Over a 100 Congress workers, including party MLAs Gayasuddin Sheikh, Imran Khedawala, Shailesh Parmar and Himmatsinh Patel, were detained Thursday for blockades in all 48 wards of the city, to bring the “VS Hospital Bachao Abhiyan” to the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. All those detained were later released.
Modi is on a two-day visit to the state. The largest blockade was witnessed at the Jaliwali Masjid crossroads in Lal Darwaza area as it is a stronghold of the party.
Among those detained were Ahmedabad City Congress Committee (ACCC) president Shashikant Patel, Leader of Opposition in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) Dinesh Sharma and advocate Iqbal Sheikh. Activists of the Minority Coordination Committee of Gujarat (MCCG), including its convenors Mujahid Nafees, Danish Qureshi, were also detained and not allowed to reach VSH campus where they had planned to protest against what they allege is an “open violation of rights of the Muslim community by the Gujarat government”.
“The administration was so panicked that they detained me and my colleagues from my residence itself at 2.30 pm,” Nafees said in a statement after his release.
As part of their protest, Congress leaders shouted slogans like “Garib virdohi Modi vapas jao (Go back anti-poor Modi)”.
The police did not allow Congress workers to assemble in Juhapura area as it falls on National Highway number 8. The Congress has been protesting against the proposed reduction in the number of bed at the AMC-run VS hospital.
They have alleged that gradually, the VS hospital will be closed down.
The detained Congress leaders were taken to the Police Stadium and were released in the evening after PM Modi had inaugurated the new hospital and unveiled the statue of Vikram Sarabhai on the banks of Sabarmati river.