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A protest march of Maharashtra farmers from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s Assembly constituency in Nagpur to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s native place Vadnagar was stopped by the Gujarat police in Tapi district at the state border on Thursday. As many as 114 farmers, including Independent MLA from Maharashtra’s Achalpur Bachu Kadu, were detained and later forced to go back to their home state by the Gujarat police.
The rally, led by Kadu under the banner of his political outfit Prahar, had started from Nagpur on April 11 on the birth anniversary of social reformer Jyotiba Phule and on April 21 was slated to reach Vadnagar in Mehsana, where the farmers had planned a public meeting and a blood donation camp. The farmers were demanding a rise in the minimum support price and farm loan waiver.
The Gujarat Khedut Samaj had made arrangement to receive the Maharashtra farmers in Surat in the afternoon, and a few members of the outfit were already present at Shedkari village in Uchhal Taluka of Tapi district on the state border to meet the protesters.
At the state border, the police intercepted the rally and asked the farmers to produce the necessary letter of permission to carry out the march further. The farmers, however, failed to produce necessary documents.
The police then immediately detained Kadu and the other farmers, and released them in the evening outside Gujarat territory at Navapur.
M S Bharada, in-charge Tapi SP, said, “We detained as many 114 farmers, including MLA Bachu Kadu, as they were entering Gujarat on around 40 vehicles having mikes and loud speakers. We demanded the police permission letter from them, but they failed to produce it. As a result, we have detained them and later in the evening we have freed them. No untoward incident took place.”
Gujarat Khedut Samaj leader Jayesh Patel, however, said, “It is dictatorship. The farmers of Maharashtra were taking out the rally peacefully. They had applied for police permission in Vadnagar to organise a blood donation camp and a public meeting 15 days ago. We went there to welcome the rally, but we were also detained by the police.”