Skip to main content

In a mid-night swoop, Gujarat police arrest JAAG leader ahead of farmers' agitation on Dholera SIR

Dholera farmers discuss strategy
ahead of an agitation
By Our Representative
Ahead of the proposed agitation against the Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR) on March 29, the Gujarat police in the wee hours of March 26 arrested one of the senior farmer leaders of the area, Rajbha Chudasma. A statement issued by Jamin Adhikar Andolan Gujarat (JAAG), which organized the agitation, called arrest as smacking of “political pressure to suppress a non-political movement”. To be implemented in the south of Ahmedabad in 22 villages encompassing 900 sq km, DSIR has been envisaged as a modern industrial township in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), but has invited farmers’ ire over Gujarat government decision to take away 50 per cent of the farmers’ land in the name of developing infrastructure.
JAAG said in a statement, “Rajbha Chudasma has been a prominent leader of the agitation. In a complete non-issue, the police have acted to arrest him. Since the matter was resolved and he was arrested after this on false charges, we are led to believe that this is being done at the behest of political masters who are threatened by the agitation.” It added, “We are of the firm conviction that this is being done to threaten the movement and the farmers before the sammelan of March 29, proving that the claims of the government are hollow and that a mere gathering of the farmers and dissenters can throw the government off-balance and scared.”
Demanding an independent inquiry into the matter, JAAG leaders Pradhyumansinh Chudasma and Sagar Rabari have written a letter to Chief Electoral Officer, Gujarat State, Anita Karwal demanding “an independent inquiry into the incident to ascertain the truth of the matter”. Calling it a “serious malpractice”, JAAG leaders in the letter said, “Rajbha Chudasma is a farmer-leader spearheading the farmers’ struggle against the DSIR. On March 25, 2014 there was a minor altercation following a misunderstanding between two or three local communities. Chudasma, being a respected leader of the area, intervened in the matter and effected a compromise, and the matter was amicably resolved.”
Despite this, the letter said, “On the morning of March 26, 2014, around 3 am the police arrived at his house and arrested him on false charges and took him to the Dhandhuka Police Station. He has since been kept there. This is a non-political struggle that Chudasma is part of, and we suspect that he has been implicated by the police, which are acting on orders of some political leaders. Otherwise, there was no reason to arrest him at all. We suspect this to be a political ploy to intimidate and threaten Chudasma and the farmers of the area and to suppress the farmers’ movement.”
The letter wants Karwal to “find out where, why and from whom the orders for the arrest were given”. JAAG sources say, this is not for the first time that its leaders were tried to be browbeaten. On several occasions in the past, whenever they wished to go ahead with an agitation, the police swooped on them and arrested them. On February 9 this year, about 100 farmers, including leaders Chudasma, Rajbha Chudasma, Sagar Rabari and Lalji Desai and senior activist Indukumar Jani were detained for starting an agitation at Sandhila village in Dholera SIR.
Dholera is not the only area where JAAG is being targeted. This has happened during its opposition to another special investment region (SIR), being planned in North Gujarat, too. On August 15, 2013, the police cancelled the permission granted for the flag hoisting at the last minute to the protesting villagers in the Mandal-Bechraji SIR area. On October 23, 2013 the permission for the cattle rally from Hansalpur to Gandhinagar was denied to the protesting Maldharis. And on January 18, 2014 the cattle rally by the maldharis was stopped by the police, they were beaten with lathis and had cases registered against them.
If in Dholera farmers want the SIR to be cancelled, even as demanding permanent cancellation of the order which seeks to decommand the Narmada command in 22 villages where the DSIR is being implemented, in Mandal-Bhechraji it is against Maruti, which has deprived poor farmers and cattle breeding maldharis of their land.

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.

When a Pak scribe said Modi has 'proved' Jinnah’s two nation theory right...

By Zafar Agha*
It was around nine in the morning on May 24, 2019, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed the Lok Sabha with 300-plus MPs. It was a call from a journalist friend, Muzamal Suhrawardy, from Lahore, Pakistan. I ignored the call. We liberals had a depressing day the previous evening as the opposition to Modi and BJP collapsed. The results belied reports from the ground and even assessments made by colleagues.

It's now official: Akshay Kumar has not been conferred honorary Canadian citizenship

By Our Representative
It is now official. Super-star Akshay Kumar has not been conferred any honorary citizenship by Canadian authorities, as claimed by him ahead of the 2019 elections. In reply to a query by Roshan Shah, who is a Canadian citizen living in Waterloo, Ontario, and belongs to Ahmedabad, the country’s authorities dealing with issues related with immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada have said that only six persons have so far been granted honorary citizenship.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Govt of India overestimated GDP by 2.5%, must restore reputational damage: Ex-CEA

By Rajiv Shah
Top economist Arvind Subramanian has said that changes brought about by the Government of India in data sources and methodology for estimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 “has led to a significant overestimation of growth”. While official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent, the actual growth may have been 4½ percent, ranging from 3 ½ to 5 ½ percent during the period, he adds.

If EC's credibility is under question, shouldn't one "assume" EVMs might be tampered?

Counterview Desk
Gauhar Raza, scientist, documentary film maker and poet; senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi of the Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD); military veteran Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd); and Sucheta De and Sandeep Saurav of the All India Students' Association (AISA), have asked “individuals, organisations and people's movements” to send their endorsement to an appeal they have prepared on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.

Will minorities in India be 2nd class citizens? Wake up call: Be a 'communicating' Church

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
India today is at a defining moment of her history. There is so much that has taken place in the past five years (and particularly in the last ten days)- that several citizens of the country are genuinely concerned about the future of the country! Will democracy survive? Will key elements of the Constitution be changed?