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The former UP chief minister was on way to Auraiya to attend a rally organised by his party to protest against alleged police brutality on Samajwadi workers on Wednesday during the filing of nomination papers for zila panchayat chairperson’s by-poll. Akhilesh was released later but wasn’t allowed to attend the protest.

In a move that is set to trigger a fresh political outrage against the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav was, on Thursday, detained by the UP police in Unnao district when he was on his way to Auraiya to attend a protest rally.

The Samajwadi Party president, who was later released and asked to go to Lucknow instead of Auraiya, attacked the Yogi Adityanath government alleging that it was misusing state machinery to rein in political rivals of the BJP.

Akhilesh, whose party suffered a humiliating defeat in the UP assembly polls earlier this year paving the way for the Adityanath government, was stopped near an under-construction toll plaza in the Hasanganj police station area on the Lucknow-Agra Expressway. He was taken to the agriculture research centre in Dhaurhara from where he was allowed to return to Lucknow, Circle Officer Dhirendra Kumar Singh said.

Yadav hit out at the BJP saying: “I was going to Auriaya to meet my party workers who were subjected to barbaric police action. The state government wants to win the zila panchayat post by misusing official machinery. My workers did not do anything wrong in Auraiya…This dictatorial attitude with the help of police will not be tolerated. The BJP is only doing politics over cow (sic).”

The rally in Auraiya was organised by the Samajwadi Party to protest against alleged police brutality on the party’s workers, on Wednesday, during the filing of nomination papers for the by-election for the post of zila panchayat chairperson. The UP police had also arrested former SP MLA Pradeep Yadav in Auraiya on Wednesday. Akhilesh was scheduled to meet Pradeep Yadav in Auraiya on Thursday.

Auraiya City Circle Officer Bashkar Verma has, however, maintained that the clash started after SP workers targeted vehicles, including one of a BJP MLA’s brother.

Unnao Additional SP Ashtabhuja Singh said Akhilesh and his supporters were detained under section 151 of CrPC and kept at Virendra Kumar Singh Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Hasanganj area of the district. “He was on his way to Auraiya when he was detained. He was released on a personal bond and left for Lucknow,” said Singh.

According to a report by news agency PTI, Akhilesh’s detention immediately triggered incidents of roadblock, arson and ransacking of vehicles in Kanpur and Allahabad districts with SP workers coming out on the streets to protest against the police action.

SP state president Naresh Uttam, MLA Amitabh Bajpai and several other party workers were also detained in Kanpur. In Lucknow, about a dozen SP workers staged a sit-in at the gate of the secretariat building that houses the Chief Minister’s Office where they tried to block the entry before being removed from there by the police.

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