Party leaders, students kept away from holding Mahapanchayat demanding restoration caste-based reservation in UPPSC exams

More than 100 students were arrested from various parts of Allahabad on Tuesday for defying prohibitory orders. The orders were clamped in the wake of their bid to hold a Mahapanchayat to demand restoration of the controversial reservation formula which was scrapped recently.

Senior Superintendent of Police Umesh Srivastava said, “A total of 140 students have so far been arrested from various parts of Allahabad as they were seen marching in groups of 10 or 20, notwithstanding the imposition of Section 144 of the CrPC. They have been detained at the Police Lines and may be let off later.” He said that the Indian Justice Party founder and Dalit leader Udit Raj, who had arrived in the city to take part in the proposed Mahapanchayat (for which the administration had refused to give permission) was stopped at the airport itself and made to return by the next flight. Earlier, late on Monday night night, Janata Dal United president Sharad Yadav and Apna Dal leader and MLA Anupriya Patel were detained at Ghaziabad and Rae Bareli respectively while on their way to the city for attending the Mahapanchayat.

The students have been demanding restoration of a reservation formula introduced by the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (UPPSC) wherein caste-based quotas were introduced at all stages of competitive examinations. The reservation formula was scrapped by the Commission on July 27 and exam results declared on its basis were cancelled following vehement protests by students opposed to quotas. The State Government claimed that the UPPSC took the decision without taking it into confidence.

The volte face has, however, been strongly opposed by pro-reservation students who have termed the decision as an act of “betrayal” by the Samajwadi Party Government and demanded restoration of what they have been describing as a “three-tier reservation system”.

Meanwhile, elaborate security arrangements are in place in the city which has been divided into five zones and 14 sectors. Each zone has been placed under the command of an Additional Superintendent of Police and an Additional District Magistrate, while every sector is being supervised by a sub-divisional magistrate and a Deputy SP.

Besides, additional forces have been called in from the neighbouring districts and about 800 constables and 700 personnel of the Provincial Armed Constabulary are keeping a round-the-clock vigil. - PTI