Tuesday, August 30, 2011

IITians plan march to Rahul home, cops nip it in the bud

News item in The Times of India dated 28.08.2011 reporting the police unlawful detention of IITians protesting in favor of a strong anti-graft law, the movement was led by Mr. Somnath Bharti (Advocate, Supreme Court and Partner, Bharti & Associates) capacitated as Secretary, IIT Delhi Alumni Association.

Raj Shekhar, TNN Aug 28, 2011, 02.41am IST


NEW DELHI: Anna's war against corruption formally reached the gates of IIT-Delhi on Saturday. A 1,000-strong crowd comprising present and former students of the institute gathered at the main gate in the evening, carrying the tricolour and shouting slogans. Their plan was to march towards Lutyens' Delhi and protest outside the residence of AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi at 12, Tughlaq Road; but cops did not allow them to even begin the march. Dejected, the protesters tried to force their way out, after which many of them were detained. Even though students alleged that about 60 of them were picked up, cops said only 28 were detained and released later.Somnath Bharti, a past pupil and the coordinator of the protest, was the first to be detained. "We were roughed up and cops did not explain why we could not protest peacefully. They just told us that they had orders from their superiors. I want to know why they stopped us," said Bharti.The IITians tried their best to dodge the police by trying to sneak out in smaller groups and board the Metro to reach their destination. But the police soon got wind of the scheme and foiled their bid. Akshay, a 4 th-year student, said the police action was "unfair". "When everybody else is being allowed to protest, the administration is targeting us and stopping us from expressing ourselves," he said.Cops, on the other hand, claimed they had no prior information about the protest, nor did the students ever seek any permission to do so. "They were asked to take permission, specifying the area of protest; but a section of them refused to do so, which is why they had to be detained," said a senior officer.Elsewhere, a plan to protest outside the Congress office at 24, Akbar Road, was nipped in the bud when cops dispersed about 100 protesters, who had gathered there in the afternoon.Earlier in the day, DMRC, following a Delhi Police directive, shut down Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat Udyog Bhavan stations around 3pm. These were re-opened for public at 7pm. Earlier, four metro stations, namely Udyog Bhawan, Race Course, Jor Bagh on Gurgaon Line and Khan Market on Badarpur corridor, were closed as a precautionary measure following flash protests near residences of the leading political leaders.

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