A day after former IPS officer SR Darapuri, who was arrested on Monday with eight others, accused Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of trying to quash freedom of expression and any voice of dissent against the government.

At least 31 activists on Monday had planned to hold a gathering at the Press Club in Lucknow to discuss the issues faces by the Dalits before Uttar Pradesh Police arrested them for violating section 144. They were released later in the day.

Alleging that the activists were planning to march later towards UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence, police said that the group had not acquired permission for that, therefore the precautionary arrests were made, said the police.

Denying the charges by police, SR Darapuri said that they had no plans to take the protests to CM’s house. They just wanted to gather at Press House to deliberate a discussion on the atrocities faced by the Dalits across the country.

“We had obtained permission and booked Press Club four days in advance for the discussion that was supposed to be attended by the Dalit activists from Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

On reaching Press Club in the afternoon on Monday, “we were told that the government officials have cancelled our booking”. Following which the activists were questioned by the police authorities stating that the meeting was held without obtaining prior permission. The police further said that the group had violated section 144,” said Darapuri.

The former IPS officer also slammed BJP saying, the government sponsors a Dalit candidate for the post of president but does not want the Dalits to hold a meeting shows double standards of the saffron party.

“I think the government is not ready to hear any form of dissent and the government is in the mood to crush dissenting voices and the government here is trying to quell freedom of expression of every Individual. Though on the side this BJP government is trying to give us a Dalit President, and on another hand, it doesn’t allow any Dalit to hold seminars,” he said reports ANI.

All the arrested leaders were later released after furnishing a bond of Rs. 20,000.

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