NGOs cry foul over activist’s arrest

In a case of somewhat suspect efficiency,the Madhya Pradesh Police arrested a social activist from Harda within 24 hours of an ultimatum...

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Bhopal | Published: February 22, 2009 12:31 am

In a case of somewhat suspect efficiency,the Madhya Pradesh Police arrested a social activist from Harda within 24 hours of an ultimatum given by associations of local industrialists and traders. A host of NGOs and activists have taken to the streets in Harda and Bhopal in protest ever since the February 10 arrest of the activist,Samajwadi Jan Parishad (SJP) leader Shamim Modi.

Since the trade and industrialists’ associations had no direct cases against Modi,who has been sent to judicial custody until February 24,the police arrested her in connection with some offences she allegedly committed two years ago.

The 42-year-old Modi has an MPhil from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and is also a law graduate and is known for fighting for the rights of tribals and other disadvantaged classes of the society in southern Madhya Pradesh.

Harda Industries Association and Vyapari Sangh had on February 9 given a 48-hour ultimatum saying if the Harda administration failed to act against Modi and her husband Anurag,a civil engineer,they would lock the doors of saw mills and other factories in the area. The administration was warned that closure would lead to job losses and a possible law and order problem.

“The arrest was made under pressure from the local industrialists who were worried that they will have to pay more wages and follow labour laws,” SJP national president Suneel alleged.

However,Harda SP K P Venkateshwar Rao said she was faced several cases for instigating tribals against the state and she was arrested “because investigation was complete on that day.” “The arrest has nothing to do with the ultimatum. The investigation in offences against her was going on for a long time,” said additional SP Prembabu Sharma.

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