Lucknow- A Foot march, which was planned from Varanasi to Azamgarh, was stopped by Varanasi Police. The march was organized against the proposed Airport on 670 acres of land at Manduri in Azamgarh. Magsaysay Award winner Sandeep Pandey was detained in Sigra station of Varanasi as soon as he landed in the city via Chapra Express. Before being sent back to Lucknow Pandey addressed media persons at Sigra “It is a dictatorship, they are not telling the sections under which we have been detained,” said Pandey.
While Social activist Rajiv Yadav was arrested near Cholapur in Varanasi when he was returning to Azamgarh, “When I got down at Cholapur in Varanasi to drink water some people in a white jeep without a number plate got down and got hold of me and assaulted me.” Yadav adds that, “they also asked mewhere is the pistol as if I am a criminal?" Yadav was produced at the SDM court at Sadar, Azamgarh and released.
The villagers have been protesting at khiriyabadin Azamgarh at the proposed site for the last 75 days against the acquisition of land. The protest has been addressed by many social activists like Megha Patkar and Sandeep Pandey. Pandey says “If Varanasi and Lucknow already have an international airport then why do you need an international airport in Azamgarh and why do you need 670 acres of land if the airport at Lucknow can be built in 80 acres”.
Various social organizations had planned a Foot March from Varanasi to Azamgarh from 24th to 27th December, which was to start from Ambedkar Statue near the district court and would proceed towards Khiriyabad in Azamgarh. The message the yatra wanted to drive home was that if one can walk from Azamgarh to Varanasi there is no need for a second international airport within such a small distance.
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