Noted development economist and activist Jean Dreze and two others were on Thursday detained in Bishunpura, Jharkhand, by police for organising a meeting on Right to Food.
Dreze was part of the National Advisory Council, at the time of the Congress-led UPA.
He was detained in Garhwa, in Jharkhand, for holding a meeting "without permission", police said.
Harsh Mangla, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Garwah, told Outlook that Dreze and the two others detained, Vivek and Anuj, have been let off.
"There were no arrests. They have been let off. They were detained for holding a meeting without permission," Mangla said.
The Belgian-born development economist, in a WhatsApp message to a friend said: "We want permission to hold the meeting today itself. Even evening. A big meeting was held in same village last night without permission."
Police had told them to hold the meeting another day.
Yogendra Yadav, national president Swaraj India, termed the detention of the renowned economist as "shocking" and "shameful".
Shocking beyond words!— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) March 28, 2019
Jean Dreze is a saint-economist, a potential Nobel awardee who lived in slums, written and done more for the poor than any economist, shunned all power and glory, took up Indian citizenship, is a pacifist.
Nothing can be more shameful than arresting him. https://t.co/KagTeBhFV8
Noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan tweeted his shock at the arrest.
Renowned economist& Co-author of several books with Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, Jean Dreze is arrested with 2 other activists in Jharkhand for organizing a meeting on Right to Food! This while goons who beat up Muslim family in Gurgaon roam free& PM tomtoms 2012 DRDO achievement! https://t.co/aCVMcQOUK9— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) March 28, 2019
Dreze helped draft the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, and was also involved in drafting the pro-people National Food Security Act, 2013.
Earlier this month, Dreze was among 108 economists and social scientists who alleged in a statement that the Narendra Modi government was interfering in the publication of statistical data and threatening the institutional independence of the organisations.
Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley had slammed the economists terming them as “purported economists” and said the “compulsive contrarians” are running “fake campaigns” against the government.