Lawyers to lay siege to Taj Monday

Agra, Aug 25 : Lawyers demanding a bench of the Allahabad High Court in Agra will hold a protest march and lay siege to the Taj Mahal Monday, an organiser said, adding that tourists inconvenienced by the stir would be presented roses and explained the reasons.

After the daylong siege, the lawyers from Mathura, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etah and Aligarh districts, will also stop traffic on the national highway to Delhi and later march to Rashtrapati Bhavan to present a memorandum to the president.

Convener of the steering committee K.D. Sharma said: "Monday's protest and gherao of the Taj Mahal will be followed by disruption of traffic on the national highways and subsequently a long march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan."

He said the protest was aimed at putting pressure on the state and central governments to accept their demand ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

An organiser said the ruling Samajwadi Party had assured support to the demand for a high court bench in Agra, in keeping with the recommendations of the Justice Jaswant Singh Commission report.

Other political parties, including the Congress and the BJP, and various associations of trade and industries have also supported the lawyers' protest march, he said.

At a press conference here, the leaders of the movement requested visiting tourists to delay their arrival or see the Taj Mahal early Monday, to avoid inconvenience.

The tourists would be presented roses and told what the protest was all about, said a leader.

This is the third time that the Taj Mahal is being used to highlight the demand for the bench.

"Such movements that affect tourism do not send out a positive signal. Why should the Taj be used for demonstrations? The Supreme Court restriction on protests and dharnas around the Taj Mahal should not be lost sight of," a tourism industry leader Rajiv Tiwari told IANS.

Rakesh Chauhan, president of the Agra Hotels and Restaurants Association, supported the protest and told IANS: "Forget tourism, we want the high court bench, which is being denied for decades. It is our right and we must get it."

--IANS (Posted on 25-08-2013)

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