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Rattled Lucknow waves red flag at Ulema trains

The proposed plan by the Ulema Council to hold a demonstration in Lucknow on February 20 against the Batla House encounter has left the administration jittery.

Written by Bhupendra Pandey | Lucknow | Published: February 18, 2009 12:37 am

The proposed plan by the Ulema Council to hold a demonstration in Lucknow on February 20 against the Batla House encounter has left the administration jittery. The district administration is reluctant to give permission to the Council for holding the protest,leaving the ulema’s fuming.

After Lucknow District Magistrate Chandra Bhanu and SSP (Law & Order) Raghuvir Lal refused to grant permission to hold the agitation at either of the two venues suggested by the council — Jyotiba Phule Park and Tiley Wali Masjid in Chowk area — an angry Council president Amir Rashadi said: “ Irrigation Minister Nasimuddin Siddiqui does not want the Ulema Council to hold the demonstration in Lucknow. He has asked the police and the DM to ensure that the demonstration fails to take place.”

The district magistrate,however,defended his decision. “The Ulema Council has booked two trains for Lucknow and about 5,000 men are expected to march across the main roads of the city. Such a big crowd would cause utter chaos and could also lead to law and order problem here.” “We are in touch with the Council to convince it to change the venue,” Bhanu added.

Lal,too,said the proposed agitation could create law and order problem. “They expect a gathering of over 30,000 and this could lead to a stampede at Jyotiba Phule Park and the Tiley Wali Masjid. We have given them the options of holding their agitation at Jai Narain PG College in Charbagh and Rama Bai Rally Sthal in Aashiana. We will not allow the crowd to move beyond these areas.”

But the council is not willing to change its proposed venue. Rashadi said they would go ahead with their protest.

“We are not going to accept the options given by the police. The Council activists will move towards the venue. We all will offer ourselves for arrest and force the police to send us to jail if the gathering is not allowed to assemble at Tiley Wali Masjid,” added Rashadi.

Meanwhile,the North Eastern Railway (NER) is yet to allocate trains for the council members’ travel. The chief PRO at the headquarters Amit Singh said: “The application by the Ulema Council is lying with us,but no booking for trains has been approved so far.”

The NER DRM at Varanasi Dayanand Jha said he is yet to receive any order or information from the headquarters for arranging trains for the Council.

Rashadi,however,said they had deposited Rs 4 lakh with the Azamgarh railway station authorities and they had to forward this amount to the Gorakhpur office. A member of the Council has left for Gorakhpur to submit the receipt of the amount deposited and the formalities would be completed by Wednesday,he claimed.

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