BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, Jaitley arrested

Senior BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi were arrested here by the Uttar Pradesh Police.

Updated: May 12, 2011, 16:23 PM IST

Ghaziabad: Senior BJP leaders Rajnath
Singh, Arun Jaitley and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi were arrested here
by the Uttar Pradesh Police when they were agitating in
support of farmers of Greater Noida who want more compensation
from the state government for their acquired land.

The arrests evoked a strong reaction from the party
which alleged that Uttar Pradesh was being run under a
"dictatorship" and vowed to continue its protest "irrespective
of repression".

The BJP leaders were arrested on charge of breach of
peace under section 151 CrPC and taken to the police lines in
a police van in the district where prohibitory orders under
Section 144 CrPC which do not allow assembly of four or more
persons were already imposed.

Rajnath Singh had started a 24-hour fast today at the
Ambedkar park here to protest against atrocities on farmers by
the UP government. Jaitley and Naqvi, along with some state
unit leaders of BJP, had gathered to support him.

After the arrest, Rajnath said wherever he is kept
under detention, his fast would continue till 11 AM tomorrow.

He alleged that there was utter lawlessness and rampant
corruption in Uttar Pradesh under the BSP government.

Earlier, the former UP Chief Minister said
if a BJP government came to power it would form a commission
to investigate all corruption cases against the Mayawati

"The situation in UP is such that even legitimate
protest is prohibited. This is an intolerant government. Our
protest will continue irrespective of repression," Jaitley
said after the arrest.

Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha alleged that Mayawati
was being dictatorial and acting like an "Ottoman ruler".

"UP is being run like under a dictatorship. Sitting on
a hunger strike for 24 hours is an absolutely assured
democratic right. How can you arrest somebody not indulging in
looting or rioting? Which law was broken that necessitated
their arrest. I am absolutely shocked at the behaviour of the
government," Sinha said.

He maintained that it was the Mayawati government
which had ordered firing on the agitating villagers.

"If the opposition goes there, you cannot find fault
with them. It is our duty to reach out to the farmers in this
hour of need," he said.

The former union minister insisted Mayawati was acting
in a "very unwise manner".

"This is not the way this issue will be surpressed and
if she does not allow expression of opposition then she is in
for a great deal of trouble.... If she thinks she a ruler like
the Ottoman king then she is completely mistaken," Sinha said.

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar maintained that
both Congress and BSP were responsible for the present state
of affairs.

"Congress is responsible for not passing the amendment
to the Land Acquisition Act while BSP is at fault for the
total anarchy in the state where goondas are ruling and nobody
has the right to live peacefully and protest peacefully,"
Javadekar said.

Naqvi, who was arrested along with Rajnath Singh and
Jaitley, said Rahul Gandhi had "used the hut of a poor farmer
for a photo-opportunity" yesterday during the dharna at Bhatta
Parsaul village and alleged he was not serious about the
welfare of the poor.

RLD Chief Ajit Singh met Rural Development Minister
Vilasrao Deshmukh to demand Centre`s intervention on the
farmers` agitation.

"The 1894 Land Acquisition Act which is still in force
is the root cause of all these problems and a lot of talk is
going on about amending it but nothing has happened," Singh

He said he had made several suggestions to Deshmukh
on the issue.

"We want to redefine public purpose.... How the market
price of land is decided. If the government does not use the
land for the purpose it was taken, it should be returned," he

Ajit Singh pressed for time-bound decisions,
determination of market price, definition of purpose and how
to return the land.

"All government scams in the last 20 years have been
land scams. Whether it is military land, farmers` land or
flouting of environmental norms, taking over hills...," Singh

Though he admitted that there were several lacunae in
the Land Acquisition Bill, he said it did not give Mayawati
the right to pay farmers Rs 800 while "the government is
getting Rs 11,000 and she herself is pocketing Rs 11,000".