The four-hour detention of close to a hundred activists of the India Against Corruption (IAC) led to a major fiasco, as they resumed agitation soon after the police officials released them. The activists claimed that this was the result of lack of co-ordination between the police officials and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
The activists said the police officials issued an order under Section 37(1) of the Bombay Police Act against assembling of five or more in public place. The activists said they were taken to the Deccan Gymkhana police station forcefully and were made to sit there for over four hours.
Shrikant Acharya (52), an engineer by profession, and Jagannath Hendre (68) were two of the IAC activists who sat on an indefinite hunger strike to support anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare and Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev for their ongoing agitation at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
“Nobody gave me an answer over our detention, nor did I break any law. I can protest against any government policy peacefully under the provision of article 19 of the Indian Constitution,” Acharya said. “Wrong attitude shown by the law enforcing system compelled me to sit on hunger strike for the first time. The police and the PMC might have realised their fault.” IAC coordinator for Pune Deepak Bharadiya said the detention and release of activists was funny and exposed lack of coordination between both the government agencies.
“But we still consider this as a positive development, an outcome of people’s pressure, and also subsequent cooperation from the police. Earlier, the police officials did not want us to sit for protest, but finally granted permission. The officials were rude and hostile when they first started detaining us, but now they have changed their stance and have gone soft,” said Bharadiya.
DCP Makarand Ranade said the police took action against agitators because they lacked necessary permission from the PMC. “Delay in granting permission was because Anti-Encroachment Cell head Ramesh Shelar was out of station. He looks after the single window system for granting such permissions. Now we have given permission to conduct hunger strike on the pavement near Kamala Arcade, but under certain conditions. The issue was discussed with DCP Ranade. Even the NOC was issued to the activist today after 6.30 pm,” civic chief Mahesh Pathak said yesterday.