Babbar, Mistry among injured as cops lathi-charge Cong

Lucknow: Several persons, including Congress leaders Raj Babbar, Mahdusudan Mistry, Nirmal Khatri were injured in a clash here between lathi-charging police and party’s stone-pelting agitators, protesting against the poor law and order situation in the Samajwadi Party-run state.

Congress activists had gathered at the Laxman Mela ground and taken out a march to gherao the state Assembly.

To check the agitators from proceeding, policemen deployed in large numbers put up barricades and used water cannon to stop them. When they did not, baton-wielding policemen charged at them resulting in a clash as the protesters resorted to stone-pelting.

According to a party statement, several party leaders including AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry, UPCC president Nirmal Khatri, former Union minister Pradip Jain Aditya, national general secretary of Youth Congress B V Srinivas, among others, were seriously injured amd admitted to Balrampur and Civil hospitals.

Others like Raj Babbar and Sanjay Singh were also injured and were given medical aid, the statement said.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi called up Mistry and Khatri and enquired about their well being, it said, adding that he condemned the lathi-charging on party workers at the behest of state government.

Several party leaders including P L Punia, Pramod Tewari, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Moshina Kiswai, Rita Bahuguna Joshi among others took part in the protest.

About 2,500 workers and leaders were arrested and taken to the Police Lines from where they were released later, the party said, while police said that around 1,500 Congress workers have been arrested.

“As scheduled around 4,000 party workers tried to move towards the Vidhan Bhawan to carry out their gherao programme,” police said, adding that they forced through police barricading and when prevented they indulged in brick batting in which five persons, including an additional city magistrate, were injured.