Social activist Medha Patkar and Association for Protection of Democratic Rights member Sujato Bhadra were among the eight persons arrested at Debra while they were on their way to Lalgarh on Friday. They were taken to Debra police station and later released.
According to Bhadra,the police pilot car that was escorting them was stopped on National Highway 6.
The Debra police station OC said we cannot go towards Lalgarh as Section 144 of the CrPC has been imposed there, he said. He,however,claimed that Section 144 has not been imposed at Debra and alleged that the police had illegally arrested them.
We will file a petition in the Calcutta High Court against the police action, Bhadra said. He also accused the police of beating up Gopal Menon,who was a part of the group visiting Lalgarh.
West Midnapore SP Manoj Verma claimed the activists were stopped as they were headed towards Lalgarh where the police were conducting operations against Maoists. So,the police had put them under preventive arrest, he claimed.
After being released,Patkar organised a rally in the area. The activists,along with 300 locals,marched from the police station to the Debra Market. Supporters of Trinamool Congress and the Congress also blocked NH-6 for an hour. Meanwhile,state DGP Bhupinder Singh and DG (CRPF) A S Gill visited Lalgarh on Friday. IG (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia and other senior officers were also present during the visit.
There were no reports of any untoward incident, Kanojia said. After entering Kantapahari on Wednesday,the joint forces have not conducted any fresh operation in Lalgarh. The administration continued with relief operations. Now,gram panchayats are distributing relief among the villagers. Normalcy is gradually returning to the villages, said Lalgarh BDO Saurav Barik.