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Akhilesh among hundreds arrested on last day of SP stir

Atiq Khan
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QUELLING PROTEST: Police lathicharge Samajwadi Party workers during their protest against the BSP government, at Hazratganj in Lucknow on Wednesday. — PHOTO: PTI/ Nand Kumar
QUELLING PROTEST: Police lathicharge Samajwadi Party workers during their protest against the BSP government, at Hazratganj in Lucknow on Wednesday. — PHOTO: PTI/ Nand Kumar

State president of the Samajwadi Party and son of the former Chief Minister Mulayam Singh, Akhilesh Yadav, was among the dozen leaders and hundreds of workers arrested on the third and last day, Wednesday, of the SP's agitation against the Bahujan Samaj Party government in Uttar Pradesh.

Mr. Yadav was arrested at the Amausi airport (Chaudhary Charan Singh International airport) here on his return from Delhi in the morning. He was taken to the Reserve Police Lines here. According to a senior police official, Mr. Yadav was arrested as he was scheduled to lead a protest rally.

“Violation of rights”

Describing his arrest as a violation of his democratic right, Mr. Yadav told journalists that the police action underscored the “autocratic rule” of Chief Minister Mayawati.

Elsewhere in the capital, SP workers, who had gathered at the Allahabad Bank crossing in the posh Hazratganj area, were lathicharged following a scuffle with the police who prevented them from proceeding towards the Vidhan Bhavan. According to an SP spokesman, party workers were lathicharged in Etah, Mainpuri, Kannauj, Gorakhpur and Varanasi also.

Strong deterrent

Special Director-General of Police (law and order) Brij Lal told journalists that 434 workers courted arrest on Wednesday.

He said strict security arrangements acted as a strong deterrent, ensuring that life was normal despite the SP's call to disrupt administrative functioning.

He said the agitation had no impact on schools, colleges, commercial establishments and government offices.

Political drama: BSP

Meanwhile, the BSP termed the agitation a “political drama,” which was “rejected by the people.”

State BSP president Swamy Prasad Maurya said: “Mr. Mulayam Singh should understand that the people can no longer be misled; now even his party workers are distancing themselves from him.” Defending the arrest of Mr. Akhilesh Yadav, Mr. Maurya, in a press release, said it was done to maintain law and order. Why did Mr. Yadav, an MP, return to Lucknow when the Parliament session was under way?


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