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Prashant Bhushan, D Raja among 400 detained for trying to form human chain

PUBLISHED ON JAN 30, 2020 10:27 PM IST

New Delhi: As many as 400 people, including advocate Prashant Bhushan, CPI (M) leader D Raja and Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav, were detained Thursday afternoon from Raj Ghat and Delhi Gate where they had gathered to form a human chain on Mahatma Gandhi’s 72nd death anniversary and also to show “solidarity with the Constitution, democracy and secularism” and against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Police said the gatherers did not have any permission to form a human chain and were detained so that law and order is not disrupted.

The detainees also included some journalists. All of them were taken to two stadiums, in Hari Nagar and in Kanjhawala. Police said all detainees were released within three hours.

According to police, the call for a human chain was given by different groups. A senior officer, who did not wish to be named, said people started gathering at Delhi Gate and Raj Ghat around 3.30pm.

Deputy commissioner of police (central) MS Randhawa said, “The human chain was planned from Raj Ghat to Shanti Van covering Delhi Gate, Lal Quila, Jama Masjid, and Hanuman Mandir. It would have disrupted law and order. Hospitals, including LN hospital, are in this area and it would have also affected emergency services. Also, they did not have prior permission for forming the human chain,” Randhawa said.

The DCP said they asked the gatherers to go inside Raj Ghat but they refused and wanted to form the human chain on the road. “Since this would have affected traffic, they had to be detained. At least 400 were detained in 15 buses and taken to stadiums in Kanjhawala and Hari Nagar. They were detained between 4.30pm and 5.30 pm and were released by 8pm,” he said.

CPI general secretary D Raja said he and senior party leader Atul Kumar Anjaan were detained by the Delhi Police when they went to Raj Ghat to form a human chain.

“We were detained from Raj Ghat after we went there to take part in the human chain in protest against Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens. Delhi Police has detained us and put us in a bus,” Raja told PTI.

Protesters also took to Twitter questioning the police over their detentions. Prashant Bhushan tweeted, “So for Delhi police people can’t peacefully w/o disrupting any traffic can’t remember Gandhi on his Martyrdom day & Sing National Anthem. We were detained at Delhi Gate though no Sec 144. But goons brandishing guns & iron rods in Jamia & JNU will be aided by Police. Rule of law? (sic).”

Yogendra Yadav also took to Twitter, “We are getting Dilli Darshan for the last 90 minutes. No one willing to tell the destination. Several women detained with us, well past sunset, while there is no woman police around. Is this legal? (sic).”

Some journalists also claimed that they were detained when they had gone to cover the protest. A reporter, who did not wish to be named, said he and two others journalists who had gone to Delhi Gate to cover the protests were also forced into buses.

“We showed our Press Information Bureau accreditation cards but the police did not listen to us and detained us along with the protesters. We were brought to Hari Nagar stadium,” he said.

DCP Randhawa said detention of the journalists must have been a case of mistaken identity.

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