Police personnel were stationed outside the SP office and the residences of its leaders in Lucknow hours before the scheduled protest. Heavy police deployment was also visible near the Legislative Assembly in Hazratganj.
The protest was scheduled to start in front of the statue of former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh on the Assembly premises.
#Lucknow: SP MLA Samarpal from Amroha after being stopped by cops to enter Vidhan Sabha. https://t.co/M9q4Ttwlcp
— TOI Lucknow News (@TOILucknow) 1663136567000
The police personnel deployed outside the SP office stopped the party’s leaders from reaching the Legislative Assembly for the protest. They were instead taken to Eco-Garden.
Joint Commissioner of Police Piyush Mordia told reporters outside the SP office, “There is no permission to stage a protest at the Legislative Assembly. The protestors are being taken to Eco-Garden, which is the designated spot for protests in the city.”
However, party leaders opposed the police action. “Government should stop killing democracy! Police did not allow SP MLAs, who were going to stage protests to raise issues of public interest in the Legislative Assembly, to leave their homes. Now police are also stopping the media, the fourth pillar of democracy, from speaking to the MLAs. Disgusting,” said a tweet in Hindi from the party’s official handle.
On Tuesday, the SP announced plans to protest every day for a few hours from September 14 to 18. Senior leaders would lead the protest on different days till September 18, the party had said.
The monsoon session of the Assembly is scheduled to begin from September 19.
At a press conference to announce its plans, SP party MLA Manoj Pandey said the party would raise issues such as the state’s “collapsed” law and order, rising inflation, unemployment, false cases against opposition parties, drought crisis, and problems of sugarcane farmers.
Pandey also alleged that false cases were being lodged against opposition party leaders, especially those of the SP, on behalf of the ruling BJP. He said there was an increase in crimes against women and gross negligence in the health sector.