Skip to main content

Farmer leaders detained in "combing operation" ahead of Maruti-Suzuki stone laying ceremony in Gujarat

By Our Representative
Ahead of Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel’s stone-laying ceremony of the Maruti-Suzuki plant at Hansalpur in North Gujarat on Wednesday, the state police swooped on a dozen-odd farmer leaders apprehending that they would stage a protest. While one of them, Laljibhai Desai, was put under house arrest, others were detained. According to sources of the Jameen Adhikar Andolan Gujarat (JAAG), which a year ago spearheaded an agitation against land acquisition at Hansalpur (click HERE to read), the police told farmer activists that the arrests were “precautionary.”
JAAG sources said, cops approached Desai on Tuesday night at his farmhouse, situated about three kilometers from Hansalpur, telling him that he would have to be detained. “However, when Desai protested and sought reason, the cops became apprehensive, felt it might become a politically sensitive issue. When Desai gave in writing that there was no farmers’ protest, the cops left, only to return early on Wednesday, telling him that he was under house arrest”, said the sources.
“When Desai again protested and said he would go out to attend besna (condolence meeting) of a relative”, the sources said, “The police accompanied him for the time he went out, and returned with him. As for others, they were kept in detention for virtually the whole day, without providing any reason. One of them was picked up from his house, situated about 20 kilometers from Hansalpur, the spot where the car plant has been proposed.”
Previously in JAAG, ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Desai joined the Congress, but even today he is known more as a farmer activist. When contacted, a farmers’ leader, Sagar Rabari of the Gujarat Khedut Samaj leader, who is close to Desai, told Counterview, “This is not for the first time that the cops swooped on suspicion of protest, without citing any reason. There appears to be a clear sense unease in the establishment.”
Giving one example after another, Rabari said, “Every time the chief minister goes to the Narmada dam or the nearly areas, Lakhan Musafir is detained without citing a reason. Musafir is one of the farmer leaders who had led protests against the Gujarat government’s move to construct a weir across the river Narmada and the proposed Statue of Liberty, tallest in the world, in the memory of Sardar Patel, on the ground that farmers’ consent had not been obtained.”
Lalji Desai
In another instance, Rabari said, he was detained on January 8 apprehending a farmers’ protest rally against the Vibrant Gujarat summit. “As many as five police vans, with four senior cops, had come to catch me early in the morning, and without citing a reason I was taken away, though we had planned our protest on January 11 morning, and not on January 8, against the Vibrant Gujarat summit”, he added.
Then, Rabari pointed out, there was the infamous incident in which Indukumar Jani, a veteran Gandhian, was detained along with two other veterans – economist Prof Rohit Shukla and People’s Union for Civil Liberties general secretary Gautam Thaker, on January 11 morning, when they were driving on their way to the proposed farmers’ agitation at Adalaj, about six kilometers from the Vibrant Gujarat summit venue. They were going there as mere observers (click HERE to read).
According to Rabari, “It has become a norm over the last several months not to give any permission to protests in Gujarat under one pretext or the other. If Vibrant Gujarat was the reason why permission was not granted recently, earlier, construction workers were not allowed to protest against the Adani township saying the state assembly session was on, hence there wasn’t enough police force to control the protesters.”
“Even on apprehensions of protests, activists are treated as criminals, picked up without citing reason”, said Rabari, adding, “In fact, one is reminded of the way in which, ahead of religious processions like Rath Yatra, anti-social elements are picked up in combing operations to ensure that there is no disturbance. All this suggests the type of model that Gujarat is seeking to project itself before the country.”

Comments

TRENDING

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.