Raipur, Sep 26 Thousands of Congress workers today courted arrest across Chhattisgarh protesting against alleged increase in the cases of atrocities against members of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
The protest was held in the wake of the alleged custodial death of a man belonging to an SC community in Janjgir Champa district on September 17.
Congress workers staged demonstrations in all the 27 districts and courted arrest as part of 'jail bharo andolan'. Congress state spokesperson Gyanesh Sharma claimed over 50,000 party workers were arrested.
In Raipur, he claimed, around 3,100 Congress workers led by the state Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel and Raipur city Congress chief Vikas Upadhyay courted arrest. Police, however, put the total number of Congress workers arrested in Raipur at 951.
"The Congress procession started from Congress Bhawan, passed through Chikni Mandir and was stopped at Moti Bagh," Raipur Additional Superintendent of Police Vijay Agrawal said.
"Though party leaders had handed over a list of 3,100 persons for arresting, only 951 of them including two MLAs fulfilled the prescribed formalities for the arrest," he said.
They were later released unconditionally. In Korba district, former Union Minister Charan Das Mahant, and at Dharsinwa (Raipur) Rajya Sabha MP Chhaya Verma led the protest.
"In Janjgir Champa, Satish Norge, a youth belonging to Satnami community, was brutally beaten to death at police station because he had complained to the electricity department regarding power outage at his village.
The incident reflects administrative terrorism in the state," said the Congress spokesperson Sharma. Several cases of atrocities on tribals were being reported from Bastar, he alleged.
Three policemen have been arrested in connection with the alleged custodial death of Norge so far. The BJP government in the state has also constituted a judicial probe into the incident.