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Black cloth, articles banned at Modi’s rally in Ahmednagar

The massive rally was organised in support of the newly-inducted BJP candidate Dr Sujay Vikhe Patil

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 14, 2019 16:46 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Police personnel ordered people wearing black clothing to deposit their belongings at the security check.(HT PHOTO)

The Ahmednagar Police had put a strong restriction on black coloured cloth and articles as a deterrent to rule out any chance of a ‘black protest’ at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally on Friday.

The massive rally was organised in support of the newly-inducted BJP candidate Dr Sujay Vikhe Patil, a neurosurgeon and son of senior Congressman and leader of opposition in Maharashtra, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil. Sujay switched over to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) refused to vacate the Ahmednagar seat for Sujay, and make adjustments in its seat sharing agreement with the Congress.

The stringent ban on black coloured articles received criticism from different political parties and the public, many of whom were inconvenienced.

Apart from the usual tight security check at the entry points, the police prevented the people from carrying water bottles and women from carrying black coloured dupattas and scarves inside. The men were asked to leave their black caps and t-shirts behind. A man with a black vest was asked to remove the same before he could enter the seating area.

Those wearing black shirts were turned away by the security personnel.

The policemen ordered the women wearing black scarves and dupattas to deposit their belongings with them with the promise that they would be returned.

However, after the rally was over, the people who had left their things behind were shocked that their belongings had disappeared.

They accused the police of not taking care of their belongings as a result of which they went missing or stolen.

Ishu Sindhu, superintendent of police, Ahmednagar police station said, “Unofficially, we checked for the elements who would have wanted to create a panic which could have lead to stampede in the crowd. Such people may have wanted to disrupt the meet and we took the step to stop black cloth from getting inside as a preventive measure. We are currently busy with the election preparations. If people have complaints we can resolve them after they approach us,” he said.

Shalini Pawar, a resident of Loni who had come to attend the rally said she was unhappy with the security measures which compelled people not to carry black clothing articles.

“We thought it would be hassle-free access but I was shocked as my black scarf was taken by the police along with the water bottle. I think the Ahmednagar police were overzealous in their approach and we could not protect ourselves from the sun” said Pawar. She said no guidelines were issued in advance which created the problem.

Manik Vidhate, former president of Ahmednagar NCP unit said, “There was no dress code related protocol announced for the rally. The police stopped the people wearing black cloth which is wrong and we condemn the act. It means that there is doubt and fear in the mind of the organisers and the party which fears dissent,” he said.

BJP party organisers defended the act saying that it was done in accordance with the security protocol of the PM as per the laid down procedures.

First Published: Apr 14, 2019 16:45 IST