Magsaysay Award winner Sandeep Pandey and his wife Arundhati Dhuru, an activist, were placed under house arrest in Lucknow for a few hours on Sunday. The two had organised an an event against the abolition of special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The protest, called “Stand for Kashmir”, was to be held on Sunday evening at the Gandhi statue in Hazratganj, The Hindu reported.
“All of a sudden, police in four vans arrived at our house in the morning and told us that we cannot stage the dharna, because of prohibitory orders in the city,” Pandey told IANS. “They said the prohibitory orders would be lifted after Independence Day. So I told them that we would stage the dharna after the orders are lifted. Yet, they are standing outside my house and no one is allowed to enter or leave the house.”
Dhuru also told The Hindu that there were police outside their home and they were not allowed to leave it. However, she said the police left around 4 pm. Dhuru is the national convener of the National Alliance of People’s Movement.
“The police have left,” Pandey told Scroll.in in the evening. “We were planning to organise a candlelight protest from 6 pm to 7 pm at the Gandhi statue in Hazratganj. The police asked us to postpone it because of Bakri Eid [on Monday]. We had agreed to postpone it.”
However, Pandey said he was unaware he was under house arrest until 1.30 pm, when he tried to go out to buy bread, but was stopped. Pandey added that the police outside his house told him they were under orders not to let him and Arundhati Dhuru out till 4 pm.
The activist said that the station house officer of Hazratganj arrived in the afternoon, following which the police left. He added that the protest is now scheduled for August 16, but it is unlikely the police will allow it to go ahead. “We are preparing for arrest, or whatever,” Pandey said.