A woman was manhandled by Shrikant Tyagi who hails from a well-off family with a strong base in the political corridors.
New Delhi: “Caste system is deep-rooted menace in our society and we could not get out of the menace even after 75 years of Independence,” the Allahabad High Court had observed while hearing a case in January this year. The court’s remark was not merely for one particular case but for a society as whole where we boast to be educated while live our lives in double standards.
The court believed that it is the moral duty of those who are well-off to rise above and get out of the social evil of caste system but we still have examples in our surrounding where people do not want to come out of the casteist mindset. The recent incident of abusing and misbehaving a woman by self-proclaimed politician Shrikant Tyagi in one of Noida’s upscale societies is an eye opener and makes the court’s observation more relevant.
A woman was manhandled by Tyagi who hails from a well-off family with a strong base in the political corridors. In a viral video, Tyagi could be seen engaging with a woman, abusing her and threatening here of severe consequences. The incident later drew criticism from across the country. Amid growing anger against him, the accused ‘politician’ escaped from under the nose of the law enforcement agencies and avoided arrest for a couple of days.
Much later, after Tyagi’s arrest, although it was a clear case of crime against women, the incident was given a caste twist when Gautam Buddh Nagar MP Mahesh Sharma visited the society to talk to the agitated residents of the society. When Sharma faced the wrath of the society members over Tyagi slipping out of the ambit, he dialled up senior officials of Noida and Lucknow.
However, Tyagi’s supporters, whose numbers kept swelling up outside the society, could not stop themselves from forcibly including a casteist angle to it. They criticised Sharma’s presence, his interaction with the society members, assurance to take action against the offence he had committed and dialling police officials in front of public and the media.
After a long chase, the law enforcement agency finally arrested the accused but the furore over police action did not seem to end here. To make things worse, Tyagi’s supporters took out a rally in support of him even as the self-proclaimed politician said he is ready to apologise to the woman. Tyagi’s supporters alleged a “media trial” and blamed a biased approach by the police. They alleged humiliation of the family members of Shrikant Tyagi despite not being involved in the incident.
The rally reportedly comprised people from Tyagi and Brahmin communities who shouted slogans in favour of the arrested politician. His supporters also raised slogans against local MP Mahesh Sharma for not coming out in support of Shrikant Tyagi. They also demanded a fair trial in the matter.
The protestors claimed that Sharma behaved in a wrong manner as he spoke to the Gautam Buddh Nagar Police Commissioner in an awkward manner in front of the public and the media and demanded action against Mahesh Sharma over his “behaviour”.
Amid allegations of acting against a particular community on social media, MP Mahesh Shrama issued a statement in which he categorically rejected politics of caste and religion. He said that he has never uttered a single word against the Tyagi family and has his sympathies with them.
The MP said that he has always been indebted to the Tyagi community for supporting him throughout his political journey. The area’s MP added that he received a call from Meerut MP Rajendra Aggarwal that the victim is in relation and sought his help. He, as a representative of the area, reached there and found a gathering of thousands of people who were angered over the whole incident.
“Since anger was prevailing in the area, I called the Principal Secretary (Home), Commissioner of Police and Additional DCP regarding the same. Moments later, senior police officials along with local MLA Pankaj Singh reached the society,” Sharma said. The MP said that he is hurt by the allegations against him as some people are trying to tarnish his image with malafide intentions.
Though the MP reiterated that the accused and the victim should not be seen from the angle of caste and community, the developments have already taken a wrong turn. It will be no surprise if yet another rally in the hitech city of Noida is taken out by the people who shamelessly turned a shameful incident into a casteist issue — an escape route undertaken by several politicians of the country when cornered for their ill deeds.
The issue is likely to gain momentum even before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections as the Tyagi and Brahmin communities have always been a strong vote bank for BJP, a party which has been in the area since long.
(The author is the editor of The Theorist)