The police arrested more than 1,500 pro-reservation activists in Allahabad on Tuesday, foiling their bid to hold the banned Arakshan Bachao Mahapanchayat in the city.
The convention, banned by the Uttar Pradesh government, was called to press for restoration of a reservation formula introduced and later revoked by the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (UPPSC).
The UPPSC’s three-stage reservation for Provincial Civil Services examinations-2011 (PCS-2011) had triggered a huge controversy and Allahabad high court received several petitions challenging the move.
The police crackdown began on Sunday night with the arrest of three top pro-reservation student leaders, Dinesh Yadav, Manoj Yadav and Mukund Lal Maurya.
Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav was detained at Ghaziabad while heading for the convention. Indian Justice Peace Party president Udit Raj was taken into custody at the Bamrauli Airport in the city and sent back by another flight.
Apna Dal leader Anupriya Patel was placed under preventive arrest in Rae Bareli.
In the city, police kept arresting pro-reservationists in batches as they came and packed them off to police lines. Within hours, the police arrested around 1,500 Samajik Nyaya Morcha activists.
Scrapping of the reservation formula in July and cancellation of the results of the examinations declared on its basis, following the state government’s intervention, had led to the call for the ‘mahapanchayat’ of backward castes.
The convention was to be attended by students from the city and adjoining districts.
SSP Umesh Chand Srivastava said the situation was peaceful and there were no reports of any untoward incident.
“Tight vigil is being maintained. Anyone trying to disturb peace will be arrested,” he added. He claimed 542 persons were arrested in Allahabad city alone.
Meanwhile, four youth leaders Manoj Samajsevi, Ajeet Yadav, Lala Ram Saroj and Sunil Maurya claimed they conducted the mahapanchayat inside the police lines itself.
Besides three-stage reservation in PCS, the activists are also demanding proper implementation of the reservation policy at all levels in commissions and other places and filling of vacant posts under reservation in AIIMS, Allahabad University and other places, implementation of reservation policy in all services and withdrawal of false cases clamped on pro reservation activists.