Office bearers of various panchayats, who were to hold the ‘dera dalo gherao dalo’ agitation in Bhopal on Wednesday in protest against the MP government, were detained hours before they could launch their agitation and sent to jail.
The police action came a day after the leader of the agitating office-bearers, chairman of the Rewa district panchayat and former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Abhay Mishra was suspended from the party for six years. Mishra was among those arrested on Wednesday.
The detention was on the grounds that the protestors did not have the necessary permission of the district administration to carry out such an agitation.
Panchayat office-bearers, including sarpanchs, members of the janpad and district panchayats, have been up in arms against the state government demanding restoration of their financial powers.
The police picked up Abhay Mishra and about 1,200 people from different parts of the city, including Dussehra maidan, where the ‘dera dalo ghera dalo’ agitation of the panchayat office bearers was to take place.
Late on Tuesday night, police took down the tents pitched by the organisers at Dussehra maidan and swooped down to arrest them in the wee hours of Wednesday. Those attempting to enter the city to participate in the agitation too were arrested.
The state government and the BJP have been trying to quell the agitation for some time now. A meeting between the protesting office-bearers and the chief minister was held a week back but Abhay Mishra rejected the sops announcements at the meeting, terming it eyewash.
On Tuesday, Mishra was suspended from the BJP after he repeatedly taunted the party to take action against him.
Another faction led by DP Dhakad too has been opposing the government.
About 500 office-bearers of various panchayats were sent to the Gandhi Nagar jail, while the others were taken to the old jail. Magistrates too were present to negotiate a conditional release, failing which the protestors remain in jail.