Cong lambasts UP govt for Rahul arrest

Senior party leader and Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said the arrest of Rahul Gandhi was an "autocratic action and I condemn this".

"Arrest is not the answer. Rahul Gandhi went to Batta Parsaul, to empathise with the farmers there and it is unfortunate that such an action has been taken by the state government instead of solving the main problem", he said.

Moily said Rahul Gandhi was not taking up the farmers' cause as a political issue. "This is a livelihood, natural and farmers' issue. He reached out to the farmers. By arresting him, the state government has acted in a most irresponsible manner".

Congress General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi said UP has witnessed "the cruellest rule of several imperialistic regimes. UP government's action in arresting Rahul Gandhi proves that Mayawati is digging her own grave".

"If any sense of justice is left in the government, a judicial inquiry is the minimum that the state government should order immediately," he said.

Rahul’s arrest was marked by high drama as a huge posse of UP police descended on the village as the Congress leader prepared to spend the night at farmer Rampal’s home.

Sporadic sloganeering continued throughout the late evening hours and reached a crescendo as police arrested Gandhi, a SPG protectee, and other Congress leaders.

SDM Vishal Singh had met Gandhi in the evening and asked him to end the dharna in view of the potential security risk to him in view of the situation in the area. Vishal Singh also expressed inability to provide security as he had come without intimation.

But the young Congress leader told the official that unless their demands are met he will not leave the village. The demands also included release of detained farmers.

When SDM sought to know Gandhi’s demands, he was told that the state government was already aware of the farmers demand.

The farmers have been demanding higher compensation for their land which was being acquired for the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority project.

Earlier in the day, the district administration and police were caught off guard by Gandhi’s arrival at 4 am.

It was only when he began meeting farmers and heard their grievances that the policemen recognised the young Congress leader.

Some of the villagers showed injuries inflicted on them allegedly by the police. They claimed that all young males have either been detained by police or have left the village out of fear.

The villagers claimed they were holding peaceful demonstration since January 17.

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