Lucknow: Thousands of Congress workers led by Uttar Pradesh party chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi were arrested here on Monday for staging a street protest to demand a CBI probe into the alleged murder of deputy chief medical officer YS Sachan.
Sachan was found dead in mysterious circumstances inside a toilet of the Lucknow district jail on June 22.
After being released, Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Joshi led a delegation to Governor BL Joshi with a memorandum seeking his intervention for a CBI probe not only in Sachan`s murder, but also that of two CMOs B.P. Singh and Vinod Arya, who were gunned down in broad daylight on the streets of Lucknow within a span of six months.
"The family members of the deceased have pointedly accused people sitting at the highest level for masterminding Dr Sachan`s murder, but the government was clearly shirking from handing over the case to CBI," said Joshi.
Congress Legislature Party leader Pramod Tiwari, who was also arrested during the protest, said: "Considering the fact that involvement of bigwigs in large scale pilferage of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) funds was the prime factor behind the murder, a CBI probe alone would bring many skeletons out of the cupboard."
It was clearly an impressive show by the Congress, that was able to muster such huge support after a gap of almost two decades.
Thousands of Congress supporters converged at the Bal Sanghralaya grounds near the Lucknow railway station from where they marched in a procession and headed for the state Vidhan Sabha.
However barely 500 metres ahead, a heavy deployment of the khaki-clad cops had formed an impregnable barricade to prevent them from moving a step forward. For a change, Mayawati`s police refrained from using force against the demonstrators who kept on raising anti-Mayawati slogans as they were packed off by the police into awaiting buses.
"Mayawati has failed miserably in maintaining law and order in the state, where the law of jungle prevails and crimes against women are simply on the rise," Joshi told mediapersons, while referring to the spate of rapes in different parts of the state.
"Democracy has come to a complete standstill in this state to the extent that a political party is not even allowed to stage a demonstration," she said, while adding: "In fact, no sooner did we move an application on June 24 seeking permission to stage our protest, the state administration clamped section 144 of CrPC, obviously with the intent of preventing the Congress party from carrying out its demonstration today."
Lucknow district magistrate Anil Kumar Sagar, however, maintained: "Section 144 has been in place for more than a month so we could not have granted anybody the permission to demonstrate in a public place."