Magsaysay awardee claims he was ‘put under house arrest’, administration denies
Ramon Magsaysay awardee and social activist Sandeep Pandey on Sunday claimed that he was put under house arrest at his Indira Nagar residence here and told by police not to step out till 4 pm, with cops in two jeeps deployed outside his house. But, according to Pandey the police went away around 2 pm.
However, district magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said Pandey was not put under house arrest.
“Why should we arrest him? There is no truth in it. Yes the administration did not allow him to hold a demonstration at Gandhi statue in Hazratganj, ‘as he had announced on Friday’. They are free to stage protest at Eco Garden, which has been made the official ‘dharna sthal’ (ground to hold protests), so that no inconvenience is caused to commuters,” Sharma said.
Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Kalanidhi Naithani also denied that Pandey had been put under house arrest.
Pandey, in association with Rihai Manch (resistance against repression), was to organise a candle light demonstration in support of the people of Kashmir on Sunday evening in Hazratganj. However, at 12:30 pm, Pandey sent an email to mediapersons saying “Because of Bakrid and Independence Day, Sunday’s event has been postponed to Friday (August 16), between 6-7 pm at same venue.
Pandey claimed that, “There were policemen outside my house since Sunday morning. Initially we thought they were on routine duty. I only realised that I was put under house arrest when they did not allowed me to go out of my house.”
His wife Arundhati Dhuru, an activist and national convener of National Alliance of People’s Movement, confirmed the police presence outside their house.
Pandey said he tried to convince the cops that he was not as big a leader as former CMs of J&K Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti to be put under house arrest, “But they told me that they had orders from senior officials to put me under house arrest.”
Pandey has been opposing the centre’s decision to nullify Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and making it and Ladakh union territories.
On August 6, Pandey had tweeted, “Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have partitioned J&K on religious lines. Such a thing has happened first time in independent India. They are the real tukde-tukde gang.”