A Samajwadi Party youth leader has said that she was beaten up by the police officers and members of ABVP, the student body linked to the ruling BJP, while taking out a protest against the Yogi Adityanath government. Richa Singh tweeted a picture of herself in the hospital bed with injuries today.
The protests were organised against the denial of permission to Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav to fly to Allahabad, which also rocked the Uttar Pradesh legislature on Wednesday as angry members of the party and ally Bahujan Samaj Party members stalled proceedings of both the Houses.
The decision to ground Mr Yadav has brought his party workers on the warpath across the state. Mr Yadav was on way to the Allahabad University for a function, but was physically stopped by the police from boarding a special flight to Prayagraj, 200 km from Lucknow on Tuesday.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the government had taken action after a request from the university, which was apprehensive about a law and order situation. Mr Yadav's party called it an attempt to "kill democracy".
I was brutally attacked by Allahabad police and ABVP goons yesterday during a student's protest at Allahabad University, I amsuffering jaw and head injury and admitted in https://t.co/I6DzS42Lmw the same time police has framed falce charges and launched an fir. pic.twitter.com/8TsfgyI0hh— Richa Singh (@RichaSingh_Alld) February 13, 2019
Within hours, protests swept through Prayagraj, Jaunpur, Jhansi, Kannauj, Balrampur, Jalaun, Azamgarh and Gorakhpur and state capital Lucknow.
Samajwadi Party supporters on a spree of violence vandalised vehicles and clashed with the police when they came to control the mob. In Prayagraj, parliamentarian Dharmendra Yadav was injured in lathicharge by the police, the party claimed.
In state capital Lucknow, protesters gathered outside the assembly complex and the Governor's House. Others rushed to the airport, the Ground Zero of the trouble.
At Gorakhpur, the home turf of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, roads were blocked by a slogan shouting mob.
Mr Yadav's tweets on his experience, and the photos and videos posted by his party's media cell, had also incensed the opposition parties, which took on the ruling BJP in the parliament and the state assembly. In Rajya Sabha, members of the SP and the other opposition parties held protests over the incident, disrupting the House proceedings.
Photos tweeted by Mr Yadav showed police officers blocking his path to the flight. A video tweeted by his party showed the confrontation that followed.
एक छात्र नेता के शपथ ग्रहण कार्यक्रम से सरकार इतनी डर रही है कि मुझे लखनऊ हवाई-अड्डे पर रोका जा रहा है! pic.twitter.com/eaNrUQX1SX— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) February 12, 2019
In Facebook post, Mr Yadav dubbed it the "remote control politics of two-and-a-half-men".
"I understand the need to ensure the safety of people and property and would never do something to endanger either knowingly. But, to be stopped from speaking, from asking questions that are on everyone's lips - to be prevented from engaging with the youth is just another clear sign of how scared the government is, his post read.