Poor Uttar Pradesh farmers branded as Maoists, says Rahul

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    Lucknow, (IANS) Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Friday accused the Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh of branding poor farmers as Maoists for protesting forcible acquisition og their lands.

    “Whenever the poor farmers demand their rights, the officers of Uttar Pradesh government brand them as Naxalites,” Gandhi told a gathering in Siddharthnagar district, some 250 km from Lucknow.

    Referring to his visit to the twin Bhatta-Parsaul villages which witnessed police-farmers clashes earlier this year, the Gandhi scion said: “When I went to meet the farmers there to know about their problems, the government officials told me they were not farmers, but Naxalites.”

    The Congress leader Tuesday embarked upon a five-day mass contact programme ahead of the state assembly polls early next year.