Policeman hits a civilian during a protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Image Courtesy: Outlook India
New Delhi: Continuing with its trend of suppressing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) movement, the Uttar Pradesh police arrested nine persons, including Magsaysay awardee and noted social activist Sandeep Pandey on Monday from Lucknow while they were gearing up to take out a march from iconic Ghanta Ghar to Ujariyaon in Gomti Nagar area of Lucknow. They were released later.
Ghanta Ghar is the area where women have been holding a sit-in protest against the CAA and NRC since January 17 over the past few weeks.
According to senior police officers, Pandey and nine others were produced before the Assistant Commissioner of Police (Hazratganj,) Abhay Mishra, who released them on personal bonds. Assistant Commissioner of Police Durga Prasad Tiwari told media persons that no First Information Report (FIR) has been registered.
The 10 activists who were arrested incldude Ashok Bharti, Sharad Patel, Ravindra, Abyudaya Pratap Singh, Anurag Shukla, Amit Maurya, Rakesh, Kamlesh, Abhishek Gautam and Sandeep Pandey.
It may be noted that ever since the sit-in began at Ghanta Ghar, as many as 10 FIRs have been registered in Lucknow district in connection with the protests against CAA and NRC. Six of these have been registered at Thakurganj police Station where Ghanta Ghar is located, three at Gomti Nagar police station and one at Mohanlalganj police station.
"There is excessive curb on dissent on the issue of CAA-NRC in Uttar Pradesh. The government is using the police as a tool for brutal repression and wants to crush the movement. It is because of the women and their children that the movement against CAA-NRC could emerge and take roots in UP and elsewhere in the country,” said Pandey.
Last month, Pandey had been booked for allegedly making "inappropriate" comments about Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar. He was also placed under house arrest during a protest.
Meanwhile, the protesters at Ghanta Ghar in the state capital are now finding new ways to keep themselves busy during protest hours.
The women who are leading the protest have started bringing embroidery, knitting and crochet work to the protest site.
Women, who are in the forefront of the protest, have also started a makeshift library with the donations from local people, to enable protesters to read books and newspapers.