Noida, July 9: Absconding farmer leader Manvir Singh Tevatia, who led the agitation by peasants in Bhatta-Parsaul villages in May, was today arrested by Uttar Pradesh police from Delhi.
Tevatia was caught in the national capital after being chased by the police for over two kms following a tip-off, Gautam Buddha Nagar district SSP Jyoti Narayan told reporters. The farmer leader was staying in a house at Hauz Khas in south Delhi, he said.
“Police teams followed Tevatia as he came out of C-31 Hauz Khas in a car. One woman and a care taker of the house was with him in the car. As he realised that he was being followed, he alighted from the car near a traffic signal and ran. But the police teams chased him for more than two km and arrested him,” the SSP said.
He has been booked for murder and kidnapping and other sections of the IPC, the official said.
“For the last six months he was instigating farmers and kidnappng officials and resorting to violence. Several cases were registered against him,” he said.
The house in south Delhi where Tevatia was hiding is owned by one Romesh Sharma, he said adding it is being ascertained if the house belonged to a politician. Tevatia is being interrogated regarding the arms allegedly used by him and his men for firing at the police team and the District Magistrate during the Bhatta-Parsaul agitation, he said.
Further details about where he had taken shelter are also being taken from him, the SSP said.
However, the official refused to divulge further details saying a clearer picture will emerge late tonight.
Tevatia spearheaded the peasants' stir in Bhatta-Parsaul villages of Noida against the state government's land acquisition policies and had been absconding since May 7. Four persons including two policemen were killed during the agitation.
The state government had announced a reward of Rs 50,000 for Tewatia's arrest.
Criticising the arrest of Tevatia, opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh said there is a threat to his life as he has refused to bow to the “dictates of Uttar Pradesh government”.
“The arrest of the leader of farmers of Bhatta Parsaul, Tevatia, is an attempt to gag the farmers' movement and now there is also a threat to his life,” Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said in Lucknow.
Claiming that Tevatia had only a day ago revealed that he was being offered a hefty sum and a ministerial post for not going ahead with his agitation over land acquisition and other farmers' issues, Chaudhary alleged that there was an officer of the Chief Minister's Office behind the offer.
UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi said Tevatia's arrest is unconstitutional and he faced a threat to his life. “If anything happens to him, Uttar Pradesh government would be fully responsible,” she said.
Terming the arrest as unfortunate, BJP spokesman Vijay Pathak said it was similar to the UPA government's action against yoga guru Ramdev.
“The day Tevatia refused to listen to the BSP, he became a criminal while earlier its ministers were in contact with him,” Pathak said adding something similar had happened with Ramdev. PTI