Seven Congress leaders, including state party president Arjun Modhvadia and Leader of Opposition in Assembly Shankarsinh Vaghela, who were protesting against cow slaughter and its illegal trade, along with 100 Maldharis in Mehsana district, were detained by Gandhinagar and Mehsana Police on Tuesday allegedly for holding the rally without permission.
The Congress leaders were stopped and detained on their way to Nandasan village in Mehsana district, where the Maldharis had organised a rally.
Following the detention, Opposition members created ruckus in the Assembly, refusing the House to function for around 25 minutes at the beginning of its session.
When the Mehsana police stopped the rally even before it could start, Maldhari, accompanying the Congress leaders, got infuriated and picked up a verbal duel with the police. That soon escalated, leading to fisticuffs between the Maldharis and the police. Soon the Congress leaders also got into the argument, leading to the detention of Vaghela and Modhwadia. With that, the other Congress members and supporters also got into a heated argument with the police, with the leaders now more adamant than before to carry on with the protest.
Police claimed that the Maldharis started pelting stones at the police, causing minor damage to police vehicles. As a result, they had to resort to lathicharge. The event was later called off, with locals fleeing in the face of police lathicharge.
Apprehending trouble, the Mehsana and Gandhinagar police had set up a strong bandobast ahead of the event. However, the situation still turned ugly.
SP Gandhinagar, Sharad Singhal said, “They were detained because they didn’t have permission to hold the rally. They were brought to Gandhinagar police headquarters and released after an hour.”
Police said that the skirmishes weren’t serious and that the situation was brought under control within an hour.
Meanwhile in the Assembly, Congress MLAs raised the issue of detention as soon as session started on Tuesday and created a ruckus, with several of them rushing to the Well. After a warning by Speaker Vaju Vala, however, they returned to their seats. The Speaker ruled out permission to discuss their leaders’ detention and told the Congress MLAs that they could take up the issue after the Question Hour.
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