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Varun shifted to Etah jail
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, April 1
The Mayawati government today denied that the midnight shifting of Varun Gandhi from Pilibhit to Etah jail had anything to do with threats from terrorists.

“Today there was a call for Pilibhit bandh. As the district administration was already under pressure, the state government had requested the Election Commission for permission to shift Varun elsewhere. The permission came and he was shifted. There is nothing more to it,” maintained Director General of Police (DGP) Vikram Singh.

In a joint press conference, Principal Secretary, Home, Kunwar Fateh Bahadur and DGP Vikram Singh categorically denied news appearing in a section of the media regarding threats of a terrorist attack on Varun, the BJP candidate for Pilibhit seat, as “far from true”.

The DGP said the inflammatory speeches of Varun, his appearance in the court with a large number of supporters and the violence that followed had put the law and order situation of the district under severe stress.

“As they (district administration) also have to conduct an election and Varun is a candidate, the state government had asked the EC for permission to shift him elsewhere. When the EC permission arrived Varun was shifted to Etah,” pointed out the DGP.

Refusing to elaborate if the state government had received an Intelligence Bureau alert regarding a security threat to Varun, Singh said, “Security is a sensitive issue and should not be debated in public.”

He also refused to comment why the NSA detainee was shifted to Etah, 200 km away from Pilibhit rather than Bareilly, which is next door.

According to sources, the large number of Varun supporters cooling their heels outside the Pilibhit jail had become a nuisance for the administration. A mango orchard just outside the jail premises had turned into a waiting room of sorts. Also, media presence and their OB vans parked right in front of the jail compound is adding to the problems.

Denying any political motive on the part of the state government to shift him to Etah from where former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh is contesting as an independent candidate, sources said Etah jail was the closest outside the Bareilly division, under which Pilibhit falls.

Varun has been booked under the National Security Act (NSA) for inciting communal tensions by making provocative and inflammatory speeches during the meetings held on March 7 at Dalganj and on March 8 at Barkhera area of Pilibhit.

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