Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde is accused of ordering the “arrest” of an undergraduate student for recording a conversation between him and a fellow student following which he faced criticism.
However, the minister has denied the charge. While speaking to the news agency PTI on Sunday, he stated that “It is some sort of a lie that is being spread against me. I did not order the arrest of any student in Amravati.”
The student, Yuvraj Dabad, alleged that the local police arrested him for a couple of hours and seized his smartphone on the instructions of the minister. The incident received a sharp reaction on Twitter, including from Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray, whose party shares power with Mr Tawde’s party, the BJP, in the state.
Every student must read this. “The education minister of Maharashtra directs cops to arrest student”. Why? Because he was shooting an interaction! No tough questions please!
They want Youth only to man their electoral booths, not answer questions about education & jobs. pic.twitter.com/X7iv7XZzLs
— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) January 5, 2019
The incident allegedly took place when the minister was leaving after his speech at the event where he inaugurated an elocution competition at a college in Amravati. Some students approached him, seeking his response on a free-education policy.
Prashant Rathod, who was scolded by the minister stated that “I was told by Education Minister Vinod Tawde to start working somewhere if I could not afford the educational expenses.”
Mr Tawde then asked Yuvraj Dabad who was recording the video at that time to turn off the recording of the interaction. When he refused, the minister asked the police to arrest him, Rathod was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
He said he declined the minister’s order because “he (Tawde) was not answering our queries, we were simply asking questions to him and seeking his views.”
Yuvraj further stated that “As Tawde ordered the police to arrest me, I was taken out of the college premises and detained for some time. My handset was returned after a couple of hours.”
However, the minister in his response said he had a good interaction with students at the college for almost two-and-a-half hours. He said “The students, who have levelled charges against me, met me outside the hall and tried to ask some questions to me. They are the ones who are spreading lies about me.”
The minister further stated that “Some of those students also came with pamphlets with ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ written on them and distributed them among the other students. They were the ones who alleged that I ordered the arrest. It is completely false.”
Amravati Police Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Baviskar asserted that “The student was only taken outside the college and no student was arrested or detained and nothing was deleted from anyone’s mobile phone.”