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V.P. Singh ploughs the land in protest

COMRADES IN ARMS: The former Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, with CPI leader A.B. Bardhan at a press conference in New Delhi on Friday. - PHOTO: PTI

COMRADES IN ARMS: The former Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, with CPI leader A.B. Bardhan at a press conference in New Delhi on Friday. - PHOTO: PTI  



Atiq Khan

Uttar Pradesh Government admits their entry was due to intelligence failure Authorities admit to intelligence failure

V.P. Singh, Raj Babbar, others tilled land at Reliance plant site: Jan Morcha It was a symbolic protest, says U.P. Government Denies that Allahabad High Court orders were violated

LUCKNOW: The former Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, and Jan Morcha Alliance president Raj Babbar defied the ban orders imposed by the Uttar Pradesh Government in Dadri, dodged the authorities and reached the Bejhera Khurd village, Dadri, on Friday morning.

While Jan Morcha sources claimed that Mr. Singh, along with Mr. Babbar, Samajwadi Party MLA Brijendra Pratap Singh and Kisan Manch general secretary Vinod Singh, tilled the land at the site of the Reliance power plant, an Uttar Pradesh Home Department spokesman said Mr. Singh and others were photographed on a tractor on a land adjacent to the disputed plot. He said it was only a symbolic protest.

Home Secretary Arun Sinha told newspersons that Mr. Singh and others were intercepted at Meerpur village while returning from Bejhera Khurd. After being arrested under Section 151(apprehension of breach of peace), of the Cr. P.C., they were taken to a guesthouse in Ghaziabad, from where they were released around 1 p.m.

Mr. Sinha admitted that their entry into Bejhera Khurd village amounted to intelligence failure, but denied that moves were on to take action against the Ghaziabad district magistrate and the SSP.

The State Government was caught off guard, as the Principal Secretary, Home, Satish K. Agrawal had stated on Thursday that the Government would uphold the Allahabad High Court's directives on maintaining the status quo on the Dadri site.

The State Government banned the Jan Morcha's march to Dadri on August 17, with the Ghaziabad district administration enforcing Section 144 in Dadri and Bejhera Khurd village.

Mr. Singh, Mr. Babbar and two others reached the village around 8 a.m. in two separate vehicles following their departure from Delhi at 6 a.m. Jan Morcha sources said their visit to the village was planned. They had breakfast comprising "Bajra ki roti," skimmed milk and "lassi," before tilling the land.

Disputing claims

Mr. Sinha denied that Mr. Singh and his companions entered the disputed site. He said Mr. Singh got himself photographed on a tractor which was parked on the plot next to the disputed site of the proposed power plant.

He also denied that the Allahabad High Court orders were violated.

He said the Ghaziabad district administration came to know of the visit around 9.30 a.m. Subsequently the Jan Morcha leaders were arrested.

The presence of Samajwadi Party MLA Brijendra Pratap Singh in the symbolic protest has added to the woes of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav. The MLA enjoys the status of a Minister of State in his capacity as Chairman of U.P. Rajya Lalit Kala Akademi.

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