Patna: Hundreds of Gram Raksha Dal members, including a large number of women, took to the streets in Patna on Tuesday demanding daily allowance, honorarium and priority in the appointment of Gramin police and security guards of government-run schools.
They protested to draw the attention of the government to their old demands during the ongoing budget session of the Bihar Assembly.
The Gram Raksha Dal is a semi-government body and it has nearly 20,000 members. Most of the members are engaged in safety and security work at the panchayat level in rural areas.
Shouting loud slogans against the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, hundreds of Gram Raksha Dal members, with placards and banners in hands, started their protest march from the busy Dak Bungalow Chauraha in the heart of Patna. They continued their protest march, passed through the Kotwali Police crossing and reached Income Tax Golumber on Bailly road, the lifeline of the state capital.
However, when the police forcibly stopped their protest march and did not allow them to move ahead, the protesting Gram Raksha Dal members sat on dharna on the Bailly road near Niyojan Bhawan and blocked the road to express their protest.
According to leaders of the Gram Raksha Dals, they were on their way to the Raj Bhawan to submit a memorandum to the state governor, but armed police used barricades to them.
Gram Raksha Dal members have been staging protests in support of their demands for several years now. In 2018, Gram Raksha Dal members had staged a 154-day dharna in Patna in support of their 11-point demands. Later, they also protested in 2019 and 2020.
Rameshar Yadav, a Gram Raksha Dal member, said that the state government has been ignoring their genuine demands and treating them like one would a stepbrother. “We are part of the rural security system and ensure peace in the villages and minimise law and order pressure on the regular police force. But the government provides us with little. We are fighting for survival and want a decent daily wage and other facilities,” he said.
The opposition Mahagathbandhan, including Left parties’ MLAs, raised the issue of the protest march by the Gram Raksha Dal and their demands in the state assembly on Tuesday. “The government should fulfil their demands and they should not be neglected,” said the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) MLA Mahboob Alam.