Ratlam : Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav, social activists Medha Patkar, Swami Agnivesh and JNUSU president Mohit Kumar Pandey were detained by the police on Sunday when they were trying to enter restive Mandsaur district in Madhya Pradesh to meet the deceased farmers’ kin.
The activists, backed by at least 100 people, claimed by officials, were detained by the police under the Preventive Custody Act 151 for violating Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Act.
According to officials, the activists were repeatedly advised not to enter the violence hit district as Section 144 was imposed, which prohibits the assembly of more than four people in an area.
“Under the Section 144, more than four to five people cannot assemble. We repeatedly requested them to follow the orders. There are at least 100 people with them. It is clearly a violation of the rule. Hence we first cautioned them and then took action,” Mandsaur’s Sub Divisional Magistrate R. P. Verma told ANI.
However, Yogendra Yadav claimed that there were only four of them and were following the orders diligently.
“We don’t know why we were arrested, there is no curfew. We did not violate Section 144. When we asked for the order they did not show it to us. What democracy is this?” Yadav told ANI.
Expressing similar concerns Swami Agnivesh said, “It seems that rule of law is only applicable to those who believe in non-violence. The police are only meant to stop us and not for those who indulge in hooliganism.”
Superintendent of Police Deepak Kumar Shukla has said that the activists have been placed under police custody and will be cautioned to not to enter the district again.
“We have taken them into custody under the Cr.PC 151. We will take them to Jaora where some paperwork needs to be done and some conditions will be imposed on them. We will ask them not to go to Mandsaur, if they still persist, we will arrest them and put them in jail,” Shukla told ANI.
Mandsaur has been in the grip of intense farmers’ agitation who have been protesting against loan waiver and good prices for their produce.
On June 6, the curfew was imposed after five farmers were killed in police firing during a farmers’ protest. (ANI)