Dalit writer alleges threat to life from minister

Lucknow, Aug 19 : Kanwal Bharti, a Dalit writer who was arrested earlier this month for his posts on a social networking website praising suspended IAS official Durga Shakti Nagpal, has alleged that Uttar Pradesh Urban Development Minister Azam Khan could get him killed.

Bharti late Sunday alleged that the minister was trying to create communal tension in Rampur in the writer's name and garner votes.

"I had made some comments on the networking site after which I was hounded, arrested... my phone has been put on surveillance and I fear that in the coming months, I might be eliminated at the orders of Azam Khan" he told mediapersons on the sidelines of a cultural event in the state capital.

Bharti said "suspicious looking" youngsters roam around his house all the time, many of them carrying pistols.

He said that in Rampur, the constituency Azam Khan represents in the state assembly, there was complete "jungle raj". Neither the law of the land nor Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had any administrative control over the district, he said.

The writer rubbished rumours that he had links with any party and said he harboured no political ambition.

"My posts were mere expression of what I believed, and there is no law in the land to prevent me from doing so," he added.

He also criticised the state police for arresting him on grounds that his online posts could have triggered communal tension.

Asked whether he has spoken to Khan over the issue, he answered in the negative.

A Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice H.L. Gokhale, last week served notice to the Uttar Pradesh government seeking its response on the eminent scholar's arrest.

The apex court had earlier directed the state government to strictly comply with the union government advisory, spelling out clearly that a person should not be arrested without taking permission from police officials of the rank of inspector general of police (IGP), deputy commissioner of police (DCP) or superintendent of police (SP) in such cases.

--IANS (Posted on 19-08-2013)

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