Cong leaders arrested on way to Maya's village

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Noida/Lucknow, July 29: Noida police today arrested Congress leaders Digvijay Singh, Sachin Pilot and UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi on the UP-Delhi border while they were on way to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's village Badalpur to attend a 'Kisan Sangharsh Rally' in protest against the ''coercive acquisition'' of land by the state government.

The three leaders, arrested under section 151 of the CrPC, were taken to the nearest police outpost, district police chief of Gautambudh Nagar (Noida) R K Chaturvedi said.

The leaders were prevented from attending the rally which was organised to protest the land reported to have been acquired in about 100 villages around Ms Mayawati's native village to develop a picnic spot.

Immediately after her arrest, the UPCC chief alleged that it was yet another oppressive action by the Mayawati government.

''We were going towards Badalpur peacefully to express our solidarity with people there who have lost their land,'' the arrested leaders claimed.

Meanwhile, the UPCC also condemned the step and warned the state government of a greater agitation against it. ''The Congress will not allow the Mayawati government to acquire farmers' land in an arbitrary manner,'' a Congress spokesman said.

The Congress also threatened to intensify agitation against the ''indiscreet land acquisition'' for the proposed Taj Expressway and Ganga Expressway.

A large number of Congress supporters, who gathered at the border, shouted slogans against the police for arresting the leaders.

Congress General Secretary and in-charge UP Digvijay Singh said the Congress was totally against the ''forceful'' sale of farmers' land at very low prices when market prices were very high. ''How can a government force people to sell their land,'' he asked.

According to Congress, this land acquisition will uproot 2500 families in just four villages-about 600 each in Badalpur and Sadhupur, about 800 in Ascheja and nearly 500 in Bisnaula.

The Congress, in New Delhi yesterday, had alleged that Ms Mayawati had amassed huge property in her native village by unfair means.

UNI

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