The Congress leader said “this has been going on without giving a proper reason”.
Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu has written to President Ram Nath Kovind, complaining about his repeated arrests by the state police, saying they deprive him of his rights as people’s representative.
Mr. Lallu alleged that police, "without citing any clear orders", stopped him and his party leaders from paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at his statue in Lucknow on the occasion of the Congress’ 136th foundation day on December 28.
In his letter to the President, the Congress leader claimed he was stopped from holding a programme and garlanding the statue of the father of the nation on that occasion.
Police had said Mr. Lallu was asked to go with only four others to pay tributes at the Gandhi statue in Hazratganj, but since "he did not agree", they were stopped as there is no permission to move in large numbers because of COVID-19.
Mr. Lallu said when the situation is returning to normal in the state in the ‘Unlock’ period, the administration has been "continuously stopping him from holding protests or public programmes in the name of COVID-19".
He said this amounts to depriving him of discharging his duties as people’s representative. "This also deprives me of my rights as an individual. This is very unfortunate," the Congress leader said.
In the letter dated December 29, he said he had been "held hostage by the police at his home in Lucknow from December 26 to December 28".
Mr. Lallu also provided in the letter the details of the days on which he had been arrested or stopped from holding programmes and protests from May 2018 onwards. This process had started much before the COVID-19 pandemic, he claimed.
The Congress leader said "this has been going on without giving a proper reason" and alleged that the actions were taken on the directions of the state government to harass him mentally and politically.
When life is returning to normalcy with crowds being seen in different programmes of the state government, those of the Congress are being stopped, citing the Epidemic Act and prohibitory orders, he said in the letter.
Mr. Lallu requested the President to caution the politicians and administrative people, who are responsible for stopping him from holding party programmes and demonstrations, against such acts and safeguard his rights.
He has also sent similar letters to Uttar Pradesh Governor, chief minister and the Speaker of the state legislative assembly.
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