Delhi police detain nearly 35 women protesters outside MP Bhawan

While protesters claimed they were manhandled by police personnel, officials declined to comment on the matter stating the detained will be released soon.

Delhi Police detained approximately 35 women who were protesting peacefully outside Madhya Pradesh Bhawan on January 15, 2021. The women were protesting the MP government’s proposal of tracking the movements of working women.

Social activist and Act Now for Harmony and Democracy Co-Founder Shabnam Hashmi told SabrangIndia that around 40 women were exercising their right to protest on Friday afternoon when police personnel appeared on the spot and took the women to Mandir Marg police station.

“The police told us that they will not let us protest. I have been getting calls since morning where they said that they won’t let us protest,” alleged Hashmi who still had her phone in possession at the police station.

She further claimed that many women had been roughed up while being taken to the police station although they did not suffer injuries.

However, Chanakyapuri police station Inspector Hari Kishan denied any such allegation stating that protesters were detained due to imposition of Section 144. He also stated that detainees were released soon after their arrest although the activist said they were allowed to go around 5 PM.

Along with Hashmi, other women leaders such as All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) member Maimoona Mollah, RTI activist Anjali Bhardwaj, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan General Secretary Poonam Kaushik, Deepti Bharti, Ritu Kaushik, Madhuri Varshney and others were detained by the police.

When asked to comment on the incident, Hashmi said, “Protesting is our constitutional right. Yet the space for protesting is decreasing by the day. There were only 40-45 protesters outside the Madhya Pradesh Bhawan. Why can’t women protest? This is a horrible system,” she said.

The activist said that protesters had no expectations from the ruling government considering their past record. Nevertheless, she asserted that this should not keep people from exercising their right to protest such laws that track the movement of women.

On January 11, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan declared that working women in the state should register themselves at nearby police stations before going out for work. Police will accordingly track individuals for their own safety.

Meanwhile, on January 12 Chief Justice S. A. Bobde questioned the presence of women and elderly in farmers’ protests. Over 800 women leaders sent an open letter to Bobde to denounce the comment for its patriarchal undertones.


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