Spiritual guru held in Agra

Lucknow : Preacher Devkinandan Thakur was on Tuesday arrested in Agra city where he had gone to address a meeting of people protesting against the changes in the law pertaining to atrocities on the Dalits and tribals, police said.

He was released in the evening on furnishing a personal bond and asked to leave for Mathura.

Senior Superintendent of Police Amit Pathak said that he was questioned to ascertain his motive for visiting Agra.

The district administration had denied him permission to hold a meeting in Agra and police arrested him as he was on way to address a press conference in Kamlanagar. He was sent to the police lines.

Many of his followers were also arrested after they protested.

Thakur called his arrest "murder of democracy".

Thakur was scheduled to address a public meeting at Khandauli which the police felt could disturb peace and harmony, a police official told IANS. Permission to hold the rally was denied due to prohibitory orders imposed under Section 144 of the CrPC.

The preacher has been very vocal against the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and claimed that it will become a tool of oppression against the upper castes.

The 40-year-old spiritual guru has been giving fiery speeches against the Narendra Modi government's decision to bring about changes in the SC/ST law in the wake of Supreme Court ruling on the matter.

Known for his narration of the Shrimad Bhagwat Katha, Thakur has lakhs of followers in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.