A BJP lawmaker in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao town held a five-hour long overnight sit-in with his supporters outside a police station, accusing the local policemen of having a "casteist mindset" and linking them with former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party. He refused to call off the protest until senior police officers came to meet him early this morning.
However, the district officials claimed the BJP leader was angry over an eviction drive conducted by the police.
Pankaj Gupta, the MLA from Unnao, about 45 km from state capital Lucknow, arrived at the Sadar police station a little before midnight with his supporters and sat down to protest at the entry of the police station.
Visuals show the lawmaker in a green t-shirt, wearing a mask, sitting along with his supporters. However, the group of men were seen disregarding the government-mandated social distancing norms amid the novel coronavirus pandemic in videos from the site.
In multiple statements to the media during his overnight protest, Mr Gupta insisted his protest was not targeted at the Yogi Adityanath government but the "negligent attitude of the local police force" that he said was "still exhibiting a Samajwadi Party mindset".
Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party ruled the state between 2012 and 2017 before Yogi Adityanath was elected to power.
"Today all limits were crossed. An old woman was assaulted and fired upon. I called the cops and they said we don't have time right now ... 'we will leave to make arrests later' , I was told. As a party, the BJP has treated the police like corona warriors. The Chief Minister has also given them freedom to work. But the police officials here have clear Samajwadi Party mindset .... They just do not want to get out of their casteist mindset," Mr Gupta said.
In photos taken early this morning, the district police chief was seen talking to the MLA - after which he called off the dharna.
"The MLA had come to the police station. Some action had been taken over the building of a temple by encroaching a government land. He said people were beaten up during the eviction. We will conduct an inquiry and take action," Ravindra Kumar, District Magistrate, Unnao, told reporters this morning.