BJP UP unit chief among 500 held

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Lucknow, Jan 11 (UNI) Five hundred BJP activists, including party state unit president Ramapati Ram Tripathi, were arrested in the Uttar Pradesh capital for protesting the 'stepmotherly' treatment of the Mayawati government towards farmers in the drought-hit Bundelkhand region.

Ranting anti-BSP regime slogans, a mob led by Mr Tripathi was staging strident protests, when the Lucknow police arrested them for disturbing peace.

They were later set free, police said.

However, a party release claimed that police arrested 1,200 party leaders and activists, including Mr Tripathi and leader of party in the state legislature Om Prakash Singh in front of the state assembly.

''The UP government wants to trample the democratic right of every citizen to protest peacefully. We had announced our demonstration beforehand and informed the District Magistrate too,'' Mr Tripathi said.

Meanwhile, leader of the party in the state legislature Mr Singh alleged ''Chief Minister Mayawati is anti-farmer...drought and hunger death haunt Bundelkhand but the CM is turning a deaf ear on the issue.'' The BJP would continue to decry the anti-farmer nature of the state government, he underlined.

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