Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee President Ajay Kumar Lallu was granted bail on Wednesday by a court in Agra for staging a protest against the administration for refusing to allow buses offered by his party to ferry stranded migrants. Hours later, he was arrested again in Lucknow in connection with another case relating to the buses, PTI reported.
Lallu was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 on Wednesday afternoon, media convener of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee Lallan Kumar said. Senior party leaders Pradeep Mathur, Vivek Bansal and Manoj Dixit who were arrested with him, were also released. “But soon after, Lallu was arrested by a team of [the] Lucknow police in connection with a second case filed against him at the Hazratganj police station on Tuesday night,” Kumar added.
The Congress leader has been charged under sections of the Indian Penal Code relating to cheating and forgery. Superintendent of police (City, Agra) Botre Pramod Rohan said that a special police team from Lucknow took Lallu into custody and moved him to the state capital, according to the Hindustan Times.
Lallu was first arrested for protesting on the Bharatpur-Agra highway on Tuesday against the Uttar Pradesh government’s allegations that the list of buses provided by the Congress contained registration numbers of auto rickshaws and cars. A video shared by Congress leader Nadeem Javed showed four police officers carrying Lallu to their car.
In the FIR, the police charged the Congress leaders with unlawful assembly. The Congress leaders were booked under Sections 188 (disobeying order promulgated by a public servant) and 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3 and 4 of the Epidemic Diseases Act.
The Adityanath-led government and the Congress have been wrangling over the transportation arrangements for stranded migrant workers. This began with party leader Priyanka Gandhi’s Vadra’s offer to provide 1,000 buses to the state government. Hundreds of buses massed by the Congress on Uttar Pradesh’s border with Rajasthan were turned back on Wednesday evening.
Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma accused the Congress of indulging in a “political stunt” and claimed that it was found that around 460 vehicles submitted in the list by the Congress were bogus, according to The Hindu. “Out of the 1,000 buses, 297 did not have the fitness certificate, 98 were three-wheelers, cars and ambulances, while 68 vehicles did not have proper papers,” he told the newspaper. “Should we play with the lives of migrants workers by running unfit buses?”
During an online press briefing on Wednesday, Vadra appealed to the Uttar Pradesh government to set aside political differences and prioritise the well-being of migrant workers. “We [Congress] parked 900 buses on Rajasthan-UP border and Ghaziabad border yesterday,” she said. “If these buses had run, about 72,000 people would have reached their homes safely in two days. But our buses were not allowed to enter.”
“The buses have been there for 24 hours now,” she added. “Please give us permission. Please put BJP flags or stickers if you want to but let these buses run.” Vadra added that the Congress would recall the buses if they were not allowed to go through.