M A I N   N E W S

Judicial remand for Uma

Hubli, August 25
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti, against whom a non-bailable warrant was issued in the Idgah Maidan rioting case, surrendered today before a local court, which sent her to 14-day judicial custody after she did not seek bail.

After yesterday's suspense over whether the Karnataka police would arrest her, Uma Bharti chose to surrender before the Judicial First Class Magistrate Mohammad Ismail.

After her arrival at the Hubli station, she was accorded a tumultuous welcome from BJP and VHP cadres carrying the party’s saffron flag and the Tricolour. Immediately thereafter, the BJP announced a day-long bandh tomorrow in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh to express solidarity with her.

The 45-year-old leader will be lodged in the Belgaum jail, less than 100 km from here. The plans to lodge her in the sub-jail here were changed in view of her status as a “Z” security protectee.

“I accept the court order with pleasure and honour. I can sacrifice my life for the honour of the National Flag. I am ready to go to jail,” said Bharti outside the court chamber, flanked by Karnataka BJP unit President Ananth Kumar and Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly B.S. Yediyurappa.

Security was tightened in the court and elsewhere in the city, including the Idgah Maidan, where her attempt to hoist the National Flag on the Independence Day in defiance of prohibitory orders triggered violence that led to police firing and killing of five persons and injuries to several others.

Uma Bharti also did not file any application for cancellation of the non-bailable warrant issued against her by the Hubli court on August 3. She was also declared a proclaimed offender and orders for attachment of her property were issued for forcing her to physically appear before the court.

On Monday, the Hubli Additional District and Sessions Judge had rejected Bharti’s plea for quashing all charges against her in the case and the government’s request for reopening the case.

Uma Bharti addressed a press conference outside the station here perched atop an Ambassador car attacking Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Chief Minister Dharam Singh for a “conspiracy” to revive the case against her.

“I condemn the Tricolour politics of Sonia Gandhi and the Congress” she later told mediapersons outside the court adding, “it is unfortunate that after 57 years of Independence, I have to go to jail because I hoisted the National Flag.”

Uma Bharti also accused the Congress of trying to play communal politics by reviving cases against her, which the state government had withdrawn earlier, with an eye on the Maharashtra Assembly elections.

The Chief Minister, however, rejected Uma Bharti’s allegations as “false” and said the case was registered by the then Janata Dal government headed by Mr Deve Gowda and it was between her and the court.

“I am unable to understand why the BJP is bringing the name of Congress President Sonia Gandhi is the last person to intervene and I am also the last person to resort to such things,” the Chief Minister said reacting to charges made by Uma Bharti and other BJP leaders in this regard. — PTI

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