Several lawyers and activists have come out in support of former advocate general Anand Mohan Mathur, who was put under house arrest on Saturday for trying to hold a peaceful demonstration in protest against the SIMI encounter.
Besides Mathur, many social activists were intercepted by police from reaching Regal Square, the site of the protest, on Saturday evening. The demonstrators were allegedly shooed away by the police force and right-wing activists.
The activists condemned the gagging act by police and compared it with the days of emergency, when peaceful assemblies against government action were censored.
“It is fundamental right of a person to protest peacefully. Senior advocate Mathur has dedicated his entire life fighting for the rights of the people in the region, advocates from all across the state should stand with him. The police have violated the provisions of Constitution of India by putting him under house arrest,” said advocate Ajay Bagadia.
Advocate Sunil Gupta – a Madhya Pradesh state bar council member — said, “When a man of his stature was treated in such a manner, I wonder what would happen to common man. It clearly shows that the administration does not want anyone to raise voice against Bhopal encounter.”
“We will discuss the issue in the next state bar council meeting, and action will be taken accordingly,” Gupta said.
The Indore high court bar association president advocate, PK Shukla, also condemned the incident and called for action against the administration and police officials who had put him under house arrest.
Eight SIMI activists, who escaped Bhopal Central Jail on October 31, were allegedly killed in police encounter. Several human rights activists and political parties have questioned the veracity of the police operation.
“There are many unanswered questions in government’s theory of Bhopal encounter. The government is trying to stifle the voices of common people,” said noted tribal rights activist Madhuri Krishnaswamy.
“The law should be governed by rationality. The police and administrative action in this case is far-fetched. It is against the constitutional values,” said Dr Tapan Mohanty, the chairperson of socio-legal studies and associate professor of sociology of law at National Law Institute University, Bhopal.