'U.P. Govt. has failed to protect minorities'

NEW DELHI, MAY 8. The Opposition in the Lok Sabha today demanded the dismissal of the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh Government for ``failing'' to protect the minorities and weaker sections. They were specifically protesting the alleged attacks on Dalits in Ferozabad district recently, blaming them on certain groups which, they said enjoyed the patronage of the ruling establishment.

Angry scenes were witnessed as the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Samajwadi Party and the Congress(I) contended that law and order had broken down and demanded the Centre's intervention. The House had to be adjourned barely 10 minutes after it met this morning as the BSP and SP members trooped into the `well' and raised slogans.

Trouble began as soon as the House assembled with the BSP leader, Ms. Mayawati, and her party members strongly protesting the ``growing atrocities'' on the Dalits and the minorities. They ignored the Speaker, Mr. G. M. C. Balayogi's repeated plea not to disrupt question hour and insisted that it was a serious matter and could not wait. The Congress(I) deputy leader, Mr. Madhavrao Scindia, shared her concern.

The agitated members then rushed into the `well' and started raising slogans. They were supported by the Congress(I) some of whose members collected in the aisle. This brought an angry reaction from the BJP benches and as noisy scenes prevailed the Speaker adjourned the House till 2 p.m.

When it resumed, Ms. Mayawati lashed out at the State Government alleging that it was responsible for the increasing sense of insecurity among the weaker sections.

She said if a State Government failed to maintain law and order, it was the duty of the Centre to intervene. The Congress(I)'s Mr. Sushil Kumar Shinde and several others were on their feet backing Ms Mayawati.

The BJP reacted sharply as a BSP member called the Vajpayee Government ``anti-minorities'' and ``anti-Dalit'' and said what was going on in U.P. reflected the ``character'' of the ruling party.