UP police blooper: Teesta wrongly detained over BHU protest

Lucknow: Social activist Teesta Setalvad who arrived in the city to attend a another programme was detained by the Varanasi police on Monday.

Known for her fiery anti-communal activism, Setalvad was detained under section 151 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and was later released around 7 pm on condition that she would leave Varanasi immediately.

Ms Setalvad said that she was in Varanasi for the Samajwadi Jan Parishad youth training programme but was wrongly detained because the police thought she had come to participate in Banaras Hindu University protests.

“All I have been hearing since morning is, ‘Are you going to BHU?’” she said. “I cannot understand if this is a free country.”

“Freedom curtailed. Gheraoed by Banaras Police and local SDM (sub-divisional officer) here. No idea whether preventive detention or arrest. How long will be freedom be curtailed?” she wrote in a social media post.

In a Facebook Live video, she claimed that the officials repeatedly told her they had orders from the higher authorities to send her back.

Ms Setalvad claimed despite making it clear that she came here to attend a programme at Rajghat that was scheduled one and a half months ago, she was detained for more than ten hours in Varanasi.

Setalvad had told The Wire:

“I had come to Varanasi for a meeting which was planned one and a half months ago. But I was surprised to see local policemen accosting me quite rudely at the luggage counter of the airport. They did not let me out of the airport, following which I had an argument with them.”

Unrest at BHU had occurred on last Thursday night after students, agitating against an alleged eve-teasing incident, wanted to meet the Vice Chancellor at his residence.

A woman student of the Arts Faculty was allegedly harassed by three motorcycle-borne men inside the campus while she was returning to her hostel.

According to the complainant, the men abused her and fled when she resisted their attempts.

BHU students have alleged they have to face eve-teasers on the campus regularly and the varsity administration was not taking any action to stop the miscreants.

With agencies inputs