Ahmedabad, Aug. 18 (PTI): Two leaders spearheading a protest by farmers against a special investment region where a Maruti plant is expected to come up were arrested last night for violating prohibitory orders, police said today.
Police sub-inspector J.D. Jhala said Lalji Desai and Sagar Rabari, conveners of the Jamin Adhikar Andolan Gujarat (JAAG), which is leading the protest against the state government’s decision to notify the Mandal-Becharaji Special Investment Region, were arrested for “violating a notification” under the penal code’s Section 188.
Section 188 of the IPC deals with disobedience of an order promulgated by a public servant. “Under this notification, people are not allowed to burn crackers or posters, which they did. These people allegedly burnt posters of Maruti at the back of the proposed plant,” Mandal sub-inspector Jhala said.
“They were released on bail after being produced before a magistrate this morning,” the officer added.
Farmers from 44 villages have been protesting against the government’s move to notify the investment region since close to 50,880 hectares of fertile land would be diverted for industrial use.
On August 14, three months after the protests had erupted, the Gujarat government downsized the investment zone to eight villages from the original 44. But the Jamin Adhikar Andolan Gujarat decided to intensify its agitation if the state did not withdraw its plans for the special investment region by August 15.
On Independence Day, the organisation pressed ahead with a planned programme to hoist the Tricolour. Mandal police later registered an FIR against 10 persons who had addressed a gathering, including Desai, Rabari and Jetha Patel, a leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, a farmers’ union affiliated to the RSS.
“Police were under pressure from the state government to arrest us and that is why they detained us,” Rabari said after being released.
The farmers’ protest had received support from the BKS on June 8 when it passed a resolution against the Gujarat government’s move.