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Ex-mayor of Junagadh dies during protest demanding police chowki

Parmar was the mayor when Congress was in power in the Junagadh Municipal Corporation (JMC) from 2009 to 2014. He was elected to the Junagadh civic body for seven times and was among the few Congress winners in 2014 when the BJP scored a landslide victory.

Rajkot |
December 15, 2021 1:37:10 am
However, the Congress denied him a ticket to contest the 2019 JMC election. Parmar fought that election as an independent but lost.

FORMER MAYOR of Junagadh and Dalit leader Lakhabhai Parmar, 77, died of cardiac arrest on Tuesday, the 19th day of his indefinite dharna demanding a police chowki (post) in Ambedkarna-gar, Junagadh city, with his family announcing that his last rites would be performed only if the government accepts the demand of a police post.

“My father suffered a heart attack at around 11 am when he was sitting in the protest camp… we rushed him to hospital of Dr Vanja, in Chitakhana area of Junagadh, from where he was referred to Rajkot for further treatment. However, my father suffered another massive cardiac arrest when the ambulance reached Gondal and he did not survive…,” Ravan Parmar, Lakhabhai’s son, told The Indian Express.

Parmar was the mayor when Congress was in power in the Junagadh Municipal Corporation (JMC) from 2009 to 2014. He was elected to the Junagadh civic body for seven times and was among the few Congress winners in 2014 when the BJP scored a landslide victory. However, the Congress denied him a ticket to contest the 2019 JMC election. Parmar fought that election as an independent but lost.

On November 26, he set up a protest site near the statue of Babasaheb Ambedkar at the entrance of Ambedkarnagar on Bilkha Road of Junagadh city and started an indefinite “satyagrah,” demanding a police chowki in Ambedkarnagar to “rein in anti-social elements in the area”. As the authorities did not heed to the demand, he continued with the strike.

“We have been demanding a police chowki for the past two years and making representations to local police officers almost every alternate day to no avail… it forced my father to continue with his satyagraha despite the fact that he was 77 and a diabetic,” Ravan said, adding that his elder brother Dharmendra was murdered six months ago and anti-social elements were having a free run.

Dharmendra was allegedly stabbed to death by four men near Ramnivas Society adjoining Ambedkarnagar, a predominantly Dalit locality, on June 2 this year.

A journalist by profession, Parmar had studied till Class 8. He was also chairman of Meghwal Samaj Samadhan Panch, a dispute resolution committee of Meghwal sub-caste group of the Dalit community in Gujarat. He is survived by his wife, two sons, four daughters and 15 grandchildren.

Parmar’s body was kept at the protest site. “We were told that there is a shortage of fund. But Junagadh MLA came forward with an offer of allotting Rs 50 lakh from his grant. Even then, the government is not accepting our demand. Therefore, we have decided to perform the last rites of my father only after our demand is met,” said Ravan.

However, Ravi Teja Vasmsetty, superintendent of police of Junagadh district, said, “We have proposed to set up a police station and land has been identified in FM Police Line just opposite Parmar’s residence. We had informed him about the same long ago. The proposal was sent to the office of the DG. But he was unnecessarily creating an issue.”

 

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