Senior Congress leader and water resources minister Salman Khushid has urged the state government in Uttar Pradesh to allow people to carry on a peaceful protest and not violate their “democratic right” to do so.
Khurshid’s comment came in the wake of the UP Government imposing section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code of India which prevents mass assembly. The Congress government at the Centre had recently dispersed another peaceful protest at Ramlila Grounds and imposed section 144.
“If we don’t have a right to protest, we don’t have anything at all. We can understand the government’s nervousness,” Khurshid said.
Congress, in an effort to take advantage of the negative sentiments created by recent incidents of violence in UP, is conducting a ‘Nyay Yatra’ in Lucknow, the capital of UP. However, the UP Government imposed the Section 144 in anticipation of the rally, despite which the Congress led its workers in the march. The police are currently blocking the protesters using steel barricades.
“I hope the Government will show a degree of restraint and respect for democracy,” Khurshid said.
UP Congress leader Rita Bahuguna said the party workers would rather be arrested than withdraw from their Yatra.