Delhi Police attempts to stop meeting critical of the G20 summit, restricts people from entering the venue

Organisers, activist, speakers express anguish, calls this an unbelievable step to undermine criticisms, deem it to be an attempt by Modi government to suppress voices
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The present union government has transitioned the nation’s previous atmosphere of tolerance and freedom, implementing measures that curtail those who raise questions about its actions and policies. The Delhi Police, on August 19, stopped participants from attending a meeting critical of the G20 summit, claiming that the event was being held without permission. Notably, the summit had been organised from August 18 to August 20 to discuss issues related to shrinking democratic spaces, inequality, privatisation of public services, agriculture and climate crisis, among others.

The Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh stated that, the Delhi Police stopped people from attending the ‘We20 meeting’ organised by activists inside a building that belongs to the CPI(M). Ramesh has also tweeted that while he managed to enter at 10.30 am, before Delhi Police began its “operations,” but he had difficulty exiting.

The tweet can be read here:

As per a report in The Wire, Political activist Kavita Kabeer, who was part of the organising committee of the event, provided that no prior permission was required as the event is being held in a closed hall. She further added that the police initially urged those attending to leave, but later restricted more people from entering the Surjeet Bhavan. As per a report in the Scroll, over 30 police personnel had arrived at the Surjeet Bhavan. Barricades were also placed around the venue, as per The Wire’s report. 

A public statement has also been released on the attempt to shut down the summit by the Modi administration. The statement provided: “In an unbelievable step, Delhi Police barricaded the gates to Surjeet Bhawan not letting anyone in around 11 am. This when Jairam Ramesh, Aneel Hegde, MP (RS), Medha Patkar (NBA), Vandana Shiva (Navdanya), Anjali Bhardwaj, Nikhil Dey, Thomas Franco, Shaktiman Ghosh and others were analysing how the Modi administration projected to the global leaders of G20 that he is governing India in the best traditions of liberal democracy. Why then was he afraid of a few hundred activists gathering to examine his claims in Delhi that he had to direct the police to disrupt the proceedings!!”

The statement further provides: “What’s happening in Surjeet Bhawan is how the situation is across India. People are not allowed to participate in meaningful democracy to question and hold accountable the Modi administration. Why, even Parliament has been stepped aside and laws that fundamentally protect human rights, environment, biodiversity, privacy, etc. have been rendered meaningless. Anyone who dares to question the government, be it an activist, a trade unionist, academic, even a Minister or Deputy Chief Minister, is targeted with fabricated cases and hauled through the tortuous process of criminal trials, and even locked up under draconian laws. This is how things are in India today.”

The complete statement can be read here:


On Saturday, individuals such Congress General Secretary (Communication) Jairam Ramesh, advocate Vandana Shiva, and Janata Dal (United) MP Aneel Hegde were scheduled to speak. Scheduled talks were on the following issue: ‘Does Modi Administration Really Deliver on Tackling Climate Change, to Protect Environment, Biodiversity & Associated Human Rights, as claimed with G20 & Other Global Fora?’ On the day of inauguration, the inaugural session was attended by a host of political leaders, movement activists, and civil society organisations including Teesta Setalvad, Medha Patkar, Jayati Ghosh, Manoj Jha, Harsh Mander, Arun Kumar, Brinda Karat, Hannan Mollah, Rajeev Gowda among others. Over 500 economists, activists, journalists and politicians from across the country are taking part in it.

A total of nine workshops were planned in the summit to deliberate on key issues pertinent to the G20 agenda such as agriculture and food security, climate crisis and just energy transition, rising inequalities, labour and employment, alternative ideas of development, democracy and dissent and more.


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