Hundreds gathered at Noida’s Bhangel Sunday morning in support of Shrikant Tyagi, arrested earlier this month for allegedly abusing and pushing a woman at an upscale residential society, and demanded action against officials who acted against Shrikant and his family.
Shrikant had been absconding after an FIR was registered against him, in which sections of the Gangster Act were added, and was arrested by the UP Police two weeks ago. Following the incident, local BJP MP Mahesh Sharma had met residents and assured them of strict action against Tyagi. While the BJP had been countering reports that Tyagi is a leader with the party, a 2018 letter confirmed his affiliation. An FIR had also been registered against 10 persons, who allegedly support Tyagi, for breaking into the society and rioting. Six of them were arrested.
On Sunday, the protest was held from 10 am to 3 pm amid high security in Sector 110. The Tyagi community held a mahapanchayat, marched on roads with the Tricolour, and called others to join them to show solidarity with Shrikant. Some of them raised slogans against local BJP MP Mahesh Sharma and Noida Police for allegedly targeting the Tyagis.
Noida Police said they had deployed more than 500 personnel to maintain law and order. Major routes in the area were blocked temporarily, and personnel were deployed at every intersection, they said.
The protesters said they are angry and upset with the BJP and the UP Police for “blindly” taking action against Shrikant. Mukesh Tyagi and his friend Amrish from Shamli, UP, said, “We have always supported the BJP, but I will not tolerate this injustice. The sections in the FIR against Shrikant are unnecessary. His wife was tortured by police… A poor woman (Shrikant’s wife) was questioned for hours, power supply at her house was cut off. Is this justice?”
Noida Police have called these allegations baseless.
Manish Tyagi, a resident of Saharanpur, added: “If they don’t support us now, we will show them who we are in 2024. How can police take action against Shrikant without complete investigation? Shrikant Tyagi is not a gangster. He should be punished for what he did, but he doesn’t deserve all the hatred and stringent punishment. The BJP needs to step up and help us.”
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At a Ramleela ground, a few religious persons set up a stage and gave speeches about Tyagi and his family. They said they won’t stop protesting until the police remove ‘strict sections’ from the FIRs against Shrikant.
Sunny Tyagi, a student from Muzaffarnagar who came with his friends, said, “Our only aim is the removal of the Gangster Act from the FIR, and that Tyagi should be freed. His wife was humiliated, and his family is in fear because of the government. We want police to take back everything and conduct a clean investigation.”
His friend Naresh said, “We will keep protesting and won’t stop. Our next step will be to conduct a mahapanchayat at Meerut and then Sansad Gherao. Shrikant Tyagi is innocent…”