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'Anti-constitutional, high handed': NAPM on Gujarat farm leaders' arrest at press meet

By Our Representative 

Calling the recent arrest of several Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leaders on March 26, the day on which farmers across the country were observing Bharat Bandh, “anti-constitutional” and “high handed”, the Gujarat chapter of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), India’s top civil society network, has said that this was done “under instructions of the state government”.
Insisting that the state government should stop deploying the “police force in the manner of street thugs to muzzle democratic voices”, an NAPM statement said, even as Yudhvir Singh and associates of BKU were conducting a press conference at Gandhinagar, the state capital, the state police entered in, claiming they were under “oral instructions” from higher ups for not allowing the press conference, as it was being held without “due permission.”
The press conference was being conducted to apprise journalists about the ongoing farmers’ struggle continuing for the last 120 days, even as announce further strategy against the “arbitrarily passed farm laws affecting agriculture, dairy and fishery sectors”, NAPM said, adding, “The police barged into the ongoing press conference in presence of the media as if it were conducting an anti-terrorist strike and man-handled the farmers and other social leaders addressing the media.”
Mujahid Nafees
Signed by Krishnakant Chauhan, Mujahid Nafees and Dev Desai, the statement said, “The state government is infamous for deploying police personnel to illegally confine activists into their houses or office, whenever there is an announcement for protest.”
Suggesting that this is not an isolated case, it added, one of the three signatories, Nafees, who heads the Minority Coordination Committee (MCC) was “illegally detained” on the same day because he had “sought permission to be allowed to protest outside the Gujarat assembly to seek increase in the budgetary allocation for the minority communities.”
Earlier also, the statement said, several Gujarat farmers’ leaders, environmentalists, including well-known expert Rohit Prajapati, adivasi and Dalit leaders, trade union and women leaders have also faced "similar suppression."

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