Greater Noida: After arresting Rahul Gandhi late on Wednesday night for joining the farmers’ protest over land acquisition in a Greater Noida village, UP police released the Congress general secretary hours later.

Rahul Gandhi was arrested by the UP police capping a day of high drama after he slipped in unnoticed in pre-dawn hours to support the farmers agitating against the state's land acquisition process for an expressway project.

After a three-hour midnight drama of arrest and release, Rahul Gandhi was fiinally escorted back to Delhi by the UP police through the DND expressway and left at the inter-state bus terminus at Sarai Kale Khan bringing an end to a nearly 24-hour sequence of events.

Gandhi, who spent almost 19 hours at Bhatta Parasul, the epicentre of the farmers' agitation, was arrested under Sec 151 CrPC at around 11:00 p.m. and was taken to the Kasna police station.

He was released on bail by the Uttar Pradesh Police and brought to Delhi at 2:15 a.m.

He was arrested along with AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh, UP Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Congress MPs Raj Babbar and Parvez Hashmi, and other Congress leaders.

At the Kasna police station in Greater Noida, a Delhi suburb, Gandhi questioned the grounds on which he was arrested. "They are not showing us the documentation," he said.

"Our fight against the Mayawati government will continue. We will be happy to go to jail on farmers' issues," Digvijay Singh told reporters soon after their release.

He wanted the National Human Rights Commission to look into the matter.

Digvijay Singh said the Congress would stage a strong protest against Gandhi's arrest on Thursday.

At late night press conference in Lucknow, UP Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh the situation in Bhatta Parasaul was calm and attempts were being made to vitiate the
atmosphere there.

The UP Cabinet Secretary said there were no prohibitory orders in force in Bhatta Parasaul since this morning as the orders were in place till only May 10.

Singh said prohibitory orders were re-imposed in the area after Congress leaders sought permission from the state authorities to hold a rally in the village.

Congress attacked Mayawati for Gandhi's arrest with AICC General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi saying UP has witnessed "the cruellest rule of several imperialistic regimes".

"UP government's action in arresting Rahul Gandhi proves that Mayawati is digging her own grave," Dwivedi said.

"If any sense of justice is left in the government, judicial inquiry is the minimum that the state government should order immediately," he said.

Maya slams opposition for provoking farmers

Blaming opposition for creating ruckus in her state and agitating the farmers Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati lashed out at the opposition parties for charring violence in Bhatta Parsaul and doing nothing to bring a new law for land acquisition.

"There was total peace in Bhatta Parsaul. But the opposition parties are trying to spark a law and order problem by provoking the farmers of the area", Mayawati was quoted as
saying by UP Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh.

She claimed the villagers of Bhatta Parsaul, the epicentre of the farmers' agitation against land acquisition by the state government, have made no demand and the situation
there was "totally peaceful".

However, it was the opposition parties which had made the demand and created a law and order problem by provoking the farmers, Singh told a press conference shortly after midnight.

Rahul Gandhi security breached

Kasna: The Congress General Secretary had a narrow escape after a major breach in his security after a youth armed with a country-made pistol and standing close to the Congress leader was detained on Wednesday night at Kasna police station.

The youth, whose identity was not immediately available, was held by the police who seized a pistol from his waist.

The youth, who appeared to be in his twenties, was present among a crowd of people close to Rahul Gandhi who was taken to Kasna police station after being arrested at Bhatta
Parasul - the epicentre of farmers' agitation against land acquisition by Uttar Pradesh government.

Gandhi had gone to Bhatta Parasul to express solidarity with the farmers.

The youth was later handed to the Special Protection Group personnel guarding Gandhi and questioned.

Agencies