Agnivesh Arrested

Indian Express, New Delhi December 24, 1987

JAITPURA (RAJASTHAN): The Arya Samaj leader, Swami Agnivesh and 300 of his fellow padyatris, were arrested here on Wednesday when they violated prohibitory orders imposed in the area.

The police took the anti-sati marchers into custody when they started proceeding towards Deorala in Sikar district on the final day of their march. The march started from Red Fort in Delhi on December 5 on a social awareness campaign against sati and other social evils perpetrated against women.

Though the Rajasthan High Court, through an order on December 21, had quashed the prohibitory orders in force in Chomu tehsil, terming it as discriminatory since it was issued to stop only Swami Agnivesh and the padyatris, the sub-divisional magistrate issued a fresh order on Wednesday.

The order served to Swami Agnivesh in the morning on Wednesday said the administration feared a threat to the life of the Swami and his fellow padyatris and anticipated a clash between the marchers and supporters of the pro-sati Dharam Raksha Samiti. Astonished that the Government had chosen to issue a second notification prohibiting their march after the Rajasthan High Court order, Swami Agnivesh said the padyatris would break the prohibitory orders. Mrs. Promila Dandvate clarified that she and many others in the Janata Party were opposed to the stand taken by the party member, Mr. Kalyan Singh Kalvi, on the issue of sati.

The padyatris earlier took a decision to resume their march to Deorala at Mothu Ka Bas after completing the "nari jagran mahayagna" which they had started after being stopped by the Government on Sunday. They had walked three kms to Jaitpura before they were arrested.