Date:19/08/2006 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2006/08/19/stories/2006081913030500.htm
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Other States - Uttar Pradesh

V. P. Singh, Raj Babbar spring a surprise at Dadri

Atiq Khan

U.P. Govt. admits their entry was due to intelligence failure

LUCKNOW: Former Prime Minister V. P. Singh and Jan Morcha Alliance president Raj Babbar evaded the ban orders imposed by the Uttar Pradesh Government in Dadri when they managed to reach Bejhera Khurd village, Dadri, on Friday morning. They were in the village for a couple of hours.

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, a U.P. Home Department spokesman said Mr. Singh and others got themselves photographed on a tractor on a land adjacent to the disputed plot. He said it was only a symbolic protest.

State 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 PC, they were taken to a guest house in Ghaziabad, from where they were released around 1 p.m.

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

The latest development caught the State Government 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 at the Dadri site.

The State Government banned the Jan Morcha's march to Dadri on August 17, he 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. on Friday in two separate vehicles following their departure from Delhi at 6 a.m. Jan Morcha sources said their surprise visit to the village had been planned in advance.

They had breakfast comprising "Bajra ki roti," skimmed milk and "lassi" before tilling the land at the disputed site.

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.

Mr. Sinha said the Ghaziabad district administration came to know of the visit around 9-30 a.m. Subsequently the Jan Morcha leaders were arrested at Meerpur village.

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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