By: Talat Mohsin
On Sunday , Magsaysay award winning social activist Sandeep Pandey claimed that he , along with his wife and fellow activist Arundhati Dharu ,was put under house arrest in his Lucknow home. He alleged that it was done to keep them from organising a protest to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir. However, according to the couple, the “house arrest” was lifted after a short time.
Mr Pandey was originally supposed to lead the protest at the GPO park on Sunday evening. According to the reports published by the news agency IANS-“All of a sudden, the police arrived at our residence in four vans and told us that we cannot stage the demonstration because of prohibitory orders that would be in place until Independence Day. So I told them that we will stage our demonstration after the orders are lifted. But they remained standing outside my house not allowing anybody to enter or leave the house.”
Meanwhile, District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma denied all the allegations. He said that the police had only asked Mr Pandey to shift the venue from Gandhi statue in Hazratganj to Eco gardens. Senior Superintendent of Police SSP Kalanidhi Naithani also denied the charges.
The protest march was held to oppose the center’s decision to nullify Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and turning it and Ladakh into union territories.
Pandey had won the Ramon Magsaysay award in 2002 in the emergent leadership category. But he later returned the cash received due to disapprovals of the fact that they were funded by the Ford Foundation, a US based organisation.