Journalists, Kejriwal's team assaulted in Khurshid's district

Members of India Against Corruption and two journalist were attacked with actual brickbats as they were returning from a village in Farrukhabad district of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.

The IAC team, led by its local convenor Laxman Singh and accompanied by a couple of journalists, had driven to Pitaura village in the Kayamganj area of the district to investigate allegations about graft in a social organisation trust run by union law minister Salman Khurshid and his wife Louise. As they were returning, they were first threatened and then their car was stoned by a bunch of unidentified people.

The assault follows what is seen as a veiled threat issued by the law minister in a TV interview on Tuesday. "Let him come to Farrukhabad ... but will he be able to return from Farrukhabad?" Khurshid said, referring to IAC leader Arvind Kejriwal who has alleged corruption in the Dr Zakir Hussain Trust, meant to help disabled people.

He further said that so far he had ''wielded a pen'' but he could replace "ink with blood".

Farrukhabad is Khurshid's parliamentary constituency, and Pitaura is his native village.

Lakshman Singh said he along with the chairman of NGO Lok Samiti, Sultan Singh, Delhi-based journalist Munna Lal Rajput, and local journalist Abhinandan Mishra, was returning through Pitaura when their car was attacked. Singh said had gone to check on allegations that funds supposedly given to physically handicapped people by the trust were actually never disbursed.
 
"As we were returning from the shop of beneficiary Rangi Lal Mistry in Jhabbupur village from Pitaura, an unidentified youth stopped our vehicle and after manhandling and abusing us, threatened us with dire consequences if we were seen again.

''After that, another group of people chased us and pelted bricks and stones on our car near Barjhala village when we were on our way to Farrukhabad from Qayamganj town following a similar survey to cross-check credentials of physically handicapped persons," Singh told a newspaper.

Khurshid's TV comments may have instigated his followers; they have definitely not gone down well with educated people. ''Imagine a law minister using such intemperate language, referring to bloody vengeance. He should be transferred from his post if the Manmohan Singh government has any dignity,'' said a college student in Kanpur, the major town in the district.