MUMBAI -- Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam, who was supposed to lead a 'silent' morcha of his party workers at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai, the venue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's public meeting, on Saturday claimed that he has been placed under "house arrest" by police.
"The area outside my house is under heavy police bandobast and I am being prevented from stepping out," Nirupam told PTI alleging that "in the present democratic set up Opposition leaders are being virtually kept under house-arrest."
However, Mumbai Police denied the claims made by Nirupam and said the force deployed outside his residence was only part of the security arrangements made across the city in view of the PM's visit.
Mumbai Police spokesperson DCP Ashok Dudhe said, "We have deployed policemen across the city especially on the route of PM's convoy to maintain law and order as well as to avoid any untoward incident during his visit."
Nirupam also said that the Congress morcha will take place as per schedule and we have time till this afternoon to decide on our strategy.
"We have a lot of questions for the PM. He should answer to graft allegations made by our Vice President Rahul gandhi instead of mocking him. Modi should also answer when the people will get back their right to deposit and withdraw their own hard earned money from banks. Its more than a month. Since demonetisation citizens are still suffering due to cash crunch," he said.
AICC General Secretary in-charge of Maharashtra, Mohan Prakash also condemned the decision of Mumbai Police to curb democratic rights of political rivals which he charged was done at the behest of the government.
"Earlier government put restrictions on citizens' rights to access their money and now there are restrictions on freedom of expression as well," he said.
He said the Congress workers were to display only placards in the morcha and were not to hold any protests.
"The government does not want to see people's hardships. If they don't want to see the placards people will show them the mirror in which they will see their failures," he added.
The Mumbai unit of Congress is scheduled to hold a 'silent' morcha near the venue where Modi will address a public function in the afternoon to highlight demonetisation troubles and a host of other issues.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) condemned the "house arrest" of Nirupam, calling it a "black day" for democracy.
It is indeed a "black day" for the Indian democracy. This act confirms the fact the BJP Government has a "sadist and fascist" mindset, which denies a citizen's fundamental constitutional right to protest peacefully, MPCC spokesman Sachin Sawant said.
Nirupam was to take part in a peaceful protest against the demonetisation policy of the Modi Government, he said.
Clearly, the BJP Government appears to be extremely scared of even a silent protest. The Congress and the people of India will not be deterred by such "anti-democratic" approach of the BJP government. This only boosts our resolve to further escalate our fight against fascism, Sawant maintained.
"We vehemently condemn this extreme act of the BJP Government," he added.
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