After activist Swami Agnivesh, it was the turn of a fact-finding team of the Congress to be prevented from reaching the Dantewada areas where there were alleged police atrocities on March 16-17.
But unlike in the Swami Agnivesh case two days ago, the Congress team was stopped by the administration and police on Tuesday.
The team was forced to return from Dantewada on the grounds of security. The Congress team included around 150 party workers, travelling in a convoy of 30 vehicles. As they reached Polampalli village, salwa judum (anti-Maoist tribal body with state patronage) supporters and others protested against the visit of Congress leaders, who were then immediately asked by police to return.
But with the Congress members insisting on going as planned, all were detained on the instruction of Bastar inspector general of police TJ Longkumer.
"Ensuring the security of the MLAs in the highly sensitive zone was our priority. When Congress leaders did not heed our request, what option remained with us," asked the IG, adding that police were not prepared to take chances since there were reports of Maoist presence and activities in nearby areas.
Bastar commissioner K Srinivasulu said the villagers were agitated after they learnt of the visit. "We asked them to return since our responsibility was to ensure their safety," the commissioner said.
The detained Congress leaders were later released.
Nand Kumar Patel, who led the team, however, told Hindustan Times: "The administration and the police stopped us and not the villagers. We wish immediate relief to the villagers," he said.