31st October 2013
CM Narendra Modi’s tacit admission of fear: detains activists without charges ahead of his visit
On 30th October 2013, 4 activists, Rohit Prajapati, Trupti Shah, Amrish Brahmbhatta and Sudhir Biniwale were put under house arrest by Rajpipla police even before they had reached the venue of the symbolic protest, in their own houses (not at the venue of the CM’s public meeting). The symbolic protest was to be in the form of a daylong hunger strike. They were not to assemble at any public place or sit on dharna at any public place. The sit-in protest in their own homes was aimed at protecting their land, forest, livelihood, river, (jal, jangal jamin, nadi, janavar).
They were followed by police vehicles right from Devalia chokadi when they were travelling from Vadodara to Rajpipla. When they reached the Rajpipla Social Service Society campus they (the police) were standing guard outside the place as if the activists were criminals. No policemen told them why they were holding guard or what the charges against them were.
Other activists and villagers from more than 7 villages were also detained from their homes by the police, again without pressing any formal charges. At midnight many prominent activists viz. Lakhan Musafir, Dhirendra Soneji, Dipen Desai, Rameshbhai Tadvi from Indravarna village, Shaileshbai Tadvi from Vagadia village, Vikrambhai Tadvi and 2 others form Kevadia and other villagers were detained illegally. As of 6 a.m. on 31st morning we know that at least 10 other people from 5 more villages were detained and taken to various police stations. More police action is also apprehended.
This is one of the clearest admissions by the CM and his team of their fear of people’s voices and the entire administration bending over backwards to ‘protect’ the CM. The CM Mr. Narendra Modi has always operated under fear and thus has clamped down hard on activists and rights defenders. This is one more instance of the CM not wanting to hear the people’s voices from his own state and not allowing them to be heard by the rest of the world. CM Narendra Modi’s talk of ‘daring’ and ‘boldness’ is entirely devoid of substance and is empty rhetoric, much like an adolescent’s bombast.
It is also one of the clearest evidences, if one cares to heed it, that Gujarat is today reeling under a state of “undeclared Emergency”, working much like the Congress dispensation in 1975. Summary detentions without charges, or on trumped up charges, routine denials of permissions for public demonstrations and protests, selected targeting of human rights and civil rights activists, name-calling and myth-making are the order of the day – and all these can be substantiated with evidence by us, unlike the CM who cannot substantiate a single charge that he makes against those he dislikes.
If the CM has any sense of propriety and public responsibility, then we challenge him to answer the following questions:
- Why was the police following the activists from Vadodara?
- Why were Rohit Prajapati, Trupti Shah, Amrish Bhrambhatta and Sudhir Biniwale not allowed to get out of the RSSS campus and prohibited from proceeding to Kevadia?
- Why are no charges framed against them?
- Why were people from the villages in the Kevadia area rounded up on 30th evening?
- What are the charges against them?
We strongly protest against this illegal police action against the activists and against the constitutional violation of the freedoms of expression, movement, and association. We also urge all others to register similar protests against the high-handed and authoritarian dispensation that is the government of CM Narendra Modi in Gujarat today.
Prasad Chacko Jimmy C. Dabhi Fr. Rajeev, SJ
Raju Deepti Mahesh Pandya Persis Ginwalla
Deepti Raju Gautam Thakar Priyanka Christian
Kishore Chaudhary Rajnikant Gamit Fr. Vinayak Jadav
Sunil Gamit Imran Pathan Vasudev Charupa
Joseph Patelia Ramesh Borisa Hiren Gandhi
Sheznaz Ansari Saroop Dhruv Prakash N. Shah
Gaurang Raval Sagar Rabari Fr. Cedric Prakash
Rajnibhai Dave Lalji Desai Swati Desai
PRASHANT- A Centre for Human Rights,Justice and Peace
Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad - 380052,