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Legal notice to CM Rupani, DGP: Why are Gujarat farmers being 'illegally' detained?

By Our Representative

Taking strong exception to the Gujarat government’s alleged preventive detentions of a large number of farmer leaders this week in order to stop them from holding any protests in support of the Bharat bandh on December 8, a legal notice served on chief minister Vijay Rupani, the home minister, the chief secretary, the director general of police, and other senior police officials has sought know under which law these “illegal” actions were being carried out.
Served through senior Gujarat High Court (HC) advocate Anand Yagnik by Gujarat Khedut Samaj leaders Jayesh Patel, Dahyabhai Gajera, Arun Mehta and Purshottam Parmar; Gujarat Kisan Congress leaders Palbhai Ambaliya, Chetan Gadhiya and Girdharbhai Vaghela, and others, the legal notice said the detentions and house arrests were made “without FIR” and were “unconstitutional”, wondering why they should not approach HC and Supreme Court for stopping such action.
The legal notice said, “Between 9:00 pm of December 7 to 10:00 am of December 8, Jayesh Patel, Ramesh Patel, Dahyabhai Gajera, Arun Mehta, Pal Ambaliya, Girdharbhai Vaghela, Pravin Patodiya and Chetan Gadhiya were “preventively detained, arrested or put in house arrest” up to 6 pm on December 8 by the state police.
It said, starting on December 7, the cops started visiting houses and offices of these leaders and remained in the premises of the house or office “in spite of protest against such entry, encroachment and trespass”, insisting, this is against the right to privacy and basic human and constitutional rights and principles of civil liberties and personal liberty, as “guaranteed” under the Constitution.
This was done, said the legal notice, despite the fact that “not a single farmer leader and their associates violated Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code warranting arrest or detention”. The farmers leaders were only verbally told that the detention or arrest was “in accordance with the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and Gujarat Police Act, 1951.”
“This means that the elected and unelected executives in charge of law and order sitting at Gandhinagar or elsewhere, in a comprehensive, concerted and collective manner do take illegal and unconstitutional decisions and entire police department is told to implement the same”, the legal notice alleged.
Notice calls police action unconstitutional, accuses Gujarat BJP rulers of misusing state machinery to thwart farmers' right to dissent
Giving more details, the legal notice said, on December 10, cops from the local police station visited the office Jayesh Patel in Surat, asking him whether he was going to Gandhinagar on December 11 and then to Delhi on December 12. Again, on December 11,when he was attending a family function at home, cops were “hovering around his house in order to prevent him for leaving his house and Surat City.”
Pointing towards similar action in Surat against other leaders, the legal notice said, farmer leader Parimal Patel “was made to sit in Palsana police station for the whole day on December 11”, adding, cops “forcibly” entered the house of Ramesh Patel on December 9 night and was “rigorously and vigorously interrogated” him, wanting to know if he and other activists were leaving for Delhi.
Then, farmer leaders Dahyabhai Gajera, was forcibly confined in his house at village Upleta, district Rajkot; Chetan Gadhiya of village Pithadiya, district Rajkot, and Girdharbhai Vaghela of village Bhanvad, district Devbhoomi Dwarka, were “detained either in their house in office arrest”, the legal notice said.
Calling police actions “illegal and unconstitutional”, and accusing the BJP government of “misusing its state machinery to thwart attempt on the part of farmers of Gujarat to exercise their right to dissent, right to protest, right of movement in any part of India and freedom of expression”, the legal notice asked the Gujarat authorities not to prevent farmers and farmer leaders from going to Delhi to participate in the ongoing protests.
It also asked the authorities to immediately direct police officials across the state not to enter into the house or office of farmer leaders, not to stand or stay in the premises of their house or office in order to prevent them from leaving for Delhi.

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