Two Congress MLAs of the Ujjain Parliamentary constituency along with five prominent party functionaries were arrested and sent to Central Bhairavgarh Jail, for flouting the provisions of lockdown amid Covid-19 pandemic by taking out ‘Kisan Kamgar, Mazdoor Nyay Padyatra’ here on Wednesday.
MLAs Mahesh Parmar (Tarana, Ujjain district) and Manoj Chawla (Alote, Ratlam district) had announced that padyatra will be taken out from Mahakaleshwar temple to Bhopal to protest against anti-labourers and anti-farmers policies of the State and the Union government.
The MLAs wanted to highlight the plight of migrating people and planned to submit a memorandum to the Governor by reaching the State Captial via Dewas, Sonkutch Ashta and Sehore.
As per plan when they reached the temple and started the yatra on foot while carrying the National Flag while maintaining social distancing. However, jawans of special police intercepted them near Mahakal Ghati. It was followed by heated arguments between the MLAs and their supporters as well as additional collector Kshitij Singhal, ADM RP Tiwari and ASP Rupesh Dwivedi. The administration disallowed their march while referring the enforcement of lockdown.
As soon as these developments became known to the Congress workers, they started reaching towards the Mahakaleshwar Temple.
Meanwhile, the police arrested the protesters and sent to the jail in a lorry. Later, Congress MLA Ramlal Malviya, senior leaders Batuk Shankar Joshi, Mahesh Soni, Kamal Patel and others reached at the jail to meet the arrestees.
By then, the Congress party workers of Ujjain and Ratlam district started mounting pressure on the administration to release the MLAs and others unconditionally. Ex-CM Kamal Nath also strongly condemned their arrest and termed it as an act to suppress the democratic rights. Through a tweet, Nath asked immediate release of the MLAs.
An administrative officer reached the jail and asked the MLAs to furnish personal bonds so that they can be released from the jail, but the MLAs declined to do so saying they did not break any law and wanted to take out the padyatra in support of the interests of migrants, labourers and farmers purely on the basis peace and Gandhian way.
Following this development, the Congress has announced to launch an agitation for the immediate and unconditional release of the MLAs and five others. Spokesman Vivek Soni informed that an urgent meeting has been called on Thursday at 1 pm at the party’s headquarters at Ksheer Sagar to formulate the next course of action.
On the other hand, Congress’ SC wing chief Surendra Marmat warned that if the MLAs and other workers are not released immediately and unconditionally the wing members will be forced to burn the effigy of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan. Corporator Binu Kushwaha stated that the effigies will be burnt in every 54 wards to register protest over such an act.
THE OFFICIAL VERSION
“Curfew and lockdown have been implemented under Section 144 to prevent Corona virus infection. During the curfew and lock-down, gathering of persons, organising meetings and processions and conducting press talks without permission is prohibited. But at such a time, Congress MLAs and their colleagues tried to launch a political yatra in violation of curfew and lockdown, in violation of Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 and Disaster Management Act 2005. Against all the above persons, the district administration has filed a case under section 188, 269 and 270 under the First Information Report 0387/2020 in the police station Mahakal for violation of curfew and lock down order under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code 1973, an official release issued in the evening said.
It further said, “at 7:15 in the morning, MLAs Mahesh Parmar and Manoj Chawla along with Virendra Singh, Ajit Singh, Sonu Sharma, Kamal Kishore Trivedi, and Nizam Qazi gathered near Mahakaleshwar Temple and after talking to the journalists left for Bhopal on foot.
These individuals stated that they had obtained e-passes for Bhopal trip, but the passes issued to them were issued as ‘Other Traveler Stranded’ category. An official said that e-passes were issued based on the inccorect information provided by the persons concerned. Thus after obtaining permission the said Congress circulated information on social media with regard to talk with the media in view of starting a padyatra from Ujjain to Bhopal to provide justice to the farmers and laborers.”