A day after City Kotwali police invoked the stringent IPC section 121A (conspiring to wage, or attempt to wage war, or abet waging of war against the government of India), against four women Anganwadi workers, Sitapur district’s superintendent of police (SP) on Sunday said the section had been “wrongly invoked” and they would move court seeking its withdrawal.
The section was invoked after the four workers were found to have been involved in two incidents in which FIRs had been lodged. Senior Sub-Inspector of City Kotwali police station Iqbal Haider said, “On December 4, Anganwadi workers staged a protest outside the collectorate and later blocked the Lucknow-Sitapur Highway by sitting on the road. Workers who sat on the road raised slogans against the state government and asked them to fulfil their 13 demands, which included increase in their honorarium and regularisation of their jobs. The protest was withdrawn after an hour when senior officials of the district administration and police reached the spot and assured that their demands would be forwarded to the state government.”
On a complaint filed by Sub-Inspector Mahendra Pratap Singh, an FIR against 29 named and 65-70 unidentified Anganwadi workers was lodged at the City Kotwali police station under IPC sections 147 (rioting) and 341 (wrongful restraint). No arrests were made at the time.
On Friday, four Anganwadi workers — identified as Neetu Singh, Sarita Verma, Manju Vanshwar and Santosh Kumari — were arrested when they allegedly attempted to stop the cavalcade of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath during his visit to Sitapur, and also entered into an argument with the police.
A case against them was lodged at Mishrikh police station under IPC sections 147 (rioting), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
All four were produced in court on Saturday, and sent to judicial custody. During investigation, the City Kotwali police said they had found out that the same four women had also participated in the December 4 protest in their jurisdiction. They then invoked IPC section 121A against them.
Sub-Inspector Raj Bahadur, the investigating officer of the case, said, “On the basis of the complainant’s statement, section 121A of the IPC was added to the case on Saturday. I have obtained judicial remand of all four accused Anganwadi workers in our case. Among the four arrested, three were named in the FIR registered in the case of the December 4 protest.”
Superintendent of Police (SP), Sitapur, Sureshrao A Kulkarni on Sunday said, “Circle officer, City (Sitapur) is conducting an inquiry into how section 121A was invoked against the Anganwadi workers. Action would be taken against the policeman responsible for it on the basis of the inquiry report. On Monday, we will move court, seeking withdrawal of the section against them.”