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PRESS RELEASE – No human rights in Gandhi’s Gujarat

 

Jameen Adhikar Andolan – Gujarat (JAAG)

A-302, Sharan Residency-1, Near Lohana Chhatralaya, Vasna, Ahmedabad

Contact: Lalji Desai 9727589344 Sagar Rabari 9409307693

 

Date: 18th January 2014

 

PRESS NOTE

 

To,

Editor/ Bureau Chief

 

MBSIR: No human rights in ’s

Police lathi charge Maldharis and their innocent cows

Demand strict action against the police officer responsible for the needless and unprovoked lathicharge

The Maruti Suzuki Company had been given land in village Hansalpur. In 1954, the then government, had allotted this land to the Maldharis, the Dalits and the Thakores of the village who were landless. This land has also been ‘given’ away by the government to Maruti Suzuki Co. This was done without taking the affected families into confidence or initiating any talks with them. Moreover the village wasteland had also been given away to Maruti Co. leaving very little grazing land for the Maldharis of the villages, raising a serious issue of their livelihood and sustenance. Cattle-rearing was rendered extremely difficult for them. Hence, under the leadership of JAAG and Azad Vikas Sangathan, the Maldharis decided to undertake a cattle rally from village Hansalpur to Gandhinagar in October 2013 and to hand over their cattle to the government for their care. The police, bowing to their political masters, denied permission for the rally. The Collector was given a resolution and demands, and he assured the people of positive outcome and demanded some time.

With no solution to their problem in sight and permission for voicing their protest not forthcoming, the Maldharis chalked out their own programme for a cattle march. Yesterday the police simply refused to take the letter seeking permission for the cattle march. Since early morning today heavy police deployment was seen on all approach roads to Hansalpur and in the village as well.  

Around 10.30 am, when the Maldharis were to begin their march with around 500 cows, the police resorted to unprovoked and sudden (without warning) lathicharge. The cows were unsettled with this sudden blow of lathis and they started running helter-skelter. Taking advantage of this, the police intensified the blows. The people were taken into custory and taken to Viramgam police station.

The Maldharis who were in custody and who had received lathi blows demanded medical check up but the police refused to allow even that, rather they resorted to even more efforts to suppress them.

Earlier also two JAAG leaders Lalji Desai and Sagar Rabari had been taken into custody after a peaceful flag hoisting done by them on 15th August 2013 and were slapped with police cases.

On 23rd October 2013 again the police had refused permission to the Maldharis to take out their cattle rally.

The same has happened today: the police, yet again bowing to its political masters, has resorted to severe lathicharge and taken around 62 persons into custody and registered cases under sections 143, 188, 289, 336 and more.

JAAG is today asking these questions: do people need police permission to voice their issues, dissent, opinion? If police permission is inevitable for voicing of dissent and the police adamantly refuses permission, how are people to register their protest? What are their options? Perhaps the comparisons to Hitler’s reign may, after all, be apt. The government denies permission, the people are stopped from voicing their dissent, and the world is told that the entire Gujarat is with ‘me’. But has anyone ever asked: are the people willingly with you or are they with you out of fear.

JAAG will remain steadfast despite this oppression, till:

  1. Democracy in the real sense is not restored in Gujarat

  2. The SII Act is not abolished in Gujarat

  3. The Gujarat Irrigation and Drainage Act is not abolished

  4. People of Gujarat can fearlessly voice their opinions.

We demand that the police officer/s responsible for this reprehensible act is/are suspended with immediate effect and a judicial inquiry be ordered into this incident.

Lalji Desai                                                     Sagar Rabari

Jameen Adhikar Aandolan – Gujarat (JAAG)

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