Chandigarh: Hundreds of people, including BJP and BSP leaders and activists, were taken into preventive custody on Saturday during the Prime Minister`s visit here, with the opposition terming it as "undemocratic".
"Some people were detained on apprehension of breach of peace during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s visit to the city," a police officer said, adding they were let off in the evening after the Prime Minister had left the city.
Several BJP men, including former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan, were taken into custody from Transport Chowk and Industrial areas, while party leaders Rambir Bhatti, Harinder Mishra and Anil Dube were picked up from their homes early in the morning, said BJP Chandigarh unit president Sanjay Tandon.
"We wanted to protest peacefully against the project to give away flats to the poor as the houses were very small. They will also not get ownership rights and basic services like sewerage, hospital and schools," Dhawan said.
But police detained nearly 500 workers of BJP, BSP and Jan Sangharsh Samiti and some local residents, he said.
"Almost every police station was looking like a temporary jail where people were arrested and detained without any justifiable reason," said former BJP MP Satya Pal Jain.
Senior BSP leader Anwar-ul-Haq said he along with his wife Jannat-ul-Jahan, who is a party councillor in the local Municipal Corporation, were whisked away from their home early in the morning and detained till evening. The BJP leadership said with the Lok Sabha elections drawing closer, the giving away of flats was just a political stunt to garner votes.
Local Congress leaders, however, rejected the charges and said BJP was misguiding people on slum rehabilitation and were creating "hurdles" in making Chandigarh "slum-free".