Protests for, against promotions quota across UP, Uttarakhand

The battle for quota in promotions for Dalits and tribals in government jobs spilled on to streets in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand Monday as both supporters and opponents of the move took out processions and organised protests.

Anti-quota protestors squatted before government offices, disrupting work, and also attacked and vandalized the office of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) at Mall Avenue in Lucknow.

In the Uttar Pradesh capital, protestors also took out a massive  rally, converging in front of the state assembly building, disrupting normal vehicular traffic on one of the busiest roads of the city.

Angry anti-quota protestors also tried to burn the effigies of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati while several hundred protestors sat outside the office of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) opposite the assembly.

Supporters of the quota in promotions proposal, clearly outnumbered, held protests in many places near the statues of Dr B.R. Ambedkar.

Government employees also struck work in Dehradun, capital city of Uttarakhand, crippling normal government functioning.

In their demonstrations held under the aegis of Sarvajan Hitay Sanrakshan Samiti, angry protestors demanded that the Congress-led central government immediately withdraw the constitution amendment bill, which has been tabled in the Rajya sabha and is to be voted later Monday evening.

They also praised the stand of Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav that he will do his best to block passage of the contentious bill.

"This is a black period in democratic India, when to get a few votes, injustice is being done to a majority of people," said Shailendra Dubey, convener of the Samiti.

Reports of stiff opposition to the promotions quota bill have also come from Varanasi, Meerut, Kanpur, Allahabad, and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. The protestors warned political parties that if their voice was not heard, the parties will have to face their wrath in the forthcoming general elections.

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