A Samajwadi Party delegation on Tuesday failed to meet the party’s Bhojipura MLA Shazil Islam, booked for allegedly making provocative remarks against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The 12-member SP delegation led by party MLC Sanjay Lathar first waited for Islam at his petrol pump, which was demolished recently for allegedly being illegal, and then visited his residence here but found it locked and had to return without meeting him.
The development followed a couple of days after another SP MLA Ravidas Mehrotra failed to meet party leader Azam Khan, lodged in the Sitapur district jail.
The SP leader failed to meet Azam despite Congress leader Pramod Krishnam and Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Lohia Shivpal Yadav having visited him in the jail.
The two events are being seen in political circles as Muslim leaders’ unhappiness over SP president Akhilesh Yadav’s "silence" over their alleged persecution by the Yogi Adityanath government.
The SP delegation sent by Akhilesh Yadav to visit Bareilly faced embarrassment after Islam did not meet it.
Not only Islam but none of his family members either met the visiting SP delegation team.
While Islam's phone remained switched off, his neighbours said they were not aware of the MLA’s whereabouts.
Sources close to the third-term MLA said he and his family stayed away from the SP team fearing more action against them by the administration.
A Bareilly district court had on Friday turned down Islam’s anticipatory bail plea in a case registered against him for allegedly threatening the chief minister and making provocative statements against him.
This was the second SP delegation which failed to meet its party’s Muslim MLA in recent days.
Earlier on Sunday, senior SP MLA Azam Khan had “refused” to meet party legislator Ravidas Mehrotra who had visited the Sitapur jail, claiming himself to be an emissary of Akhilesh Yadav.
The jail had turned him away saying that the inmate was “unwell”, but some reports suggested that Khan didn’t want to see him.
After his failure to meet Islam, Lathar, also the Leader of Opposition in the UP Legislative Council, on Tuesday insinuated that Islam failed to meet him because the Yogi Adityanath government wants “to keep people frightened”.
"MLA Shazil Islam could not meet the delegation of the Samajwadi Party due to personal and family reasons,” Lathar told reporters.
“The Yogi (Adityanath) government is very 'nirdayee' (cruel). It wants to keep people frightened. And, it is because of this that they are operating bulldozers. The state government is spreading terror. We will raise this matter in the House," the MLC added.
After failing to meet Islam, the SP team met Bareilly District Magistrate Shivakant Dwivedi and Senior Superintendent of Police Rohit Singh Sajwan and handed over a memorandum to them protesting against the demolition of Islam's petrol pump.
Shazil Islam had earlier targeted Chief Minister Adityanath, saying if he makes any “noise” now, the SP guns will “not emit smoke, but fire bullets”.
As a video of his remarks went viral on social media, the MLA contended that his comments had been “edited” by a news channel.
Addressing a party meeting in his constituency, Islam had said, "We had fewer MLAs in Uttar Pradesh earlier and so Chief Minister Adityanath used to attack us in his speeches. He only stopped short of hurling abuses at us."
The 46-year-old MLA had told his party workers that there was no need to be afraid of the BJP now and if the saffron party tried to have its way, the SP will protest and block the streets.
Subsequently, a petrol pump that was allegedly built illegally by Shazil Islam was demolished on April 7.
The demolition of the fuel station at Parsakheda on the Bareilly-Delhi National Highway was carried out by the Bareilly Development Authority using a bulldozer, an official had said.
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