Khanna, supporters detained, freed
Hoshiarpur October 9:
BJP Rajya Sabha member Avinash Rai Khanna was detained by the police while holding a rally adjacent to a FCI godown in the local grain market today to press the Centre to distribute foodgrains among the poor in the light of the apex court order.
As a part of the nationwide protests, this was the first agitation in the state led by Khanna. To prevent the leader from entering the godown, the police had made tight security arrangements at the venue.
However, after addressing the gathering, Khanna moved towards the godown to distribute foodgrains among the poor but was detained by the police just a few yards from a barricade set up by the police. Khanna, along with his supporters, was made to sit in a police vehicle and was taken to the Police Lines. However, after a brief conversation with protesters, SP Sukhwinder Singh let them off.
Khanna claimed that he had organised the agitation to press the Centre to comply with the Supreme Court order for free distribution of foodgrains stored in godowns among the poor. While the percentage of people below poverty line had increased to 39 per cent from 27 per cent, the Centre had turned a blind eye to their problems, he added.
He said people who were living on footpaths, railway stations and bus stands were facing starvation while on the other hand, lakhs of tonnes of foodgrain were rotting in want of space and consumers. Meanwhile, fissures between Khanna and state Forest Minister Tiksan Sud came to the fore as none of Sudís supporters participated in the protest.
Sud was of the view that such types of protests were against the ideology of the BJP. He said the Centre should frame a proper policy to distribute foodgrains among the poor through the public distribution system.