Understanding of Democracy is Shrinking: Jean Drèze Speaks to Media After Being Detained (Watch)
Drèze and two other Right to Food activists were detained by Jharkhand police for organising a public meeting.
Development economist Jean Drèze, who was detained along with two other Right to Food activists on Thursday, spoke to the media about the matter following his release from custody.
Drèze and his colleagues — Vivek and Anuj — were picked up and taken to Vishnupur police station by Jharkhand police for organising a public meeting in Garhwa district, without permission and in violation of the model code of conduct.
However, the three activists were released after a few hours. Speaking to the media, Drèze said that they had applied for permission in writing ten days in advance, however the administration did not respond to the application at all. “They didn’t give permission, they didn’t reject it either,” he told reporters.
He said, “During election time, it is critical to hold such peaceful, unpolitical meetings on issues of public interest.”
Drèze added, “Nowhere in the Model Code of Conduct does it say that permission for such meetings cannot be given,” adding that a much larger meeting had been organised in the area the night before, without permission, and that the police did not take any action against the latter.
“The understanding of democracy in India is shrinking, it is important for people to air their views during the election for which, unpolitical and peaceful meetings should be allowed,” the economist said and added that basic freedoms are being curtailed slowly.