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My life is in danger: Joshi
Published on 20 Jul. 2009 11:35 PM IST
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Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who was arrested and whose house was set on fire following her remarks against Chief Minister Mayawati, Monday said her life was “in danger” and Mayawati could plan attack on her. “After setting my residence on fire by her goons, Mayawati can now also plan attacks on me. My life is in danger now, but I am not scared. I have lived a lot but I will continue to fight for the poor, the oppressed and for women’s rights,” Joshi said at a press conference here. Terming Mayawati as a fascist dictator, Joshi said, “It’s not the rule of law in Uttar Pradesh...It’s only ‘Maya rule’ that does not allow anyone to raise voice against the state government...If anyone does, he is gagged and implicated falsely.” Reiterating the demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the arson attack on her house, Joshi said, “If the Bahujan Samaj Party government fails to recommend the CBI inquiry by July 31, we will hit roads across the state from Aug 1. Even the (Congress) high-command has given its acceptance in this regard.” Joshi was arrested after being charged with denigrating Dalits and Mayawati in a speech last Wednesday. She was released from jail Saturday after being granted interim bail. Her house in Lucknow was set on fire Wednesday night allegedly by a group of BSP workers following her remarks that offended Mayawati. Joshi has already apologised for her remarks and demanded a CBI probe into the arson attack on her house. However, she denied having made any anti-Dalit remarks. She said she was ready to take retirement from politics if it was proven that she had ever made casteist remarks. “I have never made any casteist remarks... I challenge Mayawati if she proves this, I will retire from politics.” “What I said in Moradabad, while addressing a road-side reception only conveyed my strong sentiments towards insensitiveness of the Mayawati government for poor women.” Joshi alleged while in the Moradabad district jail, she was treated like a terrorist on the directions of Mayawati. “I was not allowed to meet my family members...problems were created in my legal assistance...I was kept in a barrack housing nearly 65-68 inmates,” she said. Joshi said there were evidences against Mayawati and her ministers who planned and carried out arson attack on her house. She alleged that the vehicle used by the miscreants, who carried out the attack was recovered by police and that it belonged to a BSP leader, who is attached to the Mayawati’s trusted lieutenant Babu Singh Kushwaha. “We have learnt that the vehicle was recovered from Lucknow. However, police authorities are trying their best to cover up the case on the directions of Mayawati.” Deputy Inspector General Prem Prakash, refuting the charges, told IANS: “It’s still to be established whether the vehicle was used by the assailants.” Arson case suspect ‘rewarded’: Cong The Congress Monday alleged that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati had “rewarded” Intezar Abidi, a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader accused in the arson attack on Congress state chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s residence, by giving him a “plum post”. Joshi once again demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the attack. The Congress said Abidi had been appointed chairman of the State Sugar Corporation, a post equivalent to that of minister of state. “From our reliable sources we have learnt that Abidi has been rewarded with the plum post. He was also seen travelling in a red-beacon car,” Akhilesh Pratap Singh, the chief spokesperson of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, told IANS. “By this, it becomes very clear that Mayawati is not hesitant in giving patronage to criminals and anti-social elements... After all, it was she (Mayawati) who sponsored the attacks,” Singh said. There has been no official statement by the state government on Abidi’s new post and BSP leaders were unavailable for comment. Joshi, on her return from New Delhi, said Abidi’s appointment shows that the state government was involved in the attack. “The person against whom I had lodged complaint has been made chairman of the Sugar Corporation. This shows the state government was involved in the attack. This must be probed by CBI,” Joshi said. “It depicts the ‘jungle raj’ prevailing in the state. Nothing less than a CBI inquiry will satisfy us... if the Mayawati government fails to recommend the (CBI) inquiry, we will move the High Court to get justice,” Joshi told reporters here after arriving at the Charbagh railway station. The 60-year-old state Congress chief said she would continue her fight for the sake of truth. “At any cost, I will not step back and will continue the fight to safeguard my principles and, of course, the truth.” “The CBI inquiry will not only unmask the state government but will also expose those police officials who connived with the BSP workers to set my residence afire,” she added. Abidi and BSP legislator Jitendra Singh have been accused of arson and vandalism at Joshi’s residence in Lucknow. A police report has been registered against them on a complaint by the Congress. Joshi’s house in Lucknow was set on fire Wednesday night allegedly by a group of BSP workers because she made remarks that offended Mayawati both as a woman and a Dalit. Joshi was arrested early Thursday and charged under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. She was granted bail by a Moradabad court Saturday. Joshi has already apologised for her remarks and demanded that the probe into the arson attack on her house be conducted by the CBI.

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