New Delhi: Economist-activist Jean Dreze and two other “Right to Food” activists were detained by the Jharkhand Police in Bishunpura in Garhwa district, on Thursday, for allegedly organizing a public meeting without taking permission from police. They were eventually released after keeping them nearly two hours in detention.
Jean Dreze, while speaking to the media, said that he was invited to a meeting, Jan Sunwai, for right to food and pension, organized by a local non-profit in Garhwa. He along with Vivek Kumar and Anuj Kumar had requested for the required permission from the police, however, they were not informed if the permission has been granted.
Activists Vivek Kumar, who was detained by the police said, “We had applied on March 22 to Pradeep Kumar, SDO, Garhwa District, for permission. Later they had asked us to provide details such as the Aadhaar card of the head organizer. We had furnished all that was asked for but were never intimated anything.”
“If people are not even allowed to hold peaceful non-political meetings about issues like the right to food at election time, then democracy has no meaning,” Dreze told NDTV.
Meanwhile, deputy commissioner of Garhwa district has confirmed that the detention was carried out because of election model of code of conduct. “When MCC is in force, Section 144 is imposed for unlawful assembly and hence assembly of three and four is not allowed. This is why they were taken for questioning,” he said.
The Jan Sunwai was being held to resolve issues related to ration and pension pendency.