The state government’s decision to shift district jail to a closed sugar mill in Rampur is facing stiff resistance from locals.
Vishwa Hindu Mahasangh (VHM), a Hindu outfit, which is staging a sit-in with nearly 275 families who are living on the premises of a government-owned sugar mill, blames senior Cabinet minister Azam Khan for shifting the jail. Rampur is Azam’s home district.
Since July 7, women, too, have joined the dharna and are on a hunger strike.
VHM has decided to approach Home Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP’s national president Amit Shah for intervention. In a crackdown, the mahasangh president Sanjay Gupta has been arrested.
“It is an autocratic decision by Azam Khan. There is no point in shifting the jail in the middle of a densely populated area. We have collected all details and will be leaving for Delhi Friday to meet Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah. Our MP Nepal Singh will be accompanying us,” VHM convenor Shrikrishna Gupta said.
The district administration claimed the families are living on the premises of the sugar mill illegally and that it has started the proceedings under Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act 1971 against them.
“They all are living there illegally. They are not former employees of the closed sugar mill. They approached the High Court but did not get any relief. We have initiated proceedings under the PP Act 1971,” City Magistrate, Rampur, Rama Shanker Gupta said.
“Any person not satisfied with the decision is free to appeal in District Judge’s court,” Gupta added.
Gupta, however, could not answer as to why was the district jail being shifted to a new place. “It has been decided at government level and the land of the sugar mill has already been transferred to prison department,” he said. The government closed down the sugar mill a decade ago. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, in his budget presented last month, allocated Rs 20 crore for construction of a new jail in