The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday announced a statewide protest to be held on Monday against the arrest of four of its party workers. Party members demanded the release of the four who were arrested on Friday night after a protest, following an order by Ghaziabad district magistrate Nidhi Kesarwani.
On Saturday, AAP leaders Sanjay Singh (national spokesperson), Sandeep Kumar (minister of SC/ST Welfare and Women and Child Welfare in the Delhi government) and Naresh Yadav (MLA from Mehrauli constituency in Delhi) visited the four in jail and announced the statewide protest against the UP government.
On August 3, AAP had held a protest against the recent gangrape at Bulandshahr at the collectorate office in Ghaziabad and allegedly burnt an effigy of UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. On Friday night, four AAP workers, Mukesh Prajapati, Vijay Sharma, Shivdutt Singh and Shiv Kumar, were arrested from their residence.
According to AAP leaders, the police have refused to grant them bail.
“On the one hand, the police are unable to catch criminals who go about raping women and committing murders, and on the other, AAP workers are jailed for holding a protest. It is shocking that they are not even getting bail. It has never happened that protesters are jailed and can’t even get bail,” Singh said.
AAP members also alleged that incorrect sections of the Indian Penal Code were added to the FIR to make the release of the workers difficult.
However, police officials refuted the claim.
“The four have been booked under sections 147 (rioting), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty) of Indian Penal Code and section 7 of Criminal Law Amendment Act, which is non-bailable. Moreover, granting bail is up to the district court and is not in our hands,” said Salmantaj Patil, superintendent of police (city), Ghaziabad.
On Friday night, four police officials were also suspended on the DM’s orders for failing to curb the protest.