Lucknow, Sept. 18: Police had come prepared. But Uma Bharti had done her homework better.
A sea of BJP supporters, marshalled by the veteran, formed a human wall around three party legislators accused of inciting the Muzaffarnagar violence as they emerged from the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, before Uma spirited them away, foiling the administration’s bid to arrest the trio.
Sources said Uma, who held a meeting with the BJP MLAs inside the House, was the brain behind the afternoon getaway.
The team of 150 policemen had waited an hour and a half outside the Assembly since 4pm for Sangeet Som, legislator from Sardhana, Bhartendu Singh, MLA from Muzaffarnagar, and Hukum Singh, MLA from Meerut, against whom warrants had been issued in connection with the recent violence.
Media teams had lined up cameras in front of the House to beam the expected arrests live.
By 5pm, hundreds of BJP supporters had started gathering in front of the BJP office across the road.
As the three legislators stepped out of the House at 5.30, the BJP supporters moved in, creating a wall around them as they headed towards the party office. After they reached the office, the three boarded a car with Uma and sped off before the police could catch up.
Sources said Uma held a meeting of BJP legislators inside the Assembly after news trickled into the Assembly that the police were ready to arrest the three MLAs.
Earlier, Som, who kept meeting mediapersons inside the Assembly, exuded bravado, daring the police to arrest him. “I am here, ready for the arrest. Let them arrest me,” he said.
Apart from allegations of making provocative speeches, Som is alleged to have uploaded a fake video that is said to have fanned passions further.
The police had said Som was one of the key accused in the violence that has claimed 48 lives and displaced over 30,000 people in and around Muzaffarnagar.
“Let them prove that I have done it, the charges are cooked-up,” the MLA said.