Shutdown disrupts life in Uttar Pradesh

Lucknow, July 5 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Samajwadi Party activists Monday took to streets, stopped trains and clashed with police in Uttar Pradesh to enforce an all-India shutdown in the state against rising prices of food and other essential commodities.

BJP leaders including Arun Jaitley, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Lalji Tandon joined hundreds of party activists here and courted arrest.

Akhilesh Yadav, son of Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, also offered himself for arrest here with senior party leaders.

‘The arrest is in protest against the wrong economic policies of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government …the policies are a burden on poor people,’ Jaitley told reporters here.

Police used batons and sprayed water when oppositon workers forced their way through barriers along the Vikramaditya Marg and the Vidhan Sabha Marg here.

Though police claimed no one was seriously injured, the activists alleged a number of their colleagues were admitted to different hospitals.

‘We had just stepped outside of our party office when police started assaulting us unnecessarily… we were not carrying out any violent demonstration,’ Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav told reporters here.

Carrying out their demonstrations separately, the BJP and Samajwadi Party workers disrupted rail routes and stopped several trains in Allahabad, Varanasi, Jaunpur, Ferozabad, Etawah and Chandauli districts.

Some of the halted trains include the Lucknow-bound Shatabdi, Ganga-Gomti Express, Agra-Kanpur Passenger, Bhatni Passenger and Allahabad Passenger.

‘We have rounded up six Samajwadi Party workers near Phaphamau railway station for disrupting rail train trffic stopping the Ganga-Gomti Express train,’ Additional Superintendent of Police S.S. Bhaghel said in Allahabad, about 200 km from Lucknow.

Roads traffic was blocked in several districts including Agra where Samajwadi activists damaged a number of buses and other vehicles plying on the road.

Last month, the central government ended government curbs on petroleum pricing and hiked the prices of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas. The price of diesel went up by Rs.2 a litre, kerosene by Rs.3 a litre, petrol by Rs.3.50 a litre, and cooking gas by Rs.35 per cylinder.

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