Pune Police take 'preventive action' against activists before PM visit
They also mentioned that 'terrorists were arrested in the city a few days ago' as a reason for the action.
At least three activists were detained by the Pune Police since Monday night, ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Pune on Tuesday. They were released immediately after the PM left the city Tuesday afternoon. The INDIA front along with a few social activists and civil society organisations in the city had organised a protest at Mahatma Phule Mandai, against the PM’s visit to the city while Manipur continues to burn.
Interestingly, all three activists said that while the police cited security reasons, they also mentioned that 'terrorists were arrested in the city a few days ago', though the police deny this.
Sachin Pandule and Appa Anarse from Yuvak Kranti Dal (Yukrand) and Arvind Jakka from the Communist Party of India (CPI) were detained by the police on Monday night, as part of the preventive action.
“They said they were detaining us for security reasons, in the context of the PM’s visit. We were amongst the organisers of the protest at the Mandai and we had planned to wave black flags. We were called to the Kothrud police station last night. They also said that terrorists had been caught in Pune a few days ago. That surprised us because we did not understand what was the relevance,” Pandule tells Indie Journal.
While the activists informed the Kothrud police that the protest was not going to be held in their jurisdiction, the police said that the two still had to come to the station.
However, the other Yukrand activist who was detained, Appa Anarse, said that the police did not inform the two activists upfront that they were being detained.
“We were given notices under CrPC 149 on Monday morning to visit the police station. They just asked us to go and meet them. After going to the police station in the evening, we sat and talked to them for one hour, before they told us that they will not letting us leave,” Anarse said.
Section 149 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) empowers the police to prevent cognisable offences.
Both Pandule and Anarse had cases registered against them previously, but they were all protest-related.
“We always demonstrate peacefully. No one even picks up a stone at our protests. Why should we not be allowed to ask questions to the PM when he is visiting our city? The cases that have been previously filed against us were dismissed by the court upholding our right to protest. How can they hold that against us?” Anarse questions.
When contacted about the reasons behind the detention of these two activists, Kothrud Police Inspector (PI) Hemant Patil refused to give any details.
Detaining activists every time the Prime Minister or the Union Home Minister Amit Shah visits any city in the state seems to have become a common practice in recent times. Aarey protester Tabrez was detained in a similar manner twice this year, when the PM visited Mumbai. Ambedkarite activist Rahul Pradhan was detained in Nanded a couple of months ago when Shah visited the city.
CPI’s Arvind Jakka also shared a story similar to that of the Yukrand activists. He said that he was taken to the Sinhagad police station on Monday and then detained.
“I was involved in the process of seeking permissions for Tuesday’s protest. It is possible that this might be the reason why they detained me,” Jakka said.
He also said that the police mentioned the arrest of terrorists while detaining him.
Congress leaders detained in Pune for displaying black flags to protest against PM Modi's conferment of the Lokmanya Tilak award .pic.twitter.com/9GX0Mm1Izr— Surbhi (@SurrbhiM) August 1, 2023
However, when contacted, Nitin Khutwad of Sinhagad police station denied doing so and said that he was detained because he posted on social media that he was going to protest.
“It was not just him. The police have detained others at other police stations,” Khutwad said.
Apart from these activists, Congress leaders also alleged that several of their party workers were detained by the police last night. Congress leaders Mohan Joshi, Ravindra Dhangekar and Ramesh Bagwe were detained by police for a while on Monday morning, when they protested against the PM's arrival. Several major leaders at the protest like Nationalist Congress Party leader Prashant Jagtap, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Ajit Abhyankar were issued notices under section 151 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
“I have been a part of the movement for the last 35-40 years. I have never faced a preventive action like this. We have always received Section 151 notices and we have continued protests despite that. This is the first time that I was detained because I was going to protest,” Jakka says.
Meanwhile, close to 1,000 people from across Pune, including party workers, activists and common people, participated in the protest against the PM’s visit to the city today. Manipuri citizens, predominantly from the Kuki-Zo communities, residing in Pune, were also part of the protest.