SAHARANPUR POLICE on Tuesday produced Bheem Army spokesperson Manjeet Singh Nautiyal, who was arrested on Monday from the neighbouring Muzaffarnagar district, before a local court, which sent him to judicial custody. Nautiyal (23) has been booked for six cases related to the violence that occurred in May in Saharanpur following clashes between Thakurs and Dalits.
He also carried a reward of Rs 12,000 on his head. He belongs to Behat area in Saharanpur. “We received a tip-off about Nautiyal visiting Kalyanpur village in Muzaffarnagar to meet someone. Local police laid a trap and arrested him soon after he reached the village. They informed their Saharanpur counterparts and we took him into custody,” said Amardeep Lal, Station House Officer of Kotwali Dehat police station in Saharanpur.
Nautiyal was produced before a local court in Muzaffarnagar and he was brought to Saharanpur on transit remand, added Amardeep. “On Tuesday, he was produced before a Saharanpur court, which sent him to jail. Nautiyal was involved in violence on May 9 in Kotwali Dehat police station area. He was accused of being a part of the mob, which indulged in ransacking and torching of Ram Nagar police outpost,” said Additional Superintendent of Police, City (Saharanpur), Prabal Pratap Singh.
Nautiyal is a close associate of Bheem Army chief Chandrashekhar, who is presently lodged in Lucknow district jail, he added. On Monday, as the news of Nautiyal’s arrest spread, members of Bheem Army reached the collectorate in Saharanpur and staged protest. They demanded to know about the whereabouts of Nautiyal. They also alleged that police got him falsely implicated in cases. The protest ended after City Magistrate, Saharanpur, Rakesh Kumar pacified them.
Violence in Saharanpur began on May 5 when a man from the Thakur community was killed and 25 Dalit homes were set ablaze in clashes after Dalits in the village objected to loud music being played by Thakurs during a procession taken out in honour of Rajput ruler Maharana Pratap. The district remained tense ever since and violence erupted repeatedly. The state government had formed Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the cases of violence.