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Top opposition leaders arrested

Senior opposition leaders were arrested while several party workers injured in a clash with police during a Bharat Bandh call given by the opposition parties to protest against fuel price rise. In pics

india Updated: Jul 05, 2010 17:35 IST

Senior opposition leaders were arrested while several party workers injured in a clash with police during a Bharat Bandh call given by the opposition parties to protest against fuel price rise.

Top NDA leaders Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh and Sharad Yadav on Monday courted arrest in New Delhi during a demonstration as part of the opposition-sponsored Bharat Bandh against price rise.

BJP chief Gadkari, senior party leader Singh, NDA Convenor sharad Yadav and Akali Dal's Harsimrat Kaur courted arrest at the demonstration held in Chandni Chowk.

As part of the protest, BJP activists blocked traffic, and rail services in some parts of the capital. The party workers blocked traffic in Laxmi Nagar, ITO, Preet Vihar, Akshardham and Madhuban Chowk among other areas.

In a bid to prevent BJP workers led by Arun Jaitely and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi from marching towards the main market and Vidhan Sabha Marg in Lucknow, the entire area was barricaded and cordoned off by the police.

The party workers crossed the barricade and attempted to march towards main Hazratganj crossing.

BJP state president Surya Pratap Shahi, Jaitley and Naqvi were arrested along with other leaders in Lalbagh and Hazratganj area.

"Today's bandh was one of the most successful agitation and it got support from all sections of the society," Jaitely claimed.

He said that lathicharge on peaceful protesters by police was condemnable.

BJP workers also entered into a scuffle with the police and staged a dharna after being prevented from marching ahead.

In a bid to disperse them, police first cane-charged the BJP workers and later arrested them. The senior leaders and workers have been taken to police lines.

"A number of party workers and leaders were injured in the lathicharge," BJP leaders claimed.

While, Samajwadi Party workers led by leader of the opposition in the state assembly Shivpal Singh Yadav and state president Akhilesh Yadav took out a procession from the party office at Vikramaditya Marg.

The party workers, however, managed to break the barricading while attempting to march towards Raj Bhawan. The police in a bid to stop them used water cannon and cane charged the workers.

The party acitivists also indulged in heavy brick batting in which several party activists were injured.

Later the police arrested senior party leaders, including Shivpal, Akhilesh, Ahmad Hassan and Bhagwati Singh along with a number of other workers.

The bandh evoked mixed response across the state as train and road traffic was disrupted at a number of places.

Reports said that SP workers disrupted movement of trains in Allahabad, Jaunpur, Etawah and other places.

Tight security arrangements have been made across Uttar Pradesh in view of the bandh called by the opposition parties.

Over 30 companies of PAC personnel have been deployed in various districts of the state to maintain law and order during the bandh and to avoid any untoward incident, a senior officer said here.

In Lucknow, over 100 people associated with various political parties, including SP, have been arrested so far.

In Allahabad, the bandh evoked mixed response with only a few of the shops remaining closed, while offices were functioning normally.

Members of SP's youth wing Yuvjan Sabha, took out processions and raised slogans to protest the fuel price hike.

They squatted on railway tracks at Prayag station, delaying Lucknow-bound Ganga-Gomti by half an hour. However, none of the agitator was detained in this connection, GRP officials said.

Meanwhile, there have been reports of protestors trying to enforce the bandh in various parts of the trans-Yamuna region here by blocking road traffic and forcing shopkeepers to pull down shutters.

No untoward incident has been reported from the city so far, police said. Most of the auto-rickshaws did not ply following the call given by president of auto drivers' association Vinod Chandra Dubey, who is also an SP leader.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N Chandrababu Naidu and leaders of Left parties were arrested while holding protests against price hike in Hyderabad. Naidu was taken into custody along with several TDP leaders and activists when they staged a road block in the busy Ameerpet area.

NDA leaders, including BJP general secretary Ravishankar Prasad, state BJP president CP Thakur and his JD(U) counterpart Vijay Choudhary, were also arrested in Patna on Monday while enforcing the nationwide bandh against the hike in petroleum products.

Rajya Sabha members Shivanand Tiwari and Upendra Kushwaha were arrested when they along with their hundreds of supporters blocked the busy Dak Bungalow Road crossing, official sources said.

The leaders were whisked away in a bus to a camp jail at Gardanibagh where they would remain detained till this evening, the sources said.

Over 1500 NDA activists were arrested from different parts of the state for disrupting trains and blocking movement of vehicular traffic.

In Muzaffarpur, JD(U) Rajya Sabha member Anil Sahni, JD(U) MLA Vilat Paswan, besides several NDA supporters were taken into preventive custody, they said.

While legislators, including Shivaji Rai, were arrested from Motihari, JD(U) LS member from Nalanda Kaushalendra Kumar along with his supporters was arrested from Biharsharif during the bandh, the sources said.

First Published: Jul 05, 2010 11:01 IST