Continuing his footmarch in Uttar Pradesh for the second day on Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi headed towards Aligarh with the district admin saying his ‘kisan padyatra’ would be a “clear violation” of prohibitory orders in force if it enters the area.
The AICC General Secretary during his informal interactions with villagers while criss crossing several villages after he resumed his march at 6.20 am at Rampur Bangar had Chief Minister Mayawati firmly on his cross-hairs over the issue of forced land acquisition from farmers.Heavy police force has been deployed near Siarol village on Aligarh-Gautam Budh Nagar border, even as senior police officers insisted it was purely a precautionary measure.
“Heavy police force has been deployed near Siarol village on the Aligarh-Gautam Buddha Nagar border from where Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is barely at a short distance,” official sources said in Aligarh on Wednesday.
A Congress-backed kisan mahapanchayat is planned in Aligarh on Saturday.
After walking around 25 kms, Rahul had a halt at Rampur Bangar in Gautam Budh Nagar district where he spent the night at the house of a former village head after partaking rotis cooked by the women of the farmer’s household.
In Aligarh, SSP Satyendra Vir Singh said, “Section 144 CrPC is in force all over the district since June 12 and in this background Rahul Gandhi’s padyatra will be a clear violation.”
The SSP, however, clarified that if there is no apprehension of law and order problem, the authorities might choose not to prevent Rahul’s entry into the district.
Asserting that the Mayawati government should understand its responsibilities, Rahul told villagers in Alawalpur that farmers, whose land is being acquired, come to know of it only when the process is already over.
“This is not being said by one person, but thousands. People were killed in Bhatta Parsaul, but it was said that nothing happened. People were killed in Tappal. Your voice must be heard against the wrong doing,” he said in Alawalpur village where he camped for several hours.
Addressing a chaupal (informal assembly) in another village, Rahul said the magnitude in which land was being acquired in UP was not happening anywhere else in the country.
“It’s ok if the land is being acquired for road. Roads should be constructed and development must take place, but here land is being taken for colony,” he said.
Aligarh SSP Singh said, “The Congress party has secured permission for its kisan mahapanchayat in Aligarh on July 9. They have, however, not sought any permission for the ‘kisan padyatra’ which is currently on in certain other districts.”
Singh said the district authorities have communicated to the Special Protection Group that Rahul’s padyatra here would, therefore, be considered as a violation of section 144 CrPC.
“All our options are open in this matter and we are monitoring the situation carefully,” he said.
For the second consecutive day, ruling BSP attacked Rahul terming his padyatra as merely a political drama in view of the coming assembly elections.