Noted economist Jean Dreze detained for public meeting on right to food; later released

Ranchi | Noted economist and public activist Jean Dreze was today detained by the Jharkhand Police for holding public meeting to resolve issues related to ration and pension pendencies.

Dreze along with Vivek Kumar, Anuj Kumar were detained in Jharkhand’s Bishunpura for holding a Jan Sunwai on issues such as Right to food. However, all three were released after four hours of detention.

Speaking on the arrest, police officials said, “They have been detained for organizing meeting under Bishunpur police station…local police are questioning them and they will be released after sometime.”

Speaking on his arrest, Dreze said, “We want permission to hold the meeting today itself. Even evening. A big meeting was held in the same village last night without permission,” Dreze said. He further said that the police have asked the activists to sign a bond stating that they ‘have no complaint against the government’. “We have refused to sign the bond. Now we are writing out our statement. They may let us out.”

A wide outrage was spread on social media after the arrest of Jean Dreze. Renowned activist Yogendra Yadav on his twitter handle wrote, “Shocking beyond words! Jean Dreze is a saint-economist, a potential Nobel awardee who lived in slums, written and done more for the poor than any economist, shunned all power and glory, took up Indian citizenship, is a pacifist. Nothing can be more shameful than arresting him.”

Criticisng the state government for arresting Jean Dreze and his associates, the Congress party wrote,” World renowned economist & social activist Jean Dreze & 2 others have been arrested by the BJP govt. in Jharkhand for daring to hold a meeting on Right to Food. In a state with so many hunger deaths, you’d expect the govt to be more receptive to help.”

Professor Irfan Habib of Aligarh Muslim University questioning the arrest of Dreze wrote on twitter,” Shocking to know that economists like Jean Dreze are a threat to the nation and need to be arrested. I hope sanity prevails soon and he and others are released. He was only busy organizing a meeting on right to food. How can fight against hunger be a crime?”

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