Discredited and ousted Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh [ Images ] was understood to be behind the protest demonstrations at a function organised by Uttar Pradesh [ Images ] Urban Development and Minorities Welfare Minister Azam Khan on his home-ground, Rampur on Monday.
What made it even more embarrassing for Khan was that he had invited SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav [ Images ] as well as Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to launch the government's much hyped scheme for promoting education among girls as also for providing social security to them.
Just before the arrival of the SP bigwigs, thousands of young girls swarmed the streets of Rampur, raising anti-government slogans.
They sought to highlight that the 'Kanya Vidya Dhan' and 'Hamari Beti-Uska Kal' schemes had benefitted only a 'select' group and that thousands of girls had been left out from the list of beneficiaries.
Under the 'Kanya Vidya Dhan' scheme, all girls who pass class XII are entitled to a 'gift' of Rs 30,000 from the government. 'Hamari bet-uska kal' aims at making an ex-gratia payment of Rs 30,000 to Muslims girls who clear class X.
The protesting girls complained that even as the party election manifesto had clearly indicated that the monetary benefit under the scheme would pass on to all girls irrespective of the economic background of their respective families, the formal order passed by the government had imposed a Rs 35,000 annual income cap.
As such only those with an annual family income under Rs 35,000 would be entitled to the special grant.
That is what seems to have irked the protestors, who created such a row that police used force to disperse them. Reports said that the cops misbehaved with the protesting girls some of whom were badly manhandled, before being packed off in police vehicles.
"The protests were politically motivated by a particular political lobby, that has issues with Khan," alleged a local SP activist. He attributed the protests to Singh and his close confidante, film star-turned -Lok Sabha Member of Parliament Jaya Prada [ Images ] , who were at war with Khan for a long time .