Amidst increasing reports of police brutality being unleashed on "Rally for the Valley" protesters, the unique protest ended with the disturbing news on June 7 that a top Gujarat activist, attached with the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Vadodara, Lakhan Musafir, over remains under detention for the last three days.
An NBA sympathiser campaigner fighting for the rehabilitation of Narmada dam oustees, according to sources, the police did not produce him before the magistrate even though it is required to do it within 24 hours of detention to prove the reason behind detention.
“He has been kept him at an unknown place”, claimed a source close to NBA, whose top leader Medha Patkar and other participants in the Valley to the Rally, including Green Nobel winner Prafulla Samantara, were also detained on June 7 afternoon after it entered Gujarat from Madhya Pradesh, but released later in the evening.
Musafir is learnt to have been detained after he was suddenly asked by the cops of Narmada district to accompany them during a dinner at someone’s residence on June 6 evening, saying their officer wanted to talk to him.
Reports say that he was brought to Jitnagar, Rajpipala, in the district. On Thursday, according to unconfirmed sources, he was sent to Rajpipla sub-jail.
Seeking “immediate release Lakhan Musafir, illegally detained by Gujarat police”, NBA in a detailed statement has said, following the arrest of Patkar and other activists, the Gujarat police “turned violent and detained all the protestors, dragged women protesters, beaten up two children Kaamil and Hasim of Salsabeel Green School studying in 9th and 8th standard.”
Pointing out that “Kaamil left injured with a possible fracture in his shoulder”, NBA said, “Police also tried to run over their vehicle on two of the protesters, Aswathy and Rohit, young activists with NBA. They suffered injury on their legs. Rohit’s left leg was fractured, and Aswathy’s left leg suffered bruises on her calf muscle.”
A large number of students from all over India, including from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Hyderabad Central University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi University, and school children accompanying their parents, were part of the Rally for the Valley, which began on June 5.
A senior farmers’ leader, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Samaj Gujarat, has called the detention of Musafir and attack on NBA activists “absolute illegal and anti-constitution”, adding these reminds one of “brutal fake encounter stories of recent past, even as indicating how brazen the Gujarat police is, and up to what extent police can it go to obey oral orders to please their master.”
Rabari said, not giving permission to hold protests has become a norm, adding, the latest in the series when the farmers of 68 villages, who were supposed to take out a vehicles rally to hand over a memorandum to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani were denied permission. “Heavy police force was deployed at the venue to terrorize the villagers not to come out of their villages”, he added.
Meanwhile, NBA has filed a detailed complaint with Nanpur police station against the “brutal and unconstitutional attacks” carried out by the Gujarat Police. NBA said, “After killing of farmers in Mandsaur, it was another black day for the Indian constitution and judiciary of this country.”
Nitin Patel, Gujarat's deputy chief minister has, typically, dubbed the protest "anti-Gujarat."