The Ahmedabad police on Friday fed over 400 protesters who were detained for taking out a rally without permission. Part of all-India strike, the rally was organised by several local organisations who are protesting against “anti-labour” laws.
The rally was supposed to start at 10 am, but even before it could begin, police started detaining protesters and took them to Police Stadium where the Ahmedabad Police headquarters is located in Shahibaug area. The rally was jointly organised by Jan Sangharsh Manch, Trade Union Centre of India, Gujarat Mazdoor Sabha and Gujarat Federation of Trade Unions, among others.
Activist lawyer Shamshad Pathan, who was among the detained workers, said that at 10 am, several police vehicles arrived at Jan Sangharsh Manch office in Paldi and started detaining them.
He said that the rally could not be taken out as they were all packed into the police buses and were taken to stadium.
Within an hour, over 200 people were detained and kept at the stadium under sections 68 and 69 of Bombay Police Act.
By 1 pm, 200 more were detained. Activist Pravin Mishra, who was among the detainees, said that the police had made arrangements for food and water. Protesters were offered puri-sabji and salad. They were all released by 5 pm.
The protesters were demanding abolition of contract system, increase in minimum wage and the appointment of all safai workers of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) as permanent employees.
According to Piyush Patel, Joint Commissioner of Police (JCP), Police Headquarters, there is a provision of feeding people who have been detained.
He said that even criminals, who are under arrest, have right to food. “When we came to know that so many people have been detained, I ordered to prepare lunch for them.”
Police said that every time when they detain people, the norm says that they will have to be given food, water and sanitation facilities.