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Civil and political rights almost in abeyance in Gujarat;
A fictitious peace and a fictitious democracy in Gujarat.

The General Secretary of Khedut Samaj-Gujarat (KSG) Shri Sagar Rabari, through a press release, has stated that:

The situation of civil rights of dissenters, those disagreeing with the government, are under severe strain and threat in Gujarat. Just last month we had highlighted the case of Shri Lakhan Musafir. Today the Government of Gujarat and the Gujarat Police provided yet another example of it.

The Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch (RADM) had planned to take out a rally – “Azadi Kooch” – from Mehsana town to Dhanera in Banaskantha district to mark the first anniversary of the Una incident. The organisers had sought police permission and were granted the same; however the permission granted on June 27 was revoked on July 8 by the executive magistrate of Mehsana who cited a fresh advisory issued by the local police about the law and order situation.

Yet the organisers announced that they would go ahead despite the rev permission and accordingly the rally started today at Mehsana. A meeting was held at Somnath Chowk in Mehsana at 3 pm and the rally started soon thereafter. The rally was addressed by Jignesh Mevani, Kanhaiya Kumar, Yogendra Yadav, Raju Shetty and Reshma Patel among others.

However, as is the new normal in Gujarat nowadays, the police took Shri Jignesh Mevani and others into ‘preventive detention’. Reshma Patel of PAAS was also detained.

KSG strongly condemns this unconstitutional act of the Government of Gujarat in denying the people their right to expression and their right to association. The rally and the participants were marching peacefully to highlight their demands. Not allowing people to voice their anger, stifling the voice of dissent and frustration, and then claiming a fictitious peace in the state is the hallmark of the BJP government in Gujarat. It betrays the deep distrust and fear of the people that the Government of Gujarat has been suffering from.

We wish to emphasise that this is not an isolated incident. Police permission has now become mandatory for the smallest of meetings; police permission is denied as a matter of routine; Section 144 is perennially in place; LIB and IB inquiries and phone tappings are rampant; detentions of social activists is now the norm.

It is a lie to say that Gujarat is a strife-free state; Gujarat is a police state and strife is suppressed through sheer brute force of the state.

Sagar Rabari
Secretary, Khedut Samaj-Gujarat