STOPPED: The former Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, addressing the public before participating in the `kisan mukti sangram' rally on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border on Thursday. Photo: PTI
LUCKNOW : The Uttar Pradesh Government on Thursday said it had successfully thwarted the "Dadri march" led by the former Prime Minister and Jan Morcha convener, V.P. Singh, without any use of force.
Mr. Singh, along with Communist Party of India general secretary A.B. Bardhan, Jan Morcha president Raj Babbar and others, was arrested around 1 p.m. on the Delhi-U.P. border and taken to a guesthouse in Ghaziabad.
Others arrested include Sakshi Maharaj, Surendra Mohan, Shoeb Iqbal, Mr. V.P. Singh's grandson Akshay Singh, Vinod Singh and Keshri Singh Gujar.
Principal Secretary, Home, Satish Kumar Agrawal, and Director-General of Police Bua Singh told reporters that 97 persons were arrested when they tried to enter Uttar Pradesh from Delhi en route to Dadri in Ghaziabad district. Six hundred preventive arrests were also made at the Dadri railway station and in Agra.
Bhartiya Kisan Union president Mahendra Singh Tikait was detained with his supporters at Daurala in Meerut district.
He said Mr. Singh's cavalcade of 100 cars approached the State border at 12.30 p.m. About 500-600 activists accompanied the former Prime Minister in the vehicles. However, when they tried to enter Uttar Pradesh, 97 persons, including Mr. Singh and Mr. Bardhan, were taken into preventive custody.
Mr. Agrawal denied that force was used. He maintained that the State Government was committed to upholding the directives of the Allahabad High Court.
On way to address rally
New Delhi Staff Reporter writes:
Mr. Singh and other leaders were on their way to attend a farmers' rally at Dadri in protest against alleged inadequate compensation paid to the villagers for acquiring their land for a mega power project of Reliance in Dadri.
The leaders and all others arrested were released around 6.30 p.m.
Prior to their arrest, Mr. Singh and other leaders addressed a meeting on the Delhi side of the border. Mr. Singh questioned the intention of the U.P. Government in evincing keen interest on a matter that was essentially between a private company and farmers. "Will they [the State Government] suck the farmers' blood to provide power at Rs. 2 per unit as they had promised?"
Mr. Bardhan said the farmers were fighting for their rights. The project was yet another example of a capitalist venture aimed at capturing the market.
Mr. Babbar alleged that the State machinery was using repressive measures to crush the protest. The fight would continue, he said.
With various routes to Dadri sealed, motorists from Delhi to Ghaziabad had to take several diversions and traffic was thrown out of gear.
On August 8, Mr. Singh and Mr. Babbar were arrested at the border when they were on their way to Bejhera Khurd at Dadri.
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