UP land war turns political; Rahul Gandhi arrested, released on bail
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, who rode pillion on a motorcycle to fox Mayawati’s police and reached the troubled Bhatta-Parsaul village on Wednesday, was taken into preventive custody late at night and later released on bail. Darpan Singh reports. Pics: Rahul's arrest | The land row | Motorcycle diariesindia Updated: May 12, 2011 10:42 IST
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, who rode pillion on a motorcycle to fox Mayawati’s police and reached the troubled Bhatta-Parsaul village on Wednesday, was taken into preventive custody on Wednesday night and later released on bail.
For several hours after his detention, there was no information on Gandhi’s whereabouts. There were numerous speculations on where he could have been taken to and what steps could be taken against him.Later around midnight, UP cabinet secretary, Shashank Shekhar Singh announced at a press conference that Gandhi would be freed on the Noida-Delhi border. Gandhi was picked up from a house where he had taken shelter for the night.
Some other Congress leaders who later joined Gandhi in Bhatta-Parsaul — Digvijay Singh, Raj Babbar and Rita Bahuguna Joshi, among them — were also taken into custody. See pics
Singh said the Congress had approached the district administration on Wednesday for holding a meeting on Thursday. But since they were not given the permission, the administration had to arrest them.
The Congress, expressing shock over the arrests, attacked Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati, saying she was “digging her own grave”.
Earlier, on Wednesday morning, Gandhi avoided the usual route to Bhatta-Parsaul through the DND Flyway and took the bumpy Dadri-Surajpur road, instead, to avoid the police.Several politicians, including the BJP’s Rajnath Singh, were earlier prevented from entering Bhatta-Parsaul, where farmers clashed with policemen over land acquisition over the weekend, leaving four dead.
The stealthy, 85-km drive went off just as planned. Gandhi left his Delhi home in the wee hours, but peeled off his convoy, riding pillion on a motorcycle that intercepted him at a pre-decided point.
In half an hour, he was at Bhatta, the epicentre of the clashes in what was a political coup. UP farm minister Laxmi Narain dubbed the visit a “political drama” with an “eye on assembly elections” next year.
In Bhatta-Parsaul, Gandhi told farmers: “I feel ashamed to call myself an Indian after seeing what has happened here,”
Gandhi told the farmers. “The (state) government here has unleashed atrocities on its own people.”
He said, “I want to tell you that I am with you till your demands are met. Till your work is not done, the Congress party will not desert you.”