Magsaysay Award Winner Sandeep Pandey Arrested on Way to Anti-CAA Protest

In the police state of Uttar Pradesh, people talking against the citizenship amendment act are arrested under serious charges like NSA and sedition

Magsaysay Award winning activist Dr. Sandeep Pandey was arrested on Monday afternoon in Lucknow while he was about to participate in an anti-CAA protest. He was released on bail after being produced in the District Magistrate’s court.

According to a report by India Tomorrow, nine other persons who were accompanying Pandey have also been arrested and brought to the Thakurganj police station

Thakurganj Station House Officer (SHO) Pramod Kumar said that they had been arrested under Section 151 (knowingly joining or continuing in assembly of five or more persons after it has been commanded to disperse), in the apprehension of breach of peace.

According to reports, Dr. Pandey and his associates had reached the Clock Tower and were planning to take out a march to the other protest site in Ujariyagaon village in Gomti Nagar area. For the past one month, hundreds of people, all women, have been holding round-the-clock sit-in at the Clock Tower in protest against CAA-NRC-NPR. The local police have made several attempts to remove the protest but the women have resisted the crackdown.

The SHO said that Dr. Pandey and his associates were also distributing pamphlets against CAA.

According to a complaint filed by Hindu Mahasabha national vice-president Rajiv Kumar, the activist had passed the comments while addressing anti-citizenship law protesters at the Aligarh Muslim University on January 19. He also allegedly claimed that the same people who had tried to “divide Hindus and Muslims” during the British Raj were trying to do it again.

A first information report was filed against Sandeep Pandey under sections 153 A (provocation with intent to cause riots) and 505 (1)b (inciting public or community to commit an offence) back then.

Last month, another police case was filed against Sandeep Pandey for allegedly making “inappropriate comments” against Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar.

Sandeep Pandey, an alumnus of the Banaras Hindu University and the University of Californa, Berkeley, had won the Ramon Magsaysay award in the emergent leadership category in 2002.

Since CAA was passed by the Parliament on December 11, there have been massive nationwide protests against the discriminatory citizenship law. Most of these protests have been peaceful. During some protests on December 19-20 in UP, violence erupted. More than 20 people were killed, mostly in police firing. The UP state police booked thousands of people and arrested hundreds of them.

Two weeks back, the UP police arrested Gorakhpur-based paediatrician, Dr. Kafeel Khan, in Mumbai on charges of delivering a provocative speech during anti-CAA protest at the Aligarh Muslim University on December 12 last year. He was granted bail by the Aligarh court on February 10 but hours before his release on Feb 14, the state government booked him under the stringent National Security Act.



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