused her and pushed her and I think he was right. He also did not want to, but anger makes you do such things. He did not kill her. Then why is he being treated like a criminal?”

According to Ramesh, while Tyagi should be “punished for abusing and pushing a woman”, he should not be treated under the Gangster Act like Vikas Dubey, he said, referring to the UP gangster charged under the act in 2019. “Our brother Shrikant is no criminal, he is a good man and we want him out immediately, otherwise we will escalate our protest.”

Noticeably, no women were present at the demonstration.

Also read: Shrikant Tyagi isn’t alone. List of complaints against Noida bahubalis is long

Show of strength

No stone was left unturned by the Tyagis to display their strength. Hundreds of Jeeps, motorcycles, tractors, Fortuners with big banners reading “Tyagi ko riha karo” or “Hum Tyagi hai, hila ke rakh denge” (we are Tyagis, we’ll shake you to your core) were a common sight.

The ones making speeches were not mincing their words while speaking of the BJP.

“We are ready to go to jail but we want our demands met, otherwise the BJP will see its downfall in 2024. No single Tyagi will vote for the BJP. Our sister, Shrikant’s wife Anu Tyagi, and her children were harassed for nothing. We will not take any harassment against our women. Shrikant has apologised for abusing that woman but he cannot be punished so severely for abusing and simply pushing someone,” said Harsh Tyagi, 42, from Ghaziabad.

Meanwhile, Noida was turned into a fortress to keep law and order in check. Several routes going towards sector 110 were closed, policemen and rapid action force (RAF) personnel were seen patrolling the streets, and security was stepped up at the offices of BJP MP Mahesh Sharma, as well as at the Kailash group of hospitals owned by him in Noida, as a precautionary measure.

BJP, though, did try to offer an olive branch. As the demonstration continued, Union Minister of state Sanjeev Balyan told media persons, “Shrikant Tyagi should be punished for whatever he has done, but it is not right that his family faced problems. The Tyagi community has always voted for us, so if there is anything, we will sit and talk with them.”

(Edited by Zinnia Ray Chaudhuri)

Also read: India’s democracy goes beyond the last mall in Noida. Rural feudal rich are feeling the pinch


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