The Rajasthan Police on April 1 resorted to lathi charge, lobbed teargas shells and fired rubber bullets on farmers who had been staging a peaceful sit-in for the past 22 days demanding removal of the toll plaza at Chanwaji Road near Chomu in Jaipur district of Rajasthan.
The police action took place when All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) National Vice President Amra Ram was addressing the demonstrators. At least a dozen farmers suffered injuries in the assault.
Ram, who is also CC member of the CPI(M) and the State Secretory of the party’s Rajathan unit, has been arrested along with other comrades. The police have taken him from Samod police station to produce before sub-divisional magistrate (SDM).
Strongly condemning the police action and the subsequent arrest, the AIKS has said in a press statement that the Vasundhra Raje-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state is attempting to suppress the voice of farmers and common people, using state might.
“In democracy, everyone has the right to dissent and raise voice against injustices but the state government is trying to suppress it by using force. It is nothing but murder of democracy,” said the farmers’ body, announcing that it will stage a protest demonstration on April 2 outside the offices of the district collector and the SDM to demand unconditional release of its leader and farmers and action against the erring police officials.
The AIKS is demanding removal of the “illegal” toll booth, which has been operational for the past two years.
Extending support to the call of ‘Bharat Bandh’ (all India strike) given by SC/ST and Dalit outfits across the country, the AIKS said it will also stage a protest at Sikar district’s collector office.
Several organisations will observe the bandh to demand that the central government file a review petition against the recent Supreme Court’s ruling on the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The Students’ Federation of India (SFI) has also condemned the policy “brutality” on farmers agitation and announced that it too will stage demonstrations against the government’s attempt to suppress the voice of the voiceless.