Skip to main content

Preparing to protest land acquisition for Maruti Suzuki, maldharis of Mandal-Becharaji SIR lathicharged

By Our Representative
The cattle rearing population of Hansalpur village and surnding areas of North Gujarat region, where the state government has handed over 699 acres of land to the Maruti-Suzuki Ltd to set up a new auto manufacturing unit, was restrained from taking out a protest rally from Hansalpur to state capital Gandhinagar. A statement issued by Jamin Adhikar Andolan Gujarat (JAAG) said, when at around 10.00 am, with 500 cows, the maldharis were about to begin their march, “the police resorted to unprovoked and sudden 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 custody and driven to Viramgam police station”, the JAAG statement, signed by Lalji Desai and Sagar Rabari, reads, adding, “The maldharis who were in custody and who had received lathi blows demanded medical checkup but the police refused to allow even that, rather they resorted to even more efforts to suppress them.”
The statement said, “The police, bowing to its political masters, resorted to severe lathicharge. They took around 62 persons into custody and registered cases under sections 143, 188, 289, 336 and more.” It wondered, “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?”
Alleging oppression, JAAG said, it will remain “steadfast” till “democracy in the real sense is restored in Gujarat”, and two “anti-farmer” laws -- the Special Investment Region (SIR) Act, 2009 is abolished and the Gujarat Irrigation and Drainage Act, 2013 -- are abolished. Demanding that “the police officers responsible for this reprehensible act are suspended with immediate effect”, JAAG asked for the institution of “judicial inquiry into this incident”.
This was the first major attempt of JAAG to protest following its victory in forcing the state government to downsize the Mandal-Becharaji SIR from 44 villages to just eight in August 2013. Maruti Suzuki’s proposed plant is to take shape in the newly constituted SIR. While rich farmers in the squeezed SIR have reportedly gained because of a higher land price, the poor farmers, who depend solely on land for livelihood, are starting to feel the pinch.
The land given to Maruti Suzuki was handed over to Maldharis, Dalits and Thakores of the village who were landless way back in mid-1950s. Said JAAG, “The land was given away by the government to Maruti Suzuki Co without taking the affected families into confidence or initiating any talks with them.”
Worse, JAAG added, “The village wasteland was been given away to Maruti Suzuki, leaving very little grazing land for the maldharis of the village, raising a serious issue of their livelihood and sustenance. Cattle-rearing was rendered extremely difficult. Hence, under the leadership of JAAG and Azad Vikas Sangathan, maldharis decided to undertake a cattle rally from village Hansalpur to Gandhinagar.”
“The police, bowing to the political masters, denied permission for the rally. The district collector, Mehsana, was given a resolution and demands, and he assured the people of positive outcome and demanded some time”, JAAG said, adding, “With no solution in sight, the maldharis chalked out their own programme for cattle march. The police simply refused to take the letter seeking permission for the cattle march. Since early morning on January 19, heavy police deployment was seen on all approach roads to Hansalpur and in the village.”

Comments

TRENDING

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Law 'governing' world's tallest Statue of Unity refers to local tribals as occupiers

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant*
The recently enacted Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019 in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detentions and FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

Anti-CAA: Mallika Sarabhai joins students, faculty to protest dy CM's 'divisive' talk

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s statement against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), well-known danseuse Mallika Sarabhai has joined tens of activists and students and faculty of Gujarat University, CEPT University, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Nirma University to say that they are seeking “azadi” from the fascist and communal forces of the country.

Ramchandra Guha on how Gandhi outgrew his Gujarati bania 'parochialism'

By Rajiv Shah
More than a fortnight ago, prominent historian Ramchandra Guha, who calls himself Gandhi scholar and not a Gandhian, came to Ahmedabad. While I was part of a small group of persons who met him at lunch, his lecture on Gandhi in the evening, where he sought to interpret what swaraj meant to Gandhi, surely, interested the selected audience that had been called to listen to him.

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Ironical? Hindutva is all 'fire and spite', as Muslim women become apostles of peace

By Sandeep Pandey*
On January 26, Republic Day, 2020, while protests simmered against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) throughout India, a dozen North American cities also witnessed historic protests. Indian Embassies have been witness to protests in the past. But this time it was different.