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  4. OPINION | How timely action by Yogi brought a small-time politician to his knees

OPINION | How timely action by Yogi brought a small-time politician to his knees

The controversy began with the surfacing of a video on social media in which the woman complainant was pushed by Tyagi, as the two argued over the planting of palm trees by Tyagi in the common area.

Rajat Sharma Written By: Rajat Sharma @RajatSharmaLive New Delhi Published on: August 09, 2022 16:11 IST
OPINION | How timely action by Yogi brought a small-time
Image Source : INDIA TV OPINION | How timely action by Yogi brought a small-time politician to his knees

The arrest of a small-time politician from Noida, Shrikant Tyagi by a special task force of UP Police from Meerut after a nationwide outrage, shows the clout that people with money, political and muscle power wield in almost every city of India. Six policemen, including the SHO of the local police station, were suspended for dereliction of duty, after a video of Tyagi abusing and manhandling a female resident became viral on social media, and Noida police along with Noida Authority swung into action.

 
Tyagi had been absconding since August 5, after police filed a molestation case against him. He was booked under Section 354 (outraging modesty of woman and assault), and on Saturday, more sections were added to the FIR by police. Section 447 (criminal trespass), section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), section 504 (intentional insult with intent to breach peace) and section 506 (criminal intimidation) were added to the FIR.
 
Noida police said, they have booked ten persons and have so far arrested six of Tyagi’s supporters, who entered the housing society on Sunday evening, and created a ruckus by threatening the lady whom Tyagi had manhandled. Those arrested have been identified as Nitin Tyagi, Lokendra Tyagi, Rahul Tyagi, Churchill Rana, Prince Tyagi and Ravi Pandit, all residents of Ghaziabad.
 
On Monday, bulldozers were used by Noida Authority to raze the illegal constructions made by him in a residential society, after UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath ordered strict action against Tyagi and sought a report from the state home department. Proceedings have been initiated against Tyagi under Gangsters Act and a reward of Rs 25,000 was announced for information about his whereabouts, but on Tuesday morning he was nabbed from Shraddhapuri near Kankarkheda in Meerut, along with his three aides.
 
Police said, during the four days when he was underground, Tyagi fled from Noida to Haridwar, Rishikesh, Saharanpur and Meerut, before he was nabbed. His wife, Anu Tyagi, who was being questioned by Noida police, was released after the report came about his arrest.
 
The controversy began with the surfacing of a video on social media in which the woman complainant was pushed by Tyagi, as the two argued over planting of palm trees by Tyagi in the common area. Tyagi showered abuse at the woman and her husband and pushed her aside. Tyagi owns the ground floor apartment, but he had encroached a large area outside by making extensions and additions to his flat. He had occupied a portion of the park outside by planting trees, and when other residents objected, he and his supporters intimidated the residents.
 
Who is Shrikant Tyagi? His family had ancestral land in the Bhangel area of Noida, and when Noida Authority acquired most of his land, his family made a fortune. They built a row of more than 80 shops and earned rent from them. The family also owned several properties from the maternal side in Sihani Gate, Ghaziabad, where they built shops and rented them out. After his uncle became old, Shrikant Tyagi took control of the business in Bhangel, opened an office, hired bouncers and started taking interest in politics.
 
He first joined Bahujan Samaj Party and got close to BSP leader Swami Prasad Maurya. When Maurya left BSP to join BJP, Tyagi followed suit and proclaimed himself as a leader of BJP Kisan Morcha, though the Morcha on Monday denied any such affiliation. With the help of his political contacts, Tyagi got gunners from state police, and at one point in time, he had seven gunners with him and his wife.
 
Tyagi frequently visited Lucknow, hobnobbed with state-level politicians, got videos and pictures made with top politicians, and showed his clout in the residential society. Noida MP Dr Mahesh Sharma and Noida MLA Pankaj Singh denied that they had any links with Shrikant Tyagi. Dr Mahesh Sharma, who visited the residential society, assured residents that strong action would be taken against Tyagi for his acts.  
 
Earlier, Tyagi took a bungalow in Noida Sector 92 on rent, but the residents opposed it when he started to flaunt his clout in public. He had brought private security personnel, put a metal detector, and carried out security checks on every person entering the society. He moved with a fleet of cars, and this caused problems for other residents who found it difficult for parking their vehicles.
 
Tyagi vacated the rented bungalow four months ago, and moved to Omaxe Grande residential complex, where he bought a ground floor apartment. He soon started illegal encroachments both on the ground floor and also broke a wall, to build a personal staircase from his apartment to the basement meant for car parking. This was in clear violation of the guidelines for society residents. Tyagi used to park four to five vehicles in the parking area, though only one or two vehicles were allowed for parking to each resident. Whenever other residents objected, he used his clout to intimidate them.  After the illegal constructions were razed on Monday, residents of the society heaved a sigh of relief.
 
Tyagi’s modus operandi was to project himself as a popular BJP leader in Noida. He used to post pictures and videos with top BJP leaders on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There were videos of him moving with a fleet of cars, surrounded by security personnel. Flouting Supreme Court order, his vehicle used a hooter, whenever he moved around.  Society residents had complained about illegal constructions made by Tyagi three years ago. On October 5, 2019, society residents sent a letter to SSP, Noida, after which notice was sent to Tyagi. A notice was pasted outside his apartment, but he continued with his encroachments.
 
Noida Police said, there are nine cases filed against Tyagi already. Out of them, eight cases relate to Noida Phase 2 police station, while one case has been filed in Sector 39 police station. Charges of hooliganism and fraud were made in most of these cases.
 
Shrikant Tyagi is a symbol of the typically vile, self-styled, small-time politician, not only in UP but in most of the states of India. Such small-time functionaries survive by cultivating closeness to any top politician. They help in arranging crowds for politicians during elections, arm-twist businessmen and traders by collecting money in the name of political parties, and use political patronage to intimidate the general public.
 
Normally, law-abiding citizens prefer to stay away from these musclemen and refrain from filing complaints when they intimidate them. Common citizens know that the local police will show reluctance in filing FIRs because more often than not, policemen have been found hobnobbing with them. Even policemen avoid taking action out of fear of political backlash. As a result, such street-type musclemen gain legitimacy and they get the courage to commit illegal acts, like encroachments, land grabbing, molestation, kidnapping, extortion and violence.
 
I can say, with full confidence, that in the last five years, the situation has changed for the better in UP. The clout of such small-time politicians has been effectively eroded to a large extent. The role of media and government is vital in such a situation. Shrikant Tyagi’s case is one example. When the societal residents complained of intimidation, Noida police took immediate action and assured them that such musclemen cannot have their way. Bulldozers were brought to raze their illegal constructions. By taking such actions, the message has gone across that musclemen will no more get political protection, come what may. However, it may take some more time for the malaise to end in our society.

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