A young woman from Uttar Pradesh was gagged and whisked away by police when she raised slogans near the podium where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was addressing a gathering of women panchayat members on International Women’s Day in Gandhinagar on Wednesday. Hours earlier, two gangrape victims and an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) activist were taken into preventive custody by the Gujarat Police before they could make a representation before the Prime Minister.
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At the women sarpanches convention at Mahatma Gandhi Mandir in Gandhinagar, Shalini Singh, an elected sarpanch from Uttar Pradesh’s Thora village of Gautam Buddha Nagar district was dragged out of the auditorium by security personnel who covered her mouth to prevent her from talking.
She later told reporters that she was seeking the Prime Minister’s intervention about development in her village which was being ignored.
“I just wanted to personally put forth demands before the PM as neither the state government nor the central government has been heeding to our request for the last two years,” said Shalini Singh, who has an MA and B Ed degrees.
At the function to felicitate woman sarpanches for implementing cleanliness drive in their respective villages, Modi called upon them to work on the issues of education, female foeticide, gender equity, other than cleanliness drive.
He said that the era of husbands of female sarpanches dominating polity in the rural India was on decline as women were getting educated and empowered. Over 6000 women sarpanches from across the country attended the event.
Earlier in the day, AAP’s woman volunteer Vandana Patel, who has been carrying out a campaign against what she describes as increasing cases of atrocities against women in Gujarat, had planned to take along with her the victims of Naliya and Mandvi gang rape cases of Kutch district, allegedly involving some office-bearers of Kutch district BJP to make representation to the Prime Minister.
All three were taken into preventive detention by police before they could reach the venue.
The victim of the Naliya gang rape was rounded up by the police when she was trying to board an Ahmedabad-bound state transport bus from Bhuj, Kutch’s district headquarters.
While Patel was detained by before she could reach the venue, the woman sarpanch of Mandvi, who is also a victim of gang rape, managed to address a press conference at Bopal in Ahmedabad. However, she too was taken away by police to an undisclosed location.