Lucknow, May 12 : Police today baton-charged and detained several Congress leaders and workers, including UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi, during a statewide protest against the arrest of Rahul Gandhi.
“Several party leaders and workers were injured in the lathicharge on peaceful protesters and UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi was manhandled by police,” party spokesman Subodh Srivastava said here.
The Congress has announced a state-wide chakka jam today to protest Gandhi's arrest in Bhatta Parsaul last night and in support of farmers' demands in Greater Noida. The Congress General Secretary was later released. In Lucknow, the Congress workers led by state president Joshi staged a demonstration at Bapu Bhawan crossing near Vidhan Bhawan and blocked roads. In a bid to disperse the agitating party workers, police resorted to lathicharge in which several party workers were injured.
Police later detained several party workers, including Joshi, and they were taken to the police line. In Rae Bareli, two MLAs and MLCs along with other party workers were detained and later released after they blocked the national highway this morning. Similar protests were held in other parts of the state including Jhansi, Meerut, Allahabad and Sitapur districts.
Meanwhile in Ghaziabad, Congress leaders and workers staged protest on the national highway (Delhi-Lucknow) against the Mayawati government for the arrest of Gandhi. The protesters blocked the road, jamming vehicular traffic in over 5 km stretch from Lal Kunwa to Noida turn. Over thousand vehicles were stranded on the road. Raising anti-Mayawati slogans, the agitators demanded suspension of UP government and action against the officials who ordered Gandhi's arrest.
In Mumbai, Congress workers staged a demonstration against the Mayawati government, protesting the arrest of AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi late last night. Party MLA from Vile Parle, Krishna Hegde organised the protest outside the suburban railway station here. Hegde said the Congress leader had gone to Bhatta Parsaul village to support the farmers who were fighting to protect their rights and were agitating against the state's land acquisition process for expressway project but UP police arrested him under the cover of darkness.
“Such high-handedness would not be tolerated by the party,” he said. The workers holding the party flags, shouted slogans against Mayawati and hailed Rahul's leadership. Similar protests were held in western suburbs of Kalina, Malad and Borivali in the metropolis.
Rahul, who spent almost 19 hours at Bhatta Parasul, whe epicentre of the farmers' agitation was arrested at around 11.00 pm last night and released on bail by UP police and brought to Delhi in the early hours. PTI