Coming out strongly against the increase in the price of milk announced by Mother Dairy, Delhi BJP on Saturday staged a protest demonstration at Jantar Mantar during which its leaders criticised the policies of the Government and courted arrest.

The protest was led by Delhi BJP president O.P. Kohli. A large number of senior party leaders, such as national general secretary Vijay Goel, Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly V.K. Malhotra, former Delhi Chief Minister Madan Lal Khurana and former Leader of Opposition Jagdish Mukhi, along with party office-bearers participated in the agitation.

The protesters held aloft placards demanding that the hike in the price of milk be withdrawn and marched from Jantar Mantar to Parliament Street, where they were stopped by the police. Addressing the protesters here, Prof. Kohli said it is ironical that the Delhi Government has given the gift of an increase in the price of milk to the people during the Navaratra days. He recalled that the price of milk had increased six times in the last two years and had gone up from Rs 18 per litre then to Rs 30 per litre now.

Prof. Kohli said it was also a paradox that while on the one hand the Government has removed the import duty on skimmed milk on the other Mother Dairy has increased the price of full cream milk by Rs. 2 per litre. Describing the decision as unreasonable and unjust, he said the Government is responsible now for literally snatching away milk from the mouth of the children.

At a time, when people are already burdened by the steep rise in the prices of all essential commodities, he said the raising of the price of milk by Mother Dairy shows the lack of sensitiveness of the Government towards the poor population.

Mr Goel charged that the wrong economic policies and mismanagement on part of the United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre was responsible for the increase in the prices. He claimed that those very commodities that the Government exported at lower rates were later imported by it at higher prices.

Prof. Malhotra also blamed the export-import policy of the Government for the inflation. He said the BJP would continue to agitate against the wrong inflationary policies of the Government and reminded that a large rally has been planned by the party on the issue in Delhi on April 21.

Later, when the protesters tried to move towards Parliament, the police resorted to the use of water cannons and arrested them. Mr Goel was also injured in the eye when he was hit by a burst from a water cannon.

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