Uttar Pradesh Dalit activists Ram Kumar and SR Darapuri(a retired IPS officer) called a press conference at the UP Press Club in Lucknow to condemn the police’s refusal to allow Gujarati activists into the state and to condemn the increased violence against Dalits. But they were arrested with impunity by a large police force within the press club though they had been granted permission to hold a press conference well in advance.
Dalit activists arrested in UP press club
45 activists from Gujarat were detained and sent back from the railway station in Jhansi the previous day( on Sunday). They were travelling on the Sabarmati Express and had brought with them a 125 kg soap with an image of Gautam Buddha carved on it. They wanted to gift the giant soap to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to “cleanse his mentality towards Dalits”.
The protests were in response to an incident this May, when police and other government officials had gifted soap bars and shampoos to 100 odd Musahar Dalit families in Kushi Nagar a day before Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was to visit them asking them to clean up before the Yogi’s visit.
The Dalit activists had planned a press conference to condemn the high handed behaviour of police who did not allow the Gujaratis to reach Lucknow but returned them from Jhansi itself.
The arrests happened around 1:30 pm and finally all were granted bail around 5:30 pm. They have all been charged with Section 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which gives police the power to arrest anyone to prevent commission of cognisable offences.