Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and a dozen other Bhim Army cadres were detained by Madhya Pradesh police on Sunday ahead of their plans to organise a huge rally in Bhopal to seek 27 per cent reservation for the Other Backward Classes.
According to PTI news agency, Azad was detained at the airport upon his arrival along with 12 to 13 people. Police said they suspect Azad planned to gherao Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s residence.
“Azad was detained at the airport and he was sent back by the evening,” according to police officials.
The protest was called by OBC Mahasabha. Bhim Army and tribal outfit Jai Yuva Adivasi Shakti were the main organisers of the announced-stir.
In a tweet, Azad said they will not forget the approach of BJP government towards protest and protesters. “We will come back soon with a bigger movement,” Dalit leader warned.
Organisers alleged that several leaders who had arrived in Bhopal on Saturday evening and were staying at different places, were detained.
“We have stopped around 1500 protesters and sent them back. We suspect they were going to assemble at Roshanpura square from where they were going to head for the Chief Minister’s house,” Bhopal police commissioner Makarand Deouskar said to the news agency.
OBC Maha Sabha national general secretary Tulsiram Patel alleged that local administration has detained many protesters and the police have manhandled some of them.
“We were planning to give a memorandum to the CM peacefully,” he said.
“The population of OBCs in MP and India was 65 per cent and 85 per cent respectively, but they are not getting reservation according to their numbers. The Centre claims OBCs are getting 27 per cent reservation and the state says it is giving 14 per cent quota. However, OBC communities are not even getting 8 per cent reservation,” PTI quoted Tulsiram Patel as saying.
Madhya Pradesh Congress chief and former CM Kamal Nath supported the protest and said the BJP government in the state was quelling the protest by force despite claiming to be well-wishers of OBCs.
He asked OBCs, tribals and Dalits to continue the fight and promised the support of the Congress.