Land acquisition stir: Cong leaders baton-charged

Ghaziabad/ Lucknow: Congress leaders and workers were on Thursday baton-charged and detained by the Uttar Pradesh police during a Statewide protest by the party against the arrest of Rahul Gandhi even as Chief Minister Mayawati slammed the opposition for attempting to disrupt law and order in Greater Noida hit by violence over land acquisition.

In Lucknow, police baton-charged and detained several Congress leaders and workers, including UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi. Several party workers were injured in the police action, party spokesman Subodh Srivastava said.

The Congress had announced a State-wide road blockade to protest Mr. Gandhi’s arrest in Bhatta Parsaul last night and in support of farmers’ demands in Western Uttar Pradesh. The Congress General Secretary was later released.

In Rae Bareli, two MLAs and MLCs along with other party workers were detained and later released after they blocked the national highway this morning.

Similar protests were held in other parts of the state including Jhansi, Meerut, Allahabad and Sitapur districts.

Calling Mayawati a “dictator”, Congress leader Digvijay Singh, who was detained along with Mr. Gandhi last night in Greater Noida, demanded a judicial inquiry into alleged police brutalities in Bhatta Parsaul region.

Hitting back at the opposition, Ms. Mayawati said the clashes in Bhatta Parsaul in Greater Noida had nothing to do with the issue of land compensation.

“By spreading lies and rumours, opposition parties are attempting to disturb law and order situation by misleading people and Bhatta Parsaul incident is an example of their dirty politics,” Ms. Mayawati told reporters in Lucknow.

Congress vowed to continue with its protests against the UP government’s land acquisition policy after Rahul Gandhi was arrested and released following his visit to the epicentre of the stir here to support the agitating farmers.