Patidar leader and Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel, Gujarat Congress president Amit Chavda and dozens of other Congress workers were detained by Gujarat Police on Wednesday, while independent MLA Jignesh Mevani and Congress MLA Imran Khedawala were put under house detention, in a bid to deter them from attending Pratikar Yatra (resistance rally) to be held for the Hathras victim in Paldi area of Ahmedabad.
The rally scheduled to be held from Kochrab Ashram in Paldi to Sabarmati Ashram at 4 pm was announced by Gujarat Congress, demanding justice for the woman who was allegedly gang-raped and murdered in Hathras of Uttar Pradesh. However, no police permission was given for the event to Congress. Elaborate security arrangements were made by Ahmedabad Police at the scheduled protest site on Wednesday.
Around 2:15 pm, a team of Santej police station (PS) in Gandhinagar reached Hardik Patel’s residence in Ognaj area of the city and brought him to the PS under preventive detention.
“In protest of rape cases in Gujarat and across the country, we had organised a Pratikar rally in Ahmedabad. However, two hours before the rally, I was detained from my house. I was kept under the watch of at least 30 police personnel for five hours and then released. Is it a crime to raise voice for our country’s sisters? (sic),” wrote Hardik Patel on Twitter.
“We detained Hardik around 2:15 under preventive detention and let him off at 6:15 pm without any charges,” said VS Manjaria, police inspector at Santej PS.
At Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan, the Congress office in Paldi, heavy police presence was deployed to deter Congress workers from marching towards Kochrab Ashram, which is hardly 300 metres from their office. It was here that Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Amit Chavda and dozens of other party workers were detained and brought to Ellisbridge PS.
“Today, in Gujarat and across India, atrocities against women such as rapes are increasing. For the honour, safety and justice of our daughters, we had decided to take a rally from Kochrab Ashram to Sabarmati Ashram following the footsteps of Gandhiji. However, police have been detaining us, which shows that the government is on the side of the rapists (sic),” Chavda told reporters moments before he was detained.
“No permission was granted for the rally and we detained over a 100 Congress workers. They were let off in the evening without any charges,” said a police officer at Ellisbridge PS.
Meanwhile, police also kept independent MLA Jignesh Mevani and Congress MLA Imran Khedawala under home detention on Wednesday.
“I’m house arrest. Such is the destruction of democracy in Gujarat that I am not allowed to participate in the Pratikar Rally seeking justice for Hathras victim. I am detained at Ahmedabad and not allowed to move out of my room (sic),” Jignesh Mevani wrote on Twitter.
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