Senior Congress leaders including Union Minister of State for Home Sri Prakash Jaiswal and Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) President Salman Khurshid took out a peace march in Lucknow this evening to vent their ire against what they called being stopped from visiting curfew bound areas of Gorakhpur and communal situation of Gorakhpur.
Jaiswal and Khurshid led a large contingent of Congressmen from the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) headquarters to Mahatma Gandhi's statue at GPO Park in Lucknow.
Jaiswal though left after completing the peace march Khurshid along with Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Pramod Tiwari and others sat there for some time.
Congressmen chanted "raghupati raghav raja ram, patit ke pavan sita ram" and dispersed after some time.
This gives new dimensions to the ongoing politicking over the communal situation in Gorakhpur. The Minister for Agriculture Ashok Bajpai said Jaiswal went to Gorakhpur to politicise the communal situation.
Earlier accompanied by party MP Jitin Prasad, Harikesh Bahadur and Mahmood Madni Jaiswal had reached Gorakhpur airport at about 10.30 am on Thursday.
Senior officers including the IG Gorakhpur zone, DM and the SSP however reached the airport and requested Jaiswal not to proceed further as the situation in Gorakhpur was not normal.
"I don't know anything about the intentions of officers. But I did not exert pressure on officers," said Jaiswal adding he had reached Gorakhpur to make an on the spot assessment of the law and order situation on the directives of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
The State Government had failed to bring the situation under control and the situation was still tense there.
The Centre had sent 20 companies of the Central Para Military Forces (CPMF) to Gorakhpur.
The law and order was at lowest ebb, he said adding the Centre would take any steps permitted under Constitution if situation was not brought under control soon.
Asked whether his decision to take part in the peace march was justified Jaiswal said he was Congressman and could take part in any party programme. Jaiswal said he had asked the State Government to consider recommending a CBI inquiry to probe rape of Madarsa inmates in Allahabad.
Significantly Jaiswal's visit to Gorakhpur came a day after Khurshid, Tiwari and other party leaders were detained at Barabanki on way to Gorakhpur. Khurshid had later stated that he was taking a message of peace to Gorakhpur.
Replying to a question a spokesman of the state home department however said Jaiswal had not been stopped at any point. Jaiswal completed his programme as scheduled and reviewed the law and order situation there, he said.