Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde faced flak after he was accused of ordering the “arrest” of an undergraduate student for recording a conversation between him and a fellow student. But the minister has denied the charge.
“It is some sort of a lie that is being spread against me. I did not order the arrest of any student in Amravati,” the minister told news agency PTI on Sunday.
The student, Yuvraj Dabad, alleged that following the order, the local police detained him for a couple of hours and seized his smartphone. The incident has drawn sharp reactions on Twitter, including from Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray, whose party shares power with Mr Tawde’s party, the BJP, in the state.
Every student must read this. “The education minister of Maharashtra directs cops to arrest student”. Why? Because he was shooting an interaction! No tough questions please!
They want Youth only to man their electoral booths, not answer questions about education & jobs. pic.twitter.com/X7iv7XZzLs
– Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) January 5, 2019
The incident allegedly took place after Mr Tawde inaugurated an elocution competition at a college in Amravati. The minister was leaving after his speech at the event, when some students approached him, seeking his response on a free-education policy.
“I was told by Education Minister Vinod Tawde to start working somewhere if I could not afford the educational expenses” said Prashant Rathod, who was rebuked by the minister.
Mr Tawde then asked Yuvraj Dabad to turn off the video-recording of the interaction. When he refused, the minister asked the police to arrest him, Rathod was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Yuvraj Dabad said he declined the minister’s order 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. My handset was returned after a couple of hours,” Yuvraj Dabad said.
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 them and distributed them among the other students. They were the ones who alleged that I ordered the arrest. It is completely false,” he said.
Amravati Police Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Baviskar said no student was arrested or detained and nothing was deleted from anyone’s mobile phone. “The student was only taken outside the college,” he said.
With inputs from PTI