VELLORE: A unique form of 'protest' where nine women attempted to submit a petition blindfolded to the Collector in Vellore seeking a crackdown on cotton betting resulted in all of them being detained by the police on Monday.
There were 12 petitioners, of them the nine women blindfolded themselves to express their concern and demand for action during the grievances redressal meeting.
Jabeen Banu, District President of Women India Movement - a wing of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), and Y Fayaz Ahmad, District president of SDPI, along with the members were detained by the police team led by Sathuvachari Inspector - Azhagu Rani.
"The police detained us for about half-an-hour saying that we did not inform them of submitting the petitions with eyes covered," Fayaz Ahmad said. Vellore Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) - N Balakrishnan came to the spot and held an inquiry.
Inspector Azhagu Rani said, "We had to stop them because we did not know they are covering their eyes and submitting the petition."
In the petition, Banu stated that the illegal practise of cotton betting is targeted at poor people and should be put to an end.
"Will they allow us to submit the pleas if we inform them beforehand that we are going to submit the please blindfolded," quizzed Ahmed. However, the police had sent back the petitioners after a brief detention.
"It was strange why the police had to detain the women. They wanted to submit the petition blindfolded, which is one of the ways to express their concern and demand," a petitioner said. Earlier, in many instances, public resorted to submitting petitions in various ways such as kneeling, wearing costumes of Gods, etc., the petitioner added.
The women were later allowed to submit the petition but without being blindfolded.
It may be noted that the police in combined Vellore district arrested 77 accused in connection with 'cotton betting' cases. Of that, 62 accused were arrested in Vellore district alone, and within the limits of Vellore, South, Bagayam, Gudiyattam, and Pernambut police stations, a senior police officer told Express.
On February 1, as many as 32 persons were arrested for indulging in lottery and cotton gambling in a day-long secret operation carried out by 175 police personnel team.