New Delhi- In an intriguing turn of events, on Tuesday, Advocate Mehmood Pracha successfully persuaded the Delhi Police to allow him, along with Bhanu Pratap and two other lawyers, to take their protest against EVM voting to the Supreme Court. The smaller team aimed to present a memorandum to the Chief Justice of India. However, the bus, which initially promised to head to the apex court, took an unexpected turn and redirected to Mandir Marg police station. There, the lawyers were detained for an additional two hours.
The Mooknayak spoke to D.C. Kapil, the coordinator of 'EVM Hatao Sanyukt Morcha,' to shed light on the events that unfolded after the lawyers boarded the bus. Kapil revealed, "The bus directly took the lawyers to Mandir Marg police station, where they were detained for 2 hours. What they did to us was a form of mischief, and we were deceived in front of everyone. We only boarded the bus with the condition that the objective was to submit our memorandum to the CJI. If detention was the plan, why were we separated from the rally-goers?"
On January 16, a march against EVM machines was undertaken, spearheaded by Supreme Court advocates Bhanu Pratap and Mehmood Pracha. The protest was scheduled to start from Gate no. 4 of Patiala Family Court and would end at Supreme Court of India. This marked the figurative continuation of the same march that took place at the same place on 5th January but could not be completed as the protestors were detained by the police.
This time too the rally faced a similar result. Police again stopped the movement from going too far from Patiala court. According to the police, the march was violating guidelines whose notice never reached the advocates. Using this to their advantage, advocate Mehmood Pracha came to a compromise with the Delhi Police that later allowed 4 lawyers to go to Supreme Court. As the advocate, his colleague Bhanu Pratap and two other lawyers boarded the police’s bus to go to Supreme Court, the remaining people at the rally were dismissed. But the whole process turned out to be a facade.
D.C. Kapil further discussed the future of the movement, stating, "On January 25th, our teams in every capital city will visit the Election Commission's office to deliver a memorandum. Following that, in February, the same pattern will continue but at the district level. There are programs that we have decided upon, which will be revealed on the 25th."
At the rally held on January 16, The Mooknayak spoke with both Bhanu Pratap and Mehmood Pracha about the movement and its potential consequences. When asked about the possibility of the protest yielding results, given the proximity of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, advocate Bhanu Pratap expressed confidence, stating, "We can see very clearly that the elections will take place using ballot paper and not EVM." The advocate then highlighted the growing support for their movement, saying, "The whole nation is with us. Look around you and see the number of lawyers who have taken to the streets to demand the same. Are they wrapped up in blankets and on their bed? No! Farmers, laborers will come and walk shoulder to shoulder."
Advocate Bhanu Pratap further responded with displeasure when the EVM’s movement was equated with Ram Mandir. On being questioned if the topic of EVM misuse could have the potential to become an issue as big as the making of Ram mandir in Ayodhya, the advocate said, “today we have gotten together to protest against EVM. There can be no issue bigger than EVM voting in this country. That is the only issue which connects 140 crore population and 100 crore voters.
Just like the previous protest, the rally goers were stopped by the police this time too. Talking about the detainment, advocate Mehmood Pracha took a dig at Home Minister Amit Shah by saying, “Whatever Amit Shah Saab is doing, will not save him in the long run. This is a fight for the 140 crore Indians. There is no stadium, no bus, no jail big enough to hold all of us.”
“This is everyone’s fight, but Lawyers have the utmost responsibility. I would like to call out everyone from this profession in the entire nation, especially the ones who are in Delhi-NCR, to join us in this movement.”
The Previous Rally Ended Up in Detainment of the Advocates:
This is not the first rally that took place against EVM voting and will not be the last. The previous gathering, which was set for 5th January’s evening at Patiala House Courts' Gate 4, aimed to march to the Election Commission of India's (ECI) office. The delegation sought to convey a concern about the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) hindering fair elections. They were advocating a return to paper ballots.
Police halted the protest, leading to advocates Mehmood Pracha and Bhanu Pratap asserting that the government, particularly the BJP, aims to suppress protests against EVMs. Amid the chaos, Pracha emphasized his respect for the police, fearing their Ashok Stambha more than political figures. Bhanu Pratap highlighted the obstruction as proof of the protest's need and claimed it demonstrated Narendra Modi's apprehension due to alleged EVM tampering, justifying their detainment.