Magsaysay winner Sandeep Pandey: Briefly put under house arrest over Article 370 dharna

NEW DELHI : Social activist and Ramon Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey on Sunday alleged that he was briefly put under house arrest to prevent him from taking part in a dharna in Lucknow against the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and the ongoing lockdown in the newly created Union Territory.

Police officers denied the charge that policemen went to Pandey’s residence to prevent him from leaving his home.

Pandey and several other activists, including advocate Mohammad Shoaib, had planned a demonstration at the Gandhi statue in Hazratganj on Sunday evening. A police team visited Shoaib’s house in the morning.

“The policemen told me that they are busy with festival duty and requested me to call off the protest. I agreed to their demand and postponed it. The protest will now be held on August 16.”

He added that after the policemen left, he called up others to inform them that the protest had been postponed. “Sandeep Pandey told me that a police team was deployed outside his house to prevent him from stepping out,” said Shoaib.

Pandey said he was stopped by policemen when he stepped out to buy bread around 1.30 pm.

“Policemen told me that I could not step outside the house until 4 pm. I told them that the protest had been postponed but even then, they did not allow me to go out. I called up my friends and informed them about this,” said Pandey. He said the policemen left around 2 pm.

Circle Officer, Ghazipur, Deepak Kumar Singh and SHO, Ghazipur Police Station, denied that any police team went to Pandey’s house. Circle Officer, Qaiserbagh, Sanjeev Kumar said, “A police team went to Mohammad Shoaib’s residence to convey that there is a High Court direction that no one can hold a protest at the Gandhi statue. We advised him to go to Eco Garden, which has been made the official protest site.”