Permission was taken for National Conference on People’s Struggles

Organisers of the National Conference on People’s Struggles which took place in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra on March 22 and 23 have accused the police of preventing thousands of people from participating in the meet. The conference was organised jointly by the Bharat Jan Andolan and the Adivasi Mahasabha with the help of the Communist Party of India.

“It was a democratic event and we had taken permission from the Gadchiroli police and district administration. However, more than 10,000 people from different parts of Gadchiroli and Chhattisgarh were prevented by the police from reaching the programme venue,” alleged conference coordinator Mahesh Raut. A former Prime Minister Rural Development Fellow (PMRDF), Mr. Raut claimed that the main aim of the police was to stop people from attending the inaugural session addressed by leftist thinker and writer Anand Teltumbde.

“A week before the conference, activists of the Bharat Jan Andolan were asked to submit their photos and identity proof in police stations. Two days before the event, police asked owners of tractors and trolleys in Gadchiroli to station their vehicles at the police stations so that people could not use them to reach the programme venue,” Mr. Raut told The Hindu .

According to CPI leader Jagdish Meshram, over 15 activists of the Chhattisgarh Bachav Andolan were “stopped” by the police on the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border and sent back. An activist of the Bharat Jan Andolan was “kidnapped,” he claimed.

“On the day of the conference, many private vehicles which were ferrying people to the programme venue were made to stop at different police stations for hours. They also prevented cultural groups from reaching the venue. Police deliberately organised awareness programmes in different police stations and coerced people to participate in them,” claimed Mr. Raut.

“When our activists asked them why they were being stopped, a lower rung police officer cited orders from higher-ups. There was also an attempt to block the media coverage of the event,” he added.

Over 8,000 take part

However, more than 8,000 people participated in the event. The conference was addressed by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar, Mr. Teltumbde, and Bijay Panda.

Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police Sandip Patil did not respond to calls from The Hindu.

The conference was organised jointly by Bharat Jan Andolan and Adivasi Mahasabha with the help of the CPI

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/police-stopped-activists-going-to-gadchiroli-meet-organisers/article7029861.ece