Agra lawyers, activists march for high court bench
Thousands of lawyers and activists of various political parties Wednesday began a march to the Taj Mahal to demand a high court bench at Agra.
The Jaswant Singh Commission set up by the central government in early 1980s had specifically recommended Agra for setting up a bench of the Allahabad High Court.
Uttar Pradesh already has its high court located at Allahabad, one of the oldest in the country, with a bench at Lucknow.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh's meeting with Law Minister Ashwini Kumar three days ago for a high court bench at Meerut had ignited the agitation. However, Jayant Choudhary - Ajit Singh's son and MP from Mathura - has supported Agra's case.
The police have diverted traffic to avoid inconvenience to tourists, as it is the peak tourist season here.
The leaders of the high court bench movement have assured district authorities that they would remain peaceful and abide by guidelines laid down.
According to the directives of the apex court, no demonstration or meeting can be held within 500 metres of the Taj Mahal.
Since all major associations and unions in the city are supporting the high court bench issue, the number of agitators could be fairly large for the police to cope with.
Agra Mayor Inderjeet Arya, leaders of various political parties, students and lawyers from Mathura, Firozabad, Aligarh and other neighbouring areas have joined the march.
A public meeting at the Purani Mandi crossing will be held later in the day and a memorandum addressed to the president of India would be presented to district magistrate Ajay Chauhan.
Since morning there has been a massive deployment of security forces around the Taj Mahal and the road from the Yamuna Expressway via Yamuna Kinara road, is heavily guarded.