Jobless diamond workers shout anti-govt slogans in Assembly

A group of jobless diamond workers from Ahmedabad created a ruckus during the proceedings in the state Assembly on Thursday.

Written by Express News Service | Gandhinagar | Published: February 27, 2009 1:16 am

A group of jobless diamond workers from Ahmedabad created a ruckus during the proceedings in the state Assembly on Thursday. They hurled leaflets from the spectators’ gallery into the House,demanding a relief package for the crisis-ridden diamond industry and unemployment allowance for the workers.

Even as the proceedings were on in the House,at least six jobless workers sitting in the visitors’ gallery started shouting anti-Modi government slogans and hurled leaflets,highlighting the plight of the unemployed workers and demanding their rehabilitation.

Speaker Ashok Bhatt ordered the marshals to detain the agitating workers and put them in the House custody till the evening. The marshals immediately overpowered them and put them in the custody. They were later released. The workers were allowed entry to the House on the recommendation of a BJP MLA.

Later in the day,all members of the Congress in the Opposition block staged a noisy walk-out from the House,accusing the government of ignoring the plight of the diamond workers. They also demanded a comprehensive relief package for the industry hit by the global economic meltdown. The Opposition members walked out of the House even as Finance Minister Vajubhai Vala was replying to the debate on the vote-on-account interim budget of over Rs 17,000 crore for four months,which was later passed by a majority.

The issue was highlighted outside the House,too,as about a dozen women relatives of the workers made a vain bid to gherao Chief Minister Narendra Modi near his chamber. As they tried to barge into Modi’s chamber to submit a memorandum,a posse of security guards pushed them away. GPCC general secretary Deepak Babariya,who accompanied the workers,virtually clashed with the security guards. He alleged that the guards had misbehaved with the women protestors.

In a memorandum submitted to the CMO,the Mahila Ratna Kalakar Samiti set up by the wives and other relatives of the jobless workers lamented that despite repeated pleas,Modi has not yet given them an appointment to listen to their grievances. “This forced us to visit the Assembly today to represent our case. If the government continues to ignore our plight,we will intensify our agitation,” Samiti chairperson Manisha Patel told Newsline later.

Among other things,the Samiti has demanded a relief package to revive the diamond polishing and cutting units,Rs two lakh in compensation from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for the kith and kin of those jobless diamond workers who have committed suicide, besides providing food grains,health,educational and other facilities to their families on the lines of the one being provided to families in the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category.

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