Rampur: Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan's name has been put on an online list of land mafias by the district administration here following FIRs registered against him, drawing strong protest from his party which raised the issue in UP Legislative Council alleging that he is being framed in "fake" cases.
The state BJP government dismissed the SP's allegations, asserting it is treating everyone the same and the action is not driven by any political vendetta.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath alleged that Rampur is an example of "land-grabbing" culture under the previous SP government.
"The name of the Rampur MP has been put on the list of anti land mafia portal of the state government on Thursday after FIRs were lodged against him on land-grabbing charges," Additional District Magistrate (Administration) JP Gupta told PTI.
"The listing was done by SDM Sadar," he said. The former Uttar Pradesh minister was named in the FIRs lodged in connection with alleged forcible acquisition of land for Mohammad Ali Jauhar University, of which he is the founder and Chancellor.
District Magistrate A K Singh said that the "farmers had claimed that Azam Khan had acquired their land for Jauhar University through coercion".
"The name of those who have acquired someone's land with alleged criminal acts and continue to have possession over it are included in the list on the portal," the DM pointed out.
The Samajwadi Party, however, alleged that the move was a conspiracy by the Rampur District Magistrate to defame Khan and the university.
SP president Akhilesh Yadav has constituted a 21-member committee, led by leader of opposition in the Legislative Council Ahmad Hasan, to "probe" "fake cases" lodged against Khan in Rampur.
Asked about the issue, Chief Minister Adityanath told reports, "There was 'kabja' (grabbing) culture in previous SP regime and Rampur is its example."
Proceedings in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council were disrupted on Friday as Samajwadi Party members protested the registration of cases against Khan, terming them as "fake".
As soon as the House assembled at 11.00 am, Leader of the Opposition Ahmad Hasan raised the issue.
He said, "Nearly a dozen cases have been registered against senior SP leader Azam Khan. The most painful thing is that he has taken land for building a university and not for any personal gains. In which direction is the government going? Azam Khan is a land mafia?"
Leader of the House and Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma termed the SP's allegations as baseless. "The government is treating everyone in the same manner, and it is not an act of vengeance.
"The government has made an online provision of registering a report, and action will be done only after examining all aspects.
"The allegations which are levelled against the government are totally baseless, and do not have any link with the policy and intention of the government," Sharma said referring to the cases against Khan.
He also mentioned that Khan is not a member of the House, and so the matter cannot be raised.
Following this, Ahmad Hasan requested the Chair that an all-party committee of the House be formed to examine the entire matter pertaining to Khan, but Sharma opposed it.
Amid unruly scenes, Sharma sought cooperation of the Opposition to run the House. But the agitated SP members trooped into the Well prompting Chairman Ramesh Yadav to adjourn the House till 12.00 noon.
When the House re-assembled, the Leader of Opposition once again raised the matter. SP members came into the Well of the House raising slogans and accused the state government of destroying democracy.
Later as the protest by the SP members continued, the Chairman adjourned the House till Monday.