Tyagi literally means “renouncer”. And if the claims of Tyagi protesters sitting on an indefinite dharna at Meerut’s Commissionary Park since August 25 are to be believed, the community members from west UP are ready to renounce their association with the ruling BJP over “excessive force and police high-handedness” against jailed politician Shrikant Tyagi and his family.
Shrikant Tyagi has been in judicial custody for more than a month after he was arrested by the Noida police for allegedly abusing and assaulting a woman resident at their housing society in Noida’s Sector 93B over an argument about encroachment in its common area. The incident had triggered public outrage as its videos had gone viral. Shrikant was booked by the police under various IPC sections and the UP Gangster Act. While Shrikant claimed that he was affiliated to the BJP, the saffron party sought to distance itself from him.
“We have been voting in favour of the BJP since the party was catapulted to power in Uttar Pradesh on the Ram Temple issue in 1991. But the party never cared for our community and the recent mishandling of the Shrikant Tyagi case has sealed our political choice, which would be now for any outfit that can defeat the lotus party. You will see the results of our apathy in the 2024 general elections,” said Mangeram Tyagi, the president of the Tyagi Samaj Sangarsh Samiti, under whose aegis a number of protesters have been continuing their dharna in a bid to seek “justice for Tyagi family”.
A protester at the dharna site, Gyaneshwar Tyagi, said, “Though we are not saying that Shrikant Tyagi’s behaviour with the woman at Noida’s Grand Omaxe society was justified. He should have not misbehaved with the woman like he did. But what was the crime of his wife, Anu Tyagi, and his maternal aunt, Igla Tyagi, who were illegally kept in police custody for four days. The police took the two women to eight districts during their illegal detention (during their manhunt for Shrikant). We want that an FIR be registered against the cops who misbehaved with the two women who have no criminal records.”
Tyagis claim themselves to be Brahmins and descendants of the warriors chosen by Lord Parshuram to “wage a war against Kshatriyas as they were abusing their power”. They have a seizable presence, nearly 2-2.5 lakh, in almost each town of the west UP, from Noida and Ghaziabad to Saharanpur. They generally own large tracts of agricultural land and wield money and muscle power in their belts.
“Lord Parshuram had waged a war eons back but the principles for which he fought that time remain the same during the BJP regime. Here too we have a government in the state and at the Centre which is drunk on power. And now onus is on us to fight for betterment of the society,” said Kuldeep Tyagi, another protester.
Although their agitation has failed to make a larger impact, which becomes amply clear during a visit to the site of their protest where the policemen outnumber the Tyagi protesters, but the principal Opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) has sensed a political opportunity in a bid to capitalise on their “anger” against the BJP dispensation.
A nine-member SP delegation, led by party MLA from Meerut’s Kithore Shahid Manzoor, visited Shrikant’s house Friday to meet his wife Anu Tyagi, who also participated in the Meerut stir for consecutive three days to “highlight police oppression against her husband and their family”.
The SP’s Meerut unit chief, Rajpal Singh, said, “The Samajwadi Party had always been fighting to ensure relief to the oppressed people and the community. The Tyagi family has suffered a lot since the police booked Shrikant under the Gangster Act. We will not let the issue die down as it will be effectively raised in the state Assembly and at every possible fora so that the dictatorship of the Yogi government could be highlighted. Our party’s stand to support the Tyagi family at the time of their crisis is not governed by any political motivation but we are doing it on humanitarian ground.”
A Ghaziabad resident present at the Meerut protest site Saturday, Naveen Tyagi, said, “We have decided to form committees at the village level through which we will communicate with the people and make them aware of the blatant misuse of the police force at behest of ruling party leaders. The Noida administration had served notice to nearly 300 residents in and around Omaxe Society for encroachment. Why then was Shrikant singled out?”
He also went on to ask, “If Tyagi is facing police action for misbehaving with a woman, why then action was not taken against BJP MP Mahesh Sharma who publicly humiliated an administrative official (police commissioner Alok Singh) in Noida?”