Stating that there was a possibility of a face-off between groups opposing the law and those responsible for its enforcement, the city police Tuesday denied permission to Congress to hold dharna against recent amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act at Jilla Panchayat Chowk for three days beginning Wednesday. However, the party said it would go ahead with its plan to stage protests against the recent amendments which have increased the penalties for traffic law violation.
Mahesh Rajput, former working president of Rajkot city unit of Congress, submitted an application to the office of Rajkot city police commissioner, seeking permission to stage a dharna at Jilla Panchayat Chowk on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The Congress leader stated in his application that they want to stage the protest with around 100 people to protest against the recent amendments to the MV Act. However, Ravi Mohan Saini, Deputy Commissioner of Police for Zone-I, rejected Rajput’s application Tuesday.
“If you organise an activity at Jilla Panchayat Chow, there is a possibility of obstruction to discharge of duties of police responsible for enforcement of law as it is a busy area. There could be a face-off between those responsible for enforcement of law and those opposing it… your application seeking permission to sit on a dharna at Jilla Panchayat Chowk is not granted herewith,” read the letter from the office of the DCP.
Rajput said that Congress would anyway go ahead with its plans. “Just a year ago, we had staged a dharna at the same place for a full day over farmers’ issue. We were granted permission on that occasion but this time, they are saying the place is too small and that movement of people is high so we cannot stage protest there. This is nothing but to rob Congress of its right to protest against the new traffic laws. The denial of permission notwithstanding, we shall stage the dharna at Jilla Panchayat Chowk for three days,” said the Congress leader.
The DCP also underlined that city police headquarters, office of Rajkot district panchayat etc are located at the Chowk and that the dharna can cause hindrances in movement of visitors to these offices as well as government servants working in these offices.