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Padyatra in solidarity with Bilkis Bano on hold as 7 activists detained

Police said the move to detain the activists was ‘a preventive action’ as the march can cause ‘law and order problems’.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Mohan Bhagwat, Bilkis Bano, Bilkis Bano Case, Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad news, Gujarat, Gujarat news, Indian Express, India news, current affairs, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsA ‘padyatra’ that was to be held in Gujarat was put on hold after the Panchmahal district police. (File Photo)

A “padyatra” in solidarity with Bilkis Bano after release of 11 convicts accused of raping her and murdering 14 of her family members on remission, that was to be held Monday, was put on hold after the Panchmahal district police Sunday night detained about seven activists as a “preventive action” .

The 180-km padyatra from Randhikpur in Dahod to Ahmedabad was organised by social activists led by Magsaysay Award winner Sandeep Pandey under the banner of Hindu Muslim Ekta Samiti.

The seven activists, including two women, were detained from the house of local Municipal Councillor Hanif Haji Kalandar in Godhra and brought to the B-division police station of the town.

Pandey has started a fast in protest of the police action at Kakanpur police station in Panchmahal where the activists have now been shifted.

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Soon after the activists did social media live from the police station, several local residents gathered at the police station in their support and the police officials shifted the activists to another location.

“There was a huge crowd that had gathered at the B-division police station, and to maintain law and order, the activists were taken to Kakanpur while the women were allowed to go. We have not arrested them. It is a preventive action as the padyatra can cause law and order problems. Police have been deployed along the route from Godhra to Randhikpur and on the main highway as we are expecting a crowd,” a senior official of Panchmahal district police said.

On Sunday night, from the police station, the activists streamed live videos on social media, of verbal arguments with the police officials.

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Pandey said in the video, “You can see, we have decided to have this padayatra to seek apology (pardon?) from Bilkis Bano. We are not even doing it against the government. We are just seeking an apology from her because she had been gangraped, her child and family killed, and yet, the convicts were released. She has been living in fear and we want to seek an apology. Is this a protest against the government, then?”

Godhra Councillor Hanif Kalandar, who also spoke on the video said, “Are we criminals that around 200 police personnel were sent to my house to detain us… What about the men who gangraped Bilkis, killed her three-year-old and other 14 members? If they (convicts) are innocent and preachers of peace, are we criminals?”

First published on: 26-09-2022 at 11:54:54 am
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