Bharat Bandh today: The Gujarat Police has said it would impose prohibitory orders in the state on Tuesday in view of the Bharat Bandh call given in support of the farmers’ agitation, even as Chief Minister Vijay Rupani declared that Gujarat would remain open and his government would ensure that nobody tries to forcefully shut down businesses and shops. The CM also warned of legal action against those “trying to vitiate the atmosphere”.
At a press conference on Monday, Director General of Police Ashish Bhatia said that section 144 prohibiting assembly of more than four persons at a public place will be imposed across Gujarat on Tuesday. He added that those attempting to click pictures and videos of any agitation and posting on social media also will be booked.
“We had a video-conference with senior officials where directives regarding police bandobast have been given… local police officers, home guard personnel, Gram Rakshak Dal personnel and State Reserve Police will be deployed. Riot vehicles, gas guns and other facilities have also been arranged. Any attempts to block roads, highways will be dealt strictly and offence will be lodged,” the DGP said.
“Section 144 notification in districts and cities on December 8 will be announced by respective police commissioners and senior officials so that there is no assembly of more than four persons… Check post points at border cities have been set up to ensure smooth management of traffic on state highway. Bandobast has also been arranged outside APMCs and markets. Anyone forcibly shutting shops and businesses forcibly or destroying public and private properties will be booked and arrested,” Bhatia added.
Reacting to the Bharat Bandh call, Chief Minister Rupani said that there was no discontent among farmers in Gujarat towards the farm reforms brought in by the central government and Gujarat would be fully functional Tuesday.
“Gujarat will be functional tomorrow. There is no discontent towards anything… Tomorrow, we will ensure that at no place anybody tries to forcefully impose the bandh. If anybody tries to vitiate the situation of law and order,… strict legal action will be taken,” said Rupani, while addressing a separate press conference at the CM’s office.
Rupani added that any Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) that seeks police protection for its functioning will be provided the same.
The CM took on Congress and other opposition parties on the latter’s call of bandh against the farm reforms being implemented by Narendra Modi-led central government.
“The talk of Bharat Bandh by opposition parties in the name of farmers has made it clear that farmer is just a pretext. To show their political existence, Congress and other opposition parties have joined hands in this (call of) Bharat Bandh,” he said.
Rupani said that the manner in which political parties have jumped into the agitation and given the call of Bharat Bandh shows that the entire agitation is being governed politically. The CM said that parties such as the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Samajwadi Party, as well as leaders such as Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Mulayam Singh Yadav and farmer leader Yogendra Yadav, had in the past, talked in favour of the very reforms which have now been introduced by PM Modi.
He stated that even Congress manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections had mentioned some of the reforms brought in by the Modi government now.
“Today, when the Modi government introduced those reforms (which Congress had promised in its manifesto), Congress has come out to protest. They have been exposed,” Rupani said.
The CM also said when Sharad Pawar was the agriculture minister in 2005, he advocated for changes in the APMC Act and necessity to bring private sector in agriculture. “He (Pawar) is now shedding crocodile tears,” Rupani said.
Saying that the BJP governments in Gujarat and Centre are committed to the Minimum Support Price (MSP), he said both the governments have widened the scope of MSP, while increasing the same for various commodities.
Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil chaired a meeting of the party’s Kisan Cell via video-conferencing, attended by senior party leaders, including Bhikhu Dalsaniya, Gordhan Zadafia, Rajni Patel and Jayanti Kavadiya.
In his address to the meeting, a party release quoted Paatil as saying that when PM Modi is bringing reforms in agriculture sector with an intention to double the income of farmers, Congress-led opposition parties are trying to mislead the farmers by spreading canards. However, he added, the farmer of the country is prudent and knows if what is in his interest. He added that the farmers have “full faith in PM Narendra Modi”.
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