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Villagers decide to boycott polls following inaction against criminals

The villagers of Plaswa near Junagadh have decided to boycott the polls following inaction by authorities against the anti-social elements...

Written by Sibte Husain Bukhari | Junagadh |
April 14, 2009 4:55:59 am

The villagers of Plaswa near Junagadh have decided to boycott the polls following inaction by authorities against the anti-social elements,who they claim have been harassing them for the last four years.

Now,the villagers have decided to take on the anti-social elements on their own. A decision to this effect was taken at the gram sabha on Saturday,in which the entire village was present. The village is located at a stone throw’s distance from Junagadh. According to the villagers,the people here are constantly living under threat,and facing physical harassment from anti-social elements.

Sarpanch Bhikhubhai Sawaliya said: “Since the last five-six years,the people are being victimised by anti-social elements. They repeatedly harass the people,demand extortion money,threaten them with life and even abuse the villagers. Even the women are not spared.”

He added: We have repeatedly approached the Junagadh taluka police station and even pleaded with the state home minister in this regard,but in vain. We have no option left but to defend ourselves on our own. The villagers have decided not to tolerate the antisocial elements any further: We will resist them with every possible means. We will not allow them to move near the village and if they do so,we will take law into our hands. He said that the villagers have unanimously decided to boycott the Lok Sabha polls unless the issue is resolved. “No villager will cast his/her vote,” he said.

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Ramuben,an elderly woman,said: “The situation is such that if we don’t defend ourselves,we will not be safe. Even the village women have decided to pick up weapons to curb this menace.”

He said the residents of the adjacent villages of Vijapur,Patapur,Padariya and Dungarpur have lent their support to them. The police have said they have started combing operations in the area. They have arrested two bootlegger brothers Kala Devraj Rabari and Punja Devraj,following a complaint by a Junagadh-based mine owner,Bhagwanji Karena. The two allegedly demanded extortion money from Karena and even threatened him with life,they said. The police said the two brothers were habitual offenders and a series of complaints were registered against them. Punja was on the wanted list for the last four years,they said.

In a separate case,the Junagadh police arrested one Mukesh Chudasama from the Gandhigram area following a complaint lodged against three persons by a mine owner,Dinesh Gondaliya. In his complaint,Gondaliya had alleged the accused had abused him and threatened him with life. The police said the other two accused are at large,but efforts are on to nab them.

Central poll observers deployed at Junagadh
Three central observers arrived at Junagadh on Sunday to ensure the smooth functioning of the Lok Sabha polls.

According to official sources,they will closely monitor the poll process in the Junagadh Lok-Sabha constituency. They are camping at the Junagadh Circuit House.

According to Junagadh District Election branch officials,Amita Prasad will look after Junagadh,Mangarol and the Visavadar Assembly constituency areas. I. Shashikala will monitor the Assembly constituencies of Somnath,Talala,Kodinar and Una,while Rajesh Pande will look after Manavadar and Keshod Assembly segments.

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