The Pune Police on Friday detained women’s rights activist Trupti Desai ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Shirdi in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district, PTI reported. Desai, president of the Bhumata Brigade, wanted to discuss with Modi the Supreme Court’s verdict on Sabarimala allowing entry to all women in the age group of 10-50 years.
An unidentified police official said Desai had earlier threatened to block Modi’s convoy at Shirdi. She had written to the Ahmednagar superintendent of police and sought a meeting with Modi, ANI reported.
“Today, before she could leave Pune for Shirdi, officials from Sahakarnagar police station took her into preventive custody,” said the official. “She was taken into police custody early in the morning as she had threatened to disrupt the Prime Minister’s visit in Shirdi.”
The police action against Desai came even as protests against the Supreme Court verdict continued for the third day. A journalist and an activist who attempted the trek up to the shrine were forced to turn back.
Desai is currently under detention at Sahakar Nagar police station. “In the letter, we had warned that if the meeting with the prime minister is not facilitated, we would block his convoy and urge him to hold talks,” she said. The activist sought an explanation for Modi’s alleged silence over the protests at Sabarimala as well as the physical assault on women journalists at the scene, reported The Hindu.
Desai said that the police had not given a reason for detaining her. “It is ironic that we activists who are striving for the cause of temple entry for women are treated in this manner,” she said. “Why couldn’t the police in Kerala take preventive measures and detain those hate mongers and trouble makers ahead of the temple entry at Sabarimala instead?”
A police official said that Desai was detained due to security concerns. “Because of security reasons, we have requested her not to go to Shirdi,” said Inspector Vijay Puranik. “If she forcibly tries to leave, necessary measures will be taken to deter her.”
Earlier, Desai had announced plans to visit the Sabarimala shrine with a group of women. The ongoing agitation by the devotees is a violation of the Supreme Court verdict, she had said.
Congress not serious about helping the poor, says PM
Modi on Friday claimed that the National Democratic Alliance government was more concerned with development and poverty alleviation than pervious governments, PTI reported. Accusing the Congress of merely promoting the “name of a particular family”, he said that the party was “not serious” about empowering the poor.
“Our target is to ensure that there is not a single homeless person in India by 2022, when the country celebrates its 75th year of Independence,” Modi said at Shirdi. “We are making serious efforts for the uplift of the poor.”
While the United Progressive Alliance government constructed 25 lakh houses for the poor during its last four years in power, the current government has built 1.25 crore houses over the same period, claimed Modi. “It would have taken 20 years to construct 1.25 crore houses had the previous government still been in power,” he said.