Lucknow police on Monday cane-charged Congress leaders and workers as they led a protest march in the state capital and tried to gherao the Vidhan Sabha during its monsoon session.More than 1,500 Congress workers and leaders were arrested on charge of violating prohibitory orders, an official said.Police said they cane-charged the protestors after they refused to heed to the plea not to proceed to the high-security zone of the state assembly. Police said Congressmen attacked policemen and pelted security personnel with stones.Police used water cannons to disperse the unruly protesters as they tried to proceed from the Laxman Mela grounds to the Vidhan Sabha. Prominent leaders who courted arrest included state president Nirmal Khatri, Rajya Sabha MP Raj Babbar, national general secretary Madhusudan Mistry and legislator from Cantt, Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
IG (public grieveances) Ashok Mutha Jain said a district official and four civilians were hurt in the incident. On the other hand, the Congress flayed the Akhilesh Yadav government and termed the cane charge "unprovoked"and "an attempt by the Akhilesh Yadav government to quell dissent".The Congress had announced a protest march to press for an 11-point charter of demands. Congress sympathiser Shehzaad Poonawala has since petitioned the National Human Rights Commission against the cane charge which he termed "barbaric and uncalled for".