Party men sees BJP hand in alleged protest against neglect of Bundelkhand in manifesto

Hundreds of persons armed with lathis, iron rods and bricks attacked the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee office in Mall Avenue here on Friday afternoon, causing grievous injuries to about a dozen party men and damage to property and vehicles there.

The mob of 200-300 persons, who claimed to be volunteers of the “Bundelkhand Adhikar Sena,” was purportedly protesting short shrift given to the backward region in the Congress manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections.

‘BJP behind attack’

But several Congressmen, present at the time of violence, alleged that the attack was masterminded by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Over a dozen persons were arrested by the police. Two cars were also seized. Security was tightened at the PCC office after Praveen Kumar, Deputy Inspector- General, Range of Lucknow, inspected the premises. An FIR against unknown persons was registered with the DIG giving an assurance that a permanent force would be stationed at the PCC office.

Prior to the attack, a text message was sent from an unnamed source to some newspersons around 2.20 p.m. It read: Congress ke ghoshna patra mein Bundelkhand ke andekhi ke virodh mein Bundelkhand Adhikar Sena ke hazaaron jawan Pradesh Congress Committee ka gherao karne pahunche (Thousands of Bundelkhand Adhikar Sena volunteers have gheraoed the Congress office in protest against Bundelkhand finding no mention in the Congress manifesto).

According to Congressmen, who were taken by surprise, the mayhem lasted for about an hour before the police reached the spot.

Congress spokesperson Dwijendra Tripathi, who suffered head injuries, told The Hindu that around 2.30 p.m. a mob of around 350 persons, mostly youth, wielding sticks and iron rods swooped down on the office and before any one could react, indulged in violence.

PCC chief Nirmal Khatri, who rushed to the office on getting information about the incident, told reporters that around 2.15 p.m. he got a call from the former MP, Ganga Charan Rajput. Mr. Khatri said Mr. Rajput enquired about who were present in the office as his supporters wanted to submit a memorandum.

Among the injured was Girija Shankar Awasthi of the Congress Sewa Dal.