Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and a dozen other people were detained on Sunday ahead of their plans to gherao (encircle) Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s residence to seek 27% reservation for the Other Backward Classes, police said.
Azad was detained at the airport upon his arrival along with 12 to 13 people, though the exact number of detainees will be known by late evening, Bhopal police commissioner Makarand Deouskar told .
Denying that over 150 people were detained, he said Mr. Azad was at the airport lounge having his meal.
“We have stopped around 1500 protesters and sent them back. We suspect they were going to assemble at Roshanpura square from where they were going to head for the Chief Minister’s house,” the commissioner added.
Meanwhile, OBC Maha Sabha national general secretary Tulsiram Patel said they were planning to give a memorandum to the CM peacefully but the local administration has detained people and the police have manhandled some of them.
“The population of OBCs in MP and India was 65 per cent and 85 per cent respectively, but they are not getting reservation according to their numbers. The Centre claims OBCs are getting 27 per cent reservation and the state says it is giving 14 per cent quota. However, OBC communities are not even getting 8 per cent reservation,” he claimed.
He said the Bhim Army and tribal outfit Jai Yuva Adivasi Shakti were allies in their struggle for OBC quota.
In a tweet, MP Congress chief Kamal Nath supported the stir and said the BJP government in the State was quelling the protest by force despite claiming to be well-wishers of OBCs. He asked OBCs, tribals and Dalits to continue the fight and promised the support of the Congress.
Hitting back, MP Urban Development Minister Bhupendra Singh said some people were playing politics in the name of OBC quota, adding that the State was trying hard to ensure they get 27% reservation in the Panchayat polls.