Sonia for probe into sale of sugar mills

NEW DELHI, SEPT. 2. The Congress (I) president, Ms. Sonia Gandhi, has accused the Central and U.P. State Government of turning a blind eye to the legitimate concerns of farmers, particularly in the backward regions of Uttar Pradesh.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Ms. Gandhi said the death of an innocent bystander in the firing on agitating farmers ``was both tragic and shameful for the State Government.'' The callousness of the State Government was further compounded by the fact that the Uttar Pradesh Cheeni Nigam sugar mills had been sold to ``influential private parties who have no intention of reviving them and continue to exploit the poor farmers.''

Demanding a full inquiry into the way sale of these mills and immediate steps to provide relief to workers and sugarcane growers, the Congress (I) president said much of the problem was because of the way the BJP Government had mishandled the economic reforms package. `` What was meant to be regeneration of industry has now become a graveyard of hopes of millions of people'' she said.

`Govt. must resign'

Meanwhile, the party reacted with anger over the police firing in Padrauna district of U.P. on agitating farmers and Congressmen. Senior leader and CWC member, Mr. Jitendra Prasada, in a statement issued on Thursday, demanded the resignation of the Uttar Pradesh Government for the unprovoked firing. ``A Government that deals with such barbarity against people exercising their democratic right to protest has, no right to continue in office,'' he said.

Accusing the State Government of letting loose a reign of terror, Mr. Prasada said the local Congress (I) MLA from Padrauna, Mr. R.P.N. Singh had been singled out for some harsh treatment by the police because he has been consistently raising his voice against the BJP led government.

Demanding the immediate release of Mr. R.P.N. Singh and the farmers, Mr. Prasada also said the next of kin of those killed be paid Rs. 10 lakh compensation and the injured, two lakhs each.

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