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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Gujarat govt says open to discussion: Protests for better grade pay for police continue

The protests snowballed after a police constable Hardik Pandya attached with Bapunagar Police Station in Ahmedabad was detained for staging a sit-in protest outside the Gujarat Vidhansabha in Gandhinagar on October 25 evening.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar |
October 28, 2021 5:18:22 am

Protests by families of police personnel demanding increase in grade pay and formation of police union continued on Wednesday at the Satyagrah Chhavani in Gandhinagar even as the state government said that it was “positive” towards discussion and warned against creating law and order trouble.

On Tuesday night, the families staged a sit-in on the road in Patan, while protests were held by the Aam Aadmi Party and Congress in cities across the state in support of the ongoing agitation in Gandhinagar.

The protests snowballed after a police constable Hardik Pandya attached with Bapunagar Police Station in Ahmedabad was detained for staging a sit-in protest outside the Gujarat Vidhansabha in Gandhinagar on October 25 evening.

Police personnel and family members continue their sit-in protest Gandhinagar. (Express Photo)

The protesters are seeking an increase in grade pay of constables, head constables and assistant sub-inspectors (ASI) of Gujarat Police along with personnel of Home Guard, Lok Rakshak Dal and Gram Rakshak Dal. Other demands include formation of a police union, increase in allowances given, housing allotment priority given to women police personnel and stopping of “political interference” in police transfers.

Minister of State (MoS) Home Harsh Sanghavi held a meeting with a delegation of protestors on Tuesday evening.

“Our meeting with minister Harsh Sanghavi was fruitful. He assured us that a committee will be made to look into our demands. However, till now we have not heard of any official order regarding setting up of any committee so our agitation will continue. Even in 2021, police constables get Rs 20 per month as cycle allowance when the petrol diesel rates have gone beyond Rs 100,” said a 32-year-old woman protester in Gandhinagar who did not wish to be named.

“The grade pay of police staff in other states is much better than Gujarat… We are demanding equality and no preferential treatment. My husband is an ASI who was transferred to Junagadh recently and it is difficult for us to manage the expenses of shifting,” she added.

A signature campaign was also held at the protest venue on Wednesday.

Spokes-minister of the Gujarat government, Jitu Vaghani, said, “The government is ready to discuss (the demand) with an open mind. Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi has discussed with them…”

However, Vaghani added, “The government will never tolerate anything that creates problem of law & order for the public… Positive talks are on and we will inform you about it when its over.”

The office of Gujarat Director General of Police Ashish Bhatia had also released a statement on Monday night stating that the salaries of constables, head constables and ASIs are given as per the Seventh Pay Commission in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Union government.

Meanwhile, the Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Cell filed an FIR on Tuesday night against unknown persons for allegedly posting a morphed photo of a traffic police staff LRD Roshni Parmar of A division traffic police station in Ahmedabad claiming that she is on a hunger strike demanding an increase in pay grade.

“Parmar said that she is not aware of such a photo nor is she on a hunger strike. So an FIR is lodged against unknown person under sections of the Information Technology Amendment Act and the Police (incitement to disaffection) Act,” said VB Chauhan, PSI and in charge of A division Traffic PS in his complaint.

Speaking to The Indian Express, AP Gadhavi, in charge officer of Bapunagar police station said, “Constable Hardik Pandya has resumed his duty from Tuesday and no departmental action has been taken against him.”

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