Fearing black flags protest by angry people against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Madhya Pradesh police on Saturday stripped villagers attending the latter’s rally to ensure they were not carrying any black cloths with them. Handkerchiefs, shirts and scarfs, all were taken away from their possession as they reached at the rally venue to see Modi inaugurate Mohanpura irrigation project in Rajgarh district.
However, the restriction was imposed only on ordinary citizen and not on VIP as the Rajgarh district collector, Karamveer Sharma, himself was seen receiving the prime minister attired in a black suit.
The organisers feared protests by farmers Mohanpura in the wake of the ongoing agitation by them. Farmers here are protesting over inadequate compensation.
On Thursday they had raised black flags while climbing atop trees in Mohanpura which was cleared off by the district administration swiftly. Protesters were also wearing black scarf that day. Ahead of Modi’s visit, the entire village was cordoned off by the state police on Friday itself, reported TOI.
“A strict anti-black protocol was witnessed in PM’s meet. This is against the constitution. Everyone has a right to choose colour of his cloths. If black, is perceived as the colour of protest why was the Rajgarh collector allowed to wear a black dress,” social activist Ajay Dubey was quoted as saying.
“It seems the collector also had something to his protest”, he said taking a dig on the arrangement of state police.
Police said that not all people wearing black were barred entry. “Those people who were found suspicious of creating mischief were asked to deposit black clothing outside. This was done mainly to ward off potential trouble makers”, said an official wishing anonymity.
Displeasured over the incident, one Twitter user wrote, “Isn’t the constitution Crystal clear about the right to protest? In what tyrannical dictatorship do we live in? Is it Nazi Germany? Or Stalin’s Russia ? What a shame for the biggest democracy in the world. Another user commented, “Saddest truth is when politicians are afraid of public anger, of them raising black flags.” One user took a dig at PM Modi and said that the latter only liked ‘people in poor condition.’
State water resource minister Narrotam Mishra had on Friday assured adequate compensation to the displaced farmers. They were also counselled by the local administration and were asked to stay calm. Additional police force was deployed around their villages to ensure Modi’s smooth visit. Mohanpura irrigation project worth is Rs 3,866 crore and it includes a dam and a canal system, would benefit 727 villages in Madhya Pradesh.