An undergraduate student in Maharashtra’s Amravati district has alleged that state Education Minister Vinod Tawde ordered his arrest when he was recording a conversation between him and a fellow student where as the charge was denied by the minister.
The student, Yuvraj Dabad, also claimed that following the alleged order, the local police detained him for a couple of hours, seized his smartphone and returned it after the video-recording was deleted from it.
Tawde, however, refuted the allegation, saying that he did not order the student’s arrest and the”lies” were being spread against him.
A top police official in Amravati said that the student was neither arrested nor detained, and nothing was deleted from his mobile phone.
The alleged incident took place on Friday after Tawde inaugurated an elocution competition at a college in Amravati, located around 680 km from Mumbai.
The minister was leaving after his speech at the event when some students from journalism course reached out to him near his vehicle, seeking his response on a free-education policy.
Prashant Rathod, a student of the college, said, “I was told by Education Minister Vinod Tawde to start working somewhere if I could not afford the educational expenses. My question to him was whether the state could have a free-education policy.”
Dabad was video-recording the interaction, when the minister “first asked him to stop the recording and later ordered the police to arrest him”, Rathod claimed while talking to reporters in Amravati on Saturday.
Dabad said he declined the minister’s order to stop the recording because “he (Tawde) was not answering our queries”.
“We were simply asking questions to him and seeking his views,” he told reporters.
“As Tawde ordered the police to arrest me, I was taken out of the college premises and detained for some time in the police vehicle. My handset was returned later in the evening. All the videos and recordings into my phone were deleted by the police without my permission,” Dabad said.
Tawde later termed the allegations “false”.
“It is some sort of a lie that as saying: is being spread against me. I did not order the arrest of any student in Amravati,” he told PTI on Sunday.
The minister said he had a “good interaction” with students at the college for almost two-and-a-half hours.
“The students, who have levelled charges against me, met me outside the hall and tried to ask some questions to me. They are the ones who are spreading lies about me.
“Some of those students also came with pamphlets with ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ written on those and distributed them among the other students. They were the ones who alleged that I ordered the arrest. It is completely false,” he said.
When contacted, Amravati Police Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Baviskar said neither any student was arrested or detained nor anything was deleted from anyone’s mobile phone.
“In the midst of chaos in the college, the concerned student was taken outside the college, that’s it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dabad said that he has submitted a letter to the police commissionerate in Amravati and the district collectorate on Saturday against Tawde and police officials concerned for allegedly detaining him without the permission of his college authorities and deleting data from his mobile phone.