Thirty-one Dalit activists, including a retired Inspector General of UP Police, were arrested in Lucknow on Monday for allegedly planning to march to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence after holding a seminar protesting against atrocities on the community. They were released later in the day. A group of 41 Dalit activists had come from Gujarat and were detained at Jhansi before being sent back on Sunday when they were on their way to Lucknow with a 125 kg bar of soap for the CM to “clean his casteist ideologies”. They were also supposed to join the seminar and the rally.
Police arrested retired IG SR Darapuri, a retired Lucknow university professor and NCP state president Ramesh Dixit and six others from the Lucknow Press Club where they were supposed to hold the seminar. Twenty-three others, who had come from different districts to attend the event, were held at Chowk area.
Additional Superintendent of Police, Lucknow West, Vikash Chandra Tripathi said, “Police arrested people who were taking out a rally and staging protests in Qaiserbagh and Chowk areas. They were all held under Section 151 of CrPC (arrest to prevent commission of cognizable offences) when they refused to end the protest.”
However, Darapuri said they were not taking out any rally and that they had booked at Press Club around two weeks ago for a seminar on ‘Dalit atrocities and its remedy’. “On Monday afternoon, I reached the Press Club to find heavy police force deployed there. I was told by a policeman that my booking has been cancelled because we did not take permission from the district administration,” said Darapuri.
Those arrested were released later in the evening on personal bonds of Rs 20,000 each, said Additional District Magistrate, West, Santosh Kumar Vaish.