Modi govt trying to impose Police Raj on Gujarat model: Congress

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| Tuesday, March 17, 2015 - 20:37
First Published |
 Rita Bahuguna Joshi

New Delhi: Congress on Tuesday accused the Modi government of trying to impose 'Police Raj' on 'Gujarat model' in the country after a Delhi Police communication asked the MPs not to hold a protest march on land bill from Parliament House as prohibitory orders were in force in the area.

"Narendra Modi government wants to have a Police Raj here as per the Gujarat model. Modi wants to convert democracy into a police state. He wants to convert the nation into Gujarat. We will not allow it to happen. Congress will not tolerate stifling of farmer's voice.

"We know that the particular section (Section 144 of the CrPC) is imposed in Parliament here during sessions but it is not for the first time that Opposition leaders held protest march," party spokesperson Rita Bahuguna Joshi told reporters at the AICC briefing.

Alleging that the government was trying to stop this march, she said it has made arrangements of water cannons and barricading to stop the peaceful march, like what was done to people during the British raj when public voice was stifled.

Leaders of 12 parties including Congress President Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, CPI-M's Sitaram Yechury, CPI's D Raja, former Prime Minister and JDS leader H D Devegowda are participating in the march.

JD(U) President Sharad Yadav is coordinating the march, which will see Left parties and Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress jointly marching on any issue for the first time in recent past.

Joshi refused to buy the government's argument that it had no idea of the police decision and described as "U-turn" its intervention to allow the protest march.

"A DCP and ACP sent a letter saying that the lawmakers could not collect at Parliament House as the area is under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Just now the government took a U-turn and said that we did not know about it and no permission was needed for the march.

"How two officers can take such decisions without keeping the government informed. Home Minister says he was not aware of the decision of the police. Government is quite used to in taking U-turns. Let government come out with its draconian means and ways. We will fight it out," Joshi said.

Attacking the NDA government's new land bill, she said it smacks of "anti-farmer and pro-corporate" policy of the government.

A large contingent of security personnel drawn from the Delhi Police and paramilitary forces was deployed in the area in riot gear. Barricades were put up and water cannons were also placed on the proposed march route, leading from Parliament to the President's House.

When questioned over the issue, Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi said, "If there is a demonstration, we prohibit it. But if somebody walks why would we stop them?"

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