June 17, 2021 10:09:02 pm
Congress MLA from Rajula, Ambarish Der, and five other party workers were detained by Gujarat Railway Police (GRP) from Rajula railway station in Barbatana village of Amreli on Thursday after he gave a call to halt trains.
The MLA, on a hunger since June 8, has been demanding the creation of a garden on a railway land in Rajula town of Amreli. A crowd gathered on railway tracks at four locations after the MLAs detention but no offence was registered.
“The MLA has been on a hunger strike at Barbatana, demanding a railway land for public use. He talked to railway officials but there was no progress. As he had given an ultimatum to stop trains, we detained him and five others from their agitation camp in Barbatana at around 2 pm as a train was to pass by. We released him at around 6 pm after the train went,” said PP Pirojiya, deputy superintendent of Rajkot division of GRP.
Der had been on an indefinite strike after he was detained for protesting against the Bhavnagar division of Western Railway (WR) demarking its land in Rajula town. The MLA claims that the unutilised land has become a dumping yard and that the Bhavnagar division had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Rajula municipality to allow the latter to convert it into a public garden. Der alleged that the railway has not been completing the formality under pressure from local BJP leaders in Amreli district.
Der sat on fast near the railway land from June 8 to 12, but later shifted his agitation to Barbatana on June 13. On Wednesday, he announced that he would be compelled to stop trains if the railway authorities don’t authorise Rajula municipality to beautify the land by noon Thursday.
After his detention, crowds gathered on railway tracks at Vijapadi, Ghandla, Rapmpara, Dungar and Bherai. GPR sources said that they forced a goods train to halt at Vijapadi for seven minutes before the Railway Protection Force (RPF) cleared the tracks.
Prateek Goswami, divisional railway manager (DRM) of Bhavnagar, said, “What the MLA has been demanding is under process. A crowd had gathered at Pipavav port when shunting of a train was being done. No offence has been registered for blocking railway tracks.”
Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly, Paresh Dhanani, senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia were among the Congress leaders who visited the Rajula MLA’s protest camp and extended him their support.
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