September 28, 2021 12:58:10 am
SAVE ISOLATED incidents mainly in Saurashtra and south Gujarat, the farmers’ call for a general strike against the Centre’s farm laws had no significant impact on normal life on rainy Monday as police detained more than 200 farmers and leaders in preventive custody across the state.
According to police, protestors belonging to organisations such as All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Khedut Samaj Gujarat (KSG), Rashtriya Kisan Sangathan Gujarat Pradesh and opposition parties such as the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), were detained in Surat, Morbi, Navsari, Bharuch, Banaskantha, Surendranagar and Vadodara.
In Surat, farmers under the banner of KSG had organised a peaceful dharna at Khadi Bhandar hall in Olpad. Dozens of farmers also assembled at Chhatral Complex in Kamrej on National Highway 48. They burnt tyres and occupied the highway, bringing traffic to a halt on the busy road. However, the police soon intervened by detaining several protestors.
Around 40 farmers and leaders were even detained before they could reach the spot. They were released at 2 pm. Those detained by the police included KSG president Jayesh Patel, KSG Surat president Ramesh Patel, and Congress leader Darshan Naik, among others. Olpad police inspector R.R. Vasava said, “We made a strategy, worked on it, and detained farmers from the main roads from reaching the destination.”KSG and AAP had organised two separate protests in Kamrej on the National Highway 48. Other groups of farmers assembled at Giriraj Hotel and disrupted traffic by burning tyres on the highway. Several AAP leaders also joined the protest here. The cops detained four AAP leaders who were released later.
Similarly, a total of 46 farmers, including Congress leaders from Navsari, were detained by the police when they were on their way to NH-48 near Unn to stage a protest. The detained farmers and their leaders were taken to various police stations and released later in the evening.
In Bharuch, local Congress unit president Parimalsinh Rana and AAP leader Jayendrasinh Raj and their supporters staged a dharna. They displayed placards and raised slogans against the three new farm laws before police dispersed them and detained eight persons, including Rana and Raj.
In Banaskantha, police detained over 12 members of Rashtriya Kisan Sangathan Gujarat Pradesh from Palanpur, Suigam, Tharad, Agthala and Deodar from Monday morning to prevent them from staging a protest. Those kept under house arrest included the organisation’s district president V.K. Kag, district general secretary Bharat Karen and treasurer Vikram Gamit. In Surendranagar’s Limdi, over two dozen protesting farmers blocked the national highway as a mark of protest, according to the police. “The farmers blocked the highway for around 15 minutes after which we got an alert. We used mild force to remove the protestors and cleared the traffic on the national highway in half an hour. We did not detain any farmer,” said a senior police official in Surendranagar.
In Vadodara, 15 AIUTUC members were detained by police as they protested in Raopura. Senior AAP Gujarat leader and former KSG secretary Sagar Rabari said, “We have supported the farmers’ agitation and denounced the Central and state governments’ high-handedness, use of force and intimidation to harass the protesting farmers. We have always advocated for dialogue between the farmers and the government, but the latter is not listening to our woes at all.”
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