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J&K Cong stages protest against UP violence, Priyanka Gandhi’s detention

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JKPCC president briefly detained during protest

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president Ghulam Ahmad Mir was briefly detained by police here on Tuesday as the party took out a protest march against the detention of Priyanka Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh.

Gandhi was detained on Monday in Sitapur in UP while on her way to Lakhimpur where eight people were killed in violence on Sunday. Four of the dead were farmers allegedly knocked down by vehicles driven by BJP workers travelling to welcome Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.

As part of the country-wide protests against the detention of the party general secretary, scores of Congress leaders and activists, led by the JKPCC president, tried to take out a protest march from the party office at M A Road here.

However, as soon as the protesters reached M A Road, police swung into action and tried to disperse them.

Police also detained Mir and took him to police station Kothibagh here. Mir was released after a brief detention.

Police also dispersed the protesters, during which one Congress activist suffered minor injuries, officials said.

Before being taken into detention, Mir told reporters that the protest was in support of the farmers who were protesting against the three farm laws as well as to express solidarity with their party general secretary.

“Today, Congress workers will remain on the roads across the country till she is released. This protest is to express solidarity with her and to support the farmers,” he said.

In Jammu also, Congress staged a protest outside the party headquarters.

The protesters jumped police barricades, marched on the busy Residency Road for a short distance, raised slogans against the BJP government for its “dictatorial rule” and harming democratic institutions, before concluding the demonstration peacefully.

Led by J&K Congress vice-president Raman Bhalla, the party activists gathered outside its headquarters at Shaheedi Chowk in the city to lodge their protest against the “shameful and ruthless killing” of farmers and the UP police detaining Gandhi. They demanded a judicial probe into the incident.

“We have assembled here to strongly condemn the killing of the farmers and lodge our protest against the dictatorship of the BJP governments, both in Uttar Pradesh and at the Centre,” Bhalla told reporters amid high pitch sloganeering by party activists in support of Gandhi and against the killing of farmers.

Bhalla said the Congress leader had tried to go there to “wipe the tears” of the bereaved families but was detained in an “unconstitutional and unethical” manner.

“We will continue our protest against the BJP governments, which are intoxicated by power. We will press for revocation of the three farm laws. The farmers are on the streets for nearly a year but this government is not paying any heed,” the Congress leader said.

Condemning the UP government, he demanded immediate release of Gandhi.

Youth Congress leader Uday Bhanu Chib, who was also part of the protest, said the people of Uttar Pradesh have lost faith in the BJP governments both in the state and at the centre.

“The strong-arm tactics against peaceful protests is the hallmark of the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh,” he said, demanding “restoration” of democracy and rule of law in the state. (With PTI inputs)

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