A Magsaysay Award-winning social activist was confined to his house in Lucknow this evening by the city police, over a planned demonstration to protest against the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370.
Sandeep Pandey was originally supposed to lead the protest, "Stand for Kashmir", at Lucknow's GPO Park on Sunday evening, but had put off the protest to this Friday after being told by cops that a protest could not be organised in the lead up to a sensitive day like August 15.
This evening, when Mr Pandey and other Lucknow activists were leaving their respective homes for the protest, the police arrived at their residences and have prevented them from leaving. After much haggling, they were allowed to hold a small protest march outside their home.
"The Yogi police in UP unlawfully detained activists Sandeep Pandey and Arundhati Dhuru of National Alliance of People's Movements (Napm India) at their home lask week (11th Aug) in Lucknow and did not allow them to protest in solidarity with the people of #Kashmir! That protest was postponed to today, but yet again from early morning the IB folks starting inquiring with the organizers: NAPM, Rihai Manch about the evening protest. They began pressurising the organizers to cancel the peaceful protest and since the same was refused, the police has started rounding up their houses and repeating the house arrests," a statement on WhatsApp by Mr Pandey's wife and social activist Arundhati Dhuru said.
Neither the Lucknow district magistrate nor the city's Senior Superintendent of Police were available for comment.
On August 5, the BJP-led central government scrapped the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir through a presidential order and declared plans to bifurcate the state into two Union Territories. The bill cleared parliament and was signed by the President over the next few days.
The night before it took the step, the centre placed prominent political leaders in the Kashmir Valley -- including National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti and Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference chairman Sajjad Lone -- under house arrest as a "precautionary measure". The region is currently under lockdown and the politicians are yet to be released. The government has said today that government offices will start functioning soon and that landline phone connectivity will also be restored.
Mr Pandey had won the Magsaysay Award in 2002 under the emergent leadership category. However, he later returned its cash component following criticism that he had accepted the award despite knowing that it is financed by the Ford Foundation, a United States-based organisation.
The social activist has often termed the United States' action of taking military action against other countries without the consent of the United Nations as "state terrorism".
Get Breaking news, live coverage, and Latest News from India and around the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.