February 7, 2021 2:23:00 am
Several trade union leaders in the capital were Saturday placed under preventive detention by the Delhi Police, ostensibly to stop their participation in a ‘solidarity assembly’ near ITO to coincide with the nationwide chakka jam by farmer unions. Around 60 people were also detained from the protest spot.
Metro stations in the area including ITO, Mandi House, Delhi Gate, Lal Qila, Janpath, Jama Masjid and Central Secretariat, were closed around 10.40 am and only opened around 4 pm.
Delhi Police PRO Chinmoy Biswal said, “We found some persons protesting on the road and removed them to resume traffic at ITO for the general public. We took preventive measures and detained a few persons in the morning. They were released later. There was this call for a chakka jam yesterday and we had to make sure that nobody takes advantage of this and troubles the public. Based on our inputs, a few individuals were detained.”
Trade union leaders from organisations such as the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) and Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan (PMS) were among those put in preventive detention. They were all part of the organisation, Delhi For Farmers, which had given the call for an assembly at the Shaheed Park at ITO.
CITU North Delhi vice-president Vipan Kumar said he was detained around 12.30 am on Friday, and let go at 3.30 pm Saturday, after being taken to three different police stations.
“I was first called to the Swaroop Nagar police station near my home under the pretense of helping someone who had got involved in a car accident. Once I reached, I was told the SHO of Samaypur Badli police station wanted to speak to me but I would be let off soon. Later they took me to Bhalswa Dairy police station to meet the ACP. He asked the same questions which I had already answered, and I was finally only released around 3.30 pm,” he said.
Animesh Das, president of IFTU Delhi, claimed he was detained for over 12 hours at Govindpuri police station: “Three policemen came to my place around 6 am and said I need to come with them to the police station because the SHO wanted to speak to me. There, my phone was taken and only given back to me after 12 pm once people had started getting detained from the spot. However, they let me use it whenever it rang. I was only released at around 6.30 pm.”
Das also said he was asked if they planned to hold any chakka jam, which he clearly denied.
Poonam Kaushik, general secretary of PMS and one of the coordinators for the event, claimed she was detained inside her home at Malikpur village, which comes under the jurisdiction of Mukherjee Nagar police station. “We had already intimated police about this event, and made it clear that it was a peaceful assembly, not a chakka jam. Yet at 7.30 am, there were police personnel outside my home who stopped me from leaving. They stayed till 6.30 pm,” she said.
AIUTUC’s state secretary manager Chorasiya also claimed he was prevented from going out by police from 7 am. He said this was an attempt by police to “suppress people’s movements”.
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