Ahmedabad Police barged in to a press conference held by farmers in Ahmedabad on March 26 and detained several farmer leaders who were addressing the public.
Amongst the detained are Yudhvir Singh, national general secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Union; Gajendra Singh from Dharti Putra Trust; JK Patel from Jagatat Foundation and local farmers from Gujarat.
Yudhvir Singh was still speaking to media when he was whisked away by the police who stated that the farmers did not have permission to hold the press conference.
“This is wrong. This is dictatorship. It is not a crime to talk to the press,” said Yudhvir Singh while police began whisking him and other farmers’ leaders from the press conference venue in Motera, Ahmedabad.
The leaders had come to Gujarat to discuss issues of farmers of Gujarat and BKU leader Rakesh Tikait’s pending visit to Gujarat. The press conference was organised to announce a series of programmes organised by farmers in Gujarat from April 4 to 5 in which BKU Rakesh Tikait and other leaders from the Samyukt Kisan Morcha are to be present. The programme constitute ‘Kisan Sambad Sthal’ to be held on April 4 at Palanpur, Banaskantha district in North Gujarat and in Bardoli in South Gujarat on April 5.
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Congress and Patidar leader Hardik Patel had invited Tikait to Gujarat a month ago following which the BKU leader had announced that he will visit Gujarat for a series of farmers’ programmes.
“Gujarat government should wake up and listen to issues of the farmers,” said JK Patel while in police detention. Patel is a member of the Jagatat Foundation, a Gujarat based farmers’ body.
Describing the “farmer’s experience in Modi’s Gujarat”, a press release by Samyukt Kisan Morcha read, “According to NSSO (National Sample Survey Organisation), number of farmers who have become landless have increased from 3.55 lakh to 17 lakh from the year 2001 to 2011. Another issue is that of lack of irrigation facility. Water from Narmada is being diverted for industrialists and into Sabarmati in Ahmedabad for beautification of the river front. Modi government has been representing the corporate sector and not the interest of farmers. We urge farmers of Gujarat to join us with farmers of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Maharashtra.”