A footmarch (padyatra) of farmers from Gandhi Ashram to Gandhinagar started today;

Permission denied; Freedoms denied;
Leaders and marchers detained;

The issues of farm distress in Gujarat are multiplying. Farmers are committing suicide, reeling under the enormous burden of nearly two decades of neglect of the farm sector by the ruling dispensation. Instead of addressing their issues and, at the very least, entering into a dialogue with them, the state government is using every repressive tactic at its disposal.

The ongoing agitation of farmers has been organising a series of protest actions – rallies, demonstrations, footmarches – to highlight the pitiful conditions of farmers in the state at various locations in Gujarat. Today, 7th July 2017, they had planned to take a footmarch from Gandhi Ashram to Gandhinagar to ask the elected representatives of the people as to what they are doing and intend to do for the farmers of Gujarat. Today’s footmarch is jointly led by Khedut Samaj-Gujarat (KSG) and the OBC Ekta Manch.

The footmarch started from Khet Bhavan near Gandhi Ashram and went to Gandhi Ashram where they garlanded the statue of Mahatma Gandhi. They then began to move towards Gandhinagar. They had just about reached near the Collector’s office when the police detained the leaders of the footmarch – Shri Sagar Rabari of KSG, Shri Alpesh Thakore of OBC Ekta Manch and other leaders and fellow marchers. The ostensible reason for the detention given by the police is that they were marching without police permission.

This is now the new normal in Gujarat. The police routinely deny permission and then crack down on protests. The voice of dissent in Gujarat is being smothered and democracy itself is in danger today. We urge the citizens of Gujarat to raise their voice and register their protest at this anti-democratic and unconstitutional acts of the Government of Gujarat.

Jayesh Patel

President, Khedut Samaj – Gujarat