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Union Minister refused entry into Gorakhpur

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Atiq Khan

LUCKNOW: Union Minister of State for Home Sri Prakash Jaiswal was on Thursday denied permission to enter Gorakhpur town, which was rocked by communal violence recently. He had to return from the Air Force base on Kushinagar Road, 15 km from Gorakhpur.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi had sent him to Gorakhpur to assess the law and order situation.

On reaching Lucknow, Mr. Jaiswal warned the Uttar Pradesh Government that if the situation in Gorakhpur and neighbouring areas was not brought under control the Central Government would exercise options available under the Constitution.

The State Government and the Gorakhpur district administration erred in their primary duty to control violence, the Minister said.

Mr. Jaiswal said the Centre had despatched 20 companies of paramilitary forces and Rapid Action Force to the violence-hit areas. It was ready to extend more assistance to the State Government, including more companies of paramilitary forces.

The ruling Samajwadi Party condemned Mr. Jaiswal's visit. Agriculture Minister Ashok Bajpai accused the Union Minister and the Congress of trying to politicise the Gorakhpur communal violence.

Meanwhile, no untoward incident was reported from Gorakhpur on Thursday. UP Home Secretary Arun Sinha said there was no relaxation of curfew in Tewaripur, Rajghat, Gorakhnath and Kotwali police station areas, though essential commodities were distributed to people under police supervision.

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