Mumbai: Psephologist and academic turned politician Yogendra Yadav was detained on Saturday in Tamil Nadu's Tiruvannamalai district while on his way to meet farmers protesting against a proposed eight-lane expressway.
In tweets, Yadav, alleged that the police prevented him from meeting the farmers, accusing cops of manhandling and pushing him into police van.
"TN police has detained me and team in Chengam PS, Thiru Annamalai district. We came on the invitation of Movement Against 8Lane Way. We were prevented from going to meet farmers, phones snatched, manhandled and pushed into police van. First hand experience of police state in TN!" Yadav tweeted.
Yadav said he was arrested minutes before he spoke to senior district official over the phone about complaints of forces acquisition of land for the eight-lane expressway and police excesses.
"I had spoken to Mr Kandasamy, Collector, Thiru Annamalai about acquisition and complains of police excesses for 8 lane way. He completely denied any police interference. Within minutes of the phone call police detained us," Yadav told in another tweet.
Yadav said Superintendent of Police did not allow him to meet the farmers inside their home citing law and order problems.
"Supdt. Police, Thiru Annamalai is here to tell me hay they apprehend law and order problem due to my presence! I am saying I will only visit farmers inside their homes. SP says I am not allowed! Gandhian disobedience is the only way out, it seems (sic)," Yadav tweeted.
In 2017, Yogendra Yadav launched the Jai Kisan Andolan, a campaign for farmers' rights.
A section of locals including farmers and environmentalists have been opposing the Rs 10,000 crore eight-lane Salem-Chennai expressway. Farmers fear that they may lose their land while environmentalists are opposing to felling of trees for the project.
Yogendra Yadav founded Swaraj India in 2015 after he was evicted from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for taking on party convenor Arvind Kejriwal.