The BSP government has denied Congress charges of security lapse in Bareilly during the visit of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on February 11 and the “police high-handedness” against Congress workers in Lucknow on Tuesday.

The government’s clarification comes a day after Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Rita Bahuguna Joshi announced a statewide dharna and demonstration on February 22 against the police lathi-charge in Lucknow.

Denying any security lapse in Bareilly, Principal Secretary (Home) Kunwar Fateh Bahadur said at a press conference here on Thursday that Ms. Dikshit was accompanied by the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Digvijay Singh, to Bareilly. They had gone to offer “chaadar” at the dargah of Aala Hazrat. He added that effective security measures had been taken by the Bareilly administration.

Immense pressure

The two dignitaries were escorted from the Trishul airport in Bareilly to the shrine by adequate number of security personnel. He said since it was the last day of the three-day “urs” of Aala Hazrat, the pressure of public on the 50-60 metre narrow lane leading to the shrine was immense.

Mr. Bahadur said safe passage of the visiting dignitaries was ensured by effective crowd control measures by the local police and they were able to offer “chaadar.”

Regarding the alleged police high-handedness against the Congress workers at a protest rally in Lucknow on February 16, Mr. Bahadur accused Congress workers of breaking the security cordon and throwing stones at the police party.

He said water cannon was used on the agitators as they tried to move towards the Chief Minister’s residence. Only mild force was used by the police, the official added.