Days after a video of a man, supposedly a political party worker, from Noida harassing and verbally abusing a woman went viral, the Uttar Pradesh government took action by bulldozing an alleged illegal construction outside his apartment in the housing society in Noida on Monday.
The man in question, Shrikant Tyagi, has claimed that he was part of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the video, he was seen assaulting and abusing a woman in Noida's Grand Omaxe society in Sector-93B. The woman had objected to Tyagi planting trees that she said were in violation of society rules.
As the issue made headlines again on Monday with the bulldozer arriving at the Noida housing complex, here's a look at what exactly happened:
UP police books Tyagi
On August 5, Tyagi was booked by the Uttar Pradesh police under Section 354 (assault or use of criminal force on any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code. This was after the video of him threatening the woman resident went viral.
Since the video of the incident and the police booking him, Tyagi has been absconding. He reportedly packed his bags and left the society and hasn't returned since.
The Noida Police have announced a reward of Rs 25,000 for information of his whereabouts. They said they have been trying to catch hold of him and have traced his last location in Uttarakhand between Haridwar and Rishikesh.
Neighbour say he had a history of hooliganism
The residents of the society said that Tyagi was in rage when he was stopped by the woman from planting trees in the common area. They confirmed that Tiyagi hurled expletives and assaulted the woman. In the video, Tyagi could be heard claiming that he was within his rights to do so, and resorted to obscenities while speaking to the society resident.
The residents of the Grand Omaxe society told BOOM that Tyagi was a "hooligan" who routinely lost his temper. He was allegedly often seen misbehaving with the management staff in the society over petty issues. They said that he would use his political clout to intimidate, threaten, and yell at people to fulfill his whims.
A resident, on the condition of anonymity, said, "This was not the first time he misbehaved with a woman. He has been using the same tactic with all the supervisors and guards in the society and by these tactics, he was getting his demands met. Like he used to let his visitors' cars into the society which was not allowed. Last year, he even beat up a security guard for some petty issue."
Recently, Tyagi had organised a tea party in the common area and put up a tent without permission. The resident said that no one dared to challenge him for not booking the designated club the society has for such events.
The resident added even the senior members of the management body did not dare to confront him because they were scared of how he would react. Tyagi would also not pay his dues such as maintenance fees in time.
Another video showed a woman from the society saying he wouldn't stop to even harass women. "Shrikant Tyagi lives on the ground floor in this society. He was encroaching upon the plants here and I asked him to remove the plants. At this, he said, 'If you touch the plants then I will touch you.' He abused me a lot and abused my husband and my child," she is heard saying.
Soon after the incident that was captured in the viral video, women residents of the society protested against Tyagi. They demanded an apology from the accused. Chief of the Delhi Commission for Women Swati Maliwal also condemned the incident and tweeted saying that she had spoken to the UP Police to ensure an FIR has been filed against the accused.
"When that woman asked the gardeners to remove the saplings, they didn't dare to out of fear. The residents came forward and they pulled out the saplings. He was using the area for his personal use only," said a woman neighbour.
According to many residents in the society, he had built an illegal door in his basement which was also against the rules of the society. On Monday, bulldozers demolished a roof-like extension outside Tyagi's residence. Authorities also destroy allegedly illegal constructions at the housing society made by Tyagi. The residents of the complex cheered and celebrated as the constructions were demolished.
BJP distances itself
A look at Tyagi's Facebook profile reveals that he has met highly placed BJP leaders often. His cover photo is with BJP chief JP Nadda, while his profile photo shows him sharing the stage with Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. He identifies himself on Facebook as a national executive member of the BJP's Kisan Morcha. Also, on his timeline, Tyagi has shared many posters carrying the BJP symbol on them.
However, the BJP said that Tyagi was not part of the party. Member of Parliament Mahesh Sharma, after the viral video, said that he had never seen the accused at any party function and clarified that Tyagi was never a BJP worker.
The residents of the society said that Tyagi used BJP's name and influence to get away with whatever he wanted.
UP police suspend cops, arrest Tyagi's supporters
As the matter heated up, the UP police on Monday suspended six police officials over laxity in connection with the case.
Speaking to BOOM, Additional Director General of UP police (law and order) Prashant Kumar said that the police were taking all efforts to find Tyagi. Kumar said that the in-charge of the local police station has been suspended along with a sub-inspector and four constables for not doing their job. He declined to comment on whether Tyagi had any previous police record against him.
Meanwhile, the Noida police on August 7, arrested six people who were allegedly Tyagi's supporters. They had visited the Omaxe society asking the address of the woman who was assaulted by Tyagi. They allegedly had the intention of threatening her further. However, the residents intervened and called the police. A case of trespassing was lodged against the six people following which they were arrested. They have been arrested under eleven sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). As per media reports, all the arrested men are said to be relatives of Tyagi's wife.
Opposition questions the BJP
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi tweeted a collage of Tyagi's photos with BJP leaders and said, "Did the BJP government not know for so many years that the construction of the Noida BJP leader is illegal? Bulldozer action is for show. The government is avoiding the answers to these questions."
"Who is giving the courage to 10-15 goons to indecently threaten a woman so openly? Who is it that kept saving him? Under whose protection did his hooliganism and illegal business flourish?" she asked.
The Trinamool Congress also chimed in with senior cabinet minister in Mamata Banerjee's government, Dr Shashi Panja, claiming that the BJP did not believe in 'nari shakti' (women empowerment) which they speak of.
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