Special Correspondent

Congress workers take to the streets in Uttar Pradesh protesting against the arrest of Rita Bahuguna

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati said on Thursday that if the Bahujan Samaj Party came to power at the Centre, it would repeal the Scheduled Castes, Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

She said a new Act would be framed for the “sarv samaj,” under which the punishment for rape and murder would be life imprisonment or death sentence.

At a press conference here, Ms. Mayawati said her party did not approve of the monetary compensation for rape and murder victims given under the SC, ST Act as it hurt the pride of Dalits. The Act was framed when the Congress was in power at the Centre. Even the terms for monetary compensation were mentioned in the Act.

On a day of hectic political developments, Congress workers staged demonstrations and blocked roads in different parts of the State. They were protesting against the arrest of Pradesh Congress Committee president Rita Bahuguna Joshi and the violence and arson at her residence here late on Wednesday night. They accused the Mayawati government of state-sponsored crime.

Dr. Joshi was arrested for making derogatory remarks against Ms.Mayawati. Reports of Congress demonstrations were received from Allahabad, Faizabad, Varanasi, Deoria, Aligarh, Kanpur and Moradabad. A PCC spokesman said hundreds of party workers courted arrest. He claimed that Congressmen were lathicharged at several places.

Congress workers were prevented from going to Dr. Joshi’s residence from the Pradesh Congress headquarters on Mall Avenue. Police resorted to a minor cane charge to disperse the crowd.

Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ram Naresh Yadav said at a press conference that a memorandum was submitted to Governor T.V. Rajeswar, urging his intervention. Following Wednesday incidents of violence and arson at Dr. Joshi’s residence, there was apprehension that the PCC headquarters would also be attacked. Protest demonstrations would be staged at all district headquarters on Friday, he said.

The Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal have demanded the dismissal of the Mayawati government. The Bharatiya Janata Party also condemned the arson.

Related links:

  • U.P. Congress chief arrested for remarks against Mayawati
  • Editorial: The violence of words
  • Sonia regrets remarks
  • Congress dissociates itself from Rita Bahuguna's remark