Former Indian Administrative Service officer Kannan Gopinathan was on Saturday detained hours before an event related to the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The Uttar Pradesh Police did not allow him to leave Allahabad airport and instead forced him to board a flight to Delhi, he said.
Gopinathan was to participate in a debate on the new citizenship law at the Sardar Patel Sansthan in Allahabad at 2 pm.
Gopinathan took to Twitter to post details of the event. His first tweet said, ‘Detained’. Later, he tweeted: ‘Not allowed to get out of Allahabad airport and put on a flight to Delhi. Independent Banana Republic of Uttar Pradesh offers free Delhi travel every time. @myogiadityanath is so afraid of free speech. Will be coming again. Make your bookings in advance this time @Uppolice.”
The event was organised by All-India People’s Forum on “Nagrikta Bachao, Samvidhan Bachao, Loktantra Bachao’ (Save Citizenship, Save Constitution, Save Democracy)”. Kamal Usri, the seminar’s organiser, said they had prepared for the event for several days. “The district administration had also been informed about the event a day earlier,” he added. “Had Kannan attended the seminar, our event would have run for three hours, but ended in just one hour.”
Allahabad Senior Superintendent of Police Satyarth Anirudh claimed that they had “confidential information” that there can be some chaos. “...So we asked Gopinathan to return to maintain peace,” he said, according to The Week. “We explained to Kannan Gopinathan that you may be sensitive to the law and order. He is a bureaucrat himself. He understood the issue and returned.”
This is the second time in two weeks that Gopinathan has been detained by the Uttar Pradesh government. On January 4, Gopinathan was detained in Agra when he was on his way to attend a demonstration at Aligarh Muslim University. He was released on personal bond and escorted out of Uttar Pradesh. In December, he was detained in Mumbai before a protest at Marine Drive.
Gopinathan came into the national spotlight in August when he resigned from the Indian Administrative Service to protest against the manner in which the special status of Jammu and Kashmir had been revoked. Since then he has campaigned and spoken relentlessly against the Citizenship Amendment Act, the planned National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register, which will be conducted alongside the Census.
Gopinathan has been travelling across the country to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. He is also listed as a speaker at a seminar on the new law at Shashtri Ghat in Varanasi on January 20.“Dear @narendramodi, going to your constituency, varanasi, day after tomorrow to have that dialogue that you said is required in democracy,” he tweeted on Saturday. “I don’t think @myogiadityanath listens to you. Still, do tag him on that dialogue tweet. Let’s see if UP is still in India?”