In a blatantly repressive move aimed at foiling public protest at Shaheedi Park at noon today in support of the countrywide chakka jam called by the Kisan Unions, the Delhi police has prevented the movements of left union leaders and taken some into preventive custody since late last night and early morning. From last night, police personnel were posted outside the house of Poonam Kaushik, the General Secretary of Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan (PMS), and this morning, Dr Animesh Das, the Delhi President and the National Treasurer of the Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU) has been detained at Kalkaji PS. News reports also suggest that the Delhi Vice President of the Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU), Vipin was detained in Badli PS, and that the All India Union Trade Union Centre (AITUC) Secretary, M Chaurasia, has been placed under house arrest in Burari.
Along with the arrests of left leaders, 50,000 police personnel, drones and water cannons have been deployed in and around the national capital, the borders have been sealed with multi-layered barricades, barbed wire and nail studded roads, 8 metro stations have shut down and 12 others have been put on ‘high alert’. These ‘war zone’ preparations have been done despite the Kisan Unions stating that they will not block roads in Delhi but will block the national and state highways peacefully for three hours.
Even while it is hoped that the leaders will be released after the end of the Chakka Jam, the repressive reactions of the state to a political agitation is wholly condemnatory as it shows little regard for people’s fundamental right to peacefully protest and a deliberate decision to turn political issues into law and order ones. PUDR strongly condemns these repressive moves adopted by the Delhi Police.
Radhika Chitkara and Vikas Kumar