Lucknow: The Samajwadi Party on Friday claimed that police lathicharged its workers while they were protesting in several districts against the BJP government's alleged failure in maintaining law and order in Uttar Pradesh. However, police discounted the claim of lathicharge and said only mild force was used at certain places to keep the protesters under control.
"As per directions of party president Akhilesh Yadav, we held protests across the state. Partymen demonstrating peacefully were unnecessarily lathicharged by the police in Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Aligarh, Amroha and other districts," SP chief spokesman Rajendra Chowhdury told PTI.
He said over 12 lakh SP workers participated in the protests in 75 districts of the state on 'Kranti Diwas', which is observed annually on August 9 to remember the historic 'Quit India Movement' initiated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942.
"Police acted in an undemocratic way, but the SP will not bend before these arm-twisting tactics of the government," Chowdhury said. During protests, SP workers gave memorandums to district magistrates regarding the present "pitiable situation in the state due to BJP's misrule", he said.
"SP workers are killed, humiliated and atrocities are committed on them. The government has failed to launch any new project in the past about two-and-a-half years of BJP rule," the SP spokesman alleged.
"The BJP government is anti-people and the SP will continue to protest against its policies on issues related to farmers, youth and women and also oppose its communal politics," he said.
Responding to SP's allegations, UP government spokesperson and cabinet minister Shrikant Sharma said the Samajwadi Party was unable to digest the all-round development in the state and hence, were resorting to such means.
"Record investments have come to the state in the past two years. In Sonbhadra, the Congress and the SP were involved in the massacre. The SP MP in Rampur was involved in land grabbing," he alleged.
The senior minister asserted that the law and order situation in UP was the best during the present regime and perception of the state has drastically changed outside.
"Be it organising Kumbh, Pravasi Bhartiya Sammelan or holding peaceful elections, everything has proved that the rule of law has prevailed in UP," he said here. In Gorakhpur, SP workers claimed that police used canes to disperse them while they were taking out a protest march against the state government.
"Our members were stopped at many places in the district where more than 300 people participated in the protest march. We got permission from the district administration on Thursday around 11 am but later we were informed verbally that our permission was cancelled," city SP chief Ziaul Islam said.
"Since there was no written cancellation order, we took out the march and as soon as we reached Lahladpur, police stopped us and lathicharged on us. Our general secretary Ajay Yadav was brutally beaten up by police causing fracture in his hand," he claimed.
SSP Sunil Kumar Gupta, however, denied that police used force to disperse the protesters.
"Samajwadi Party workers took out a protest march and since prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC are in force in the area, we stopped them but lathicharge was not applied. Except one or two incident of minor arguments between party workers and police, it was peaceful. Around 150 party members courted arrest in protest," Gupta said.
On cancellation of permission to protest, the SSP said, "It is the right of the district administration to cancel such requests anytime to maintain law and order."