Jaipur, Jan 16: A sudden attack on the Jawabdehi yatra today, anchored by social activists Aruna Roy and Nikhil De and currently on in Rajasthan has left them more determined to carry on the yatra undeterred.
BJP men today attacked the Jawabdehi rally in Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s constituency,Jhalawar, beating up several people and injuring at least six of them. A FIR has been lodged against the miscreants numbering about 40 and led by the Aklera BJP MLA Kunwar Meena, who is said to have wanted to teach a lesson to these social activists.
The incident took place near Aklera police post in Jhalawar constituency (330 Km from here) around 5:30 pm when the rally was wounding up after songs, street plays and short speeches to make the people aware of accountability in the government.
“At least three men with lathis first attacked us,” Shankar Singh, one of the leading rallyist and one who has been injured severely said. Cameras were broken and windshields of the two jeeps smashed. One of the rally participant Karthick was dragged by three men. Another rallyist Kamal was also then dragged and hit. But since the rally did not stop and went on into the market, they were attacked again, this time by a group of 40-50 men led by BJP MLA Kunwar Meena.
Aklera police station’s Manmohan Bairwa said the police intervened after some youths in the age group of 25-30 were found to be disrupting the rally deliberately.
Bairwa said : “ The FIR has been lodged under Sections 147, 323, 427, 379 and 149 of IPC. We cannot say that these people belong to any party although the mention of present BJP MLA is there.” The Sections include punishment for rioting, voluntarily causing hurt, damaging, unlawful assembly and entails punishment ranging from two to three years and fine.
The rally people also retaliated but were hit on legs, head and back and were even slapped. And the public also stepped in to help the activists. Later the police intervened and took all of them to the police station.
According to Aruna Roy: “It seemed a planned attack since the Jawabdehi yatra wants answers against non-compliance of orders, against corruption, grievances and demands accountability from those governing. There are reports that the attackers wanted to teach us a lesson.
Despite the attacks the yatra would go on. We are not afraid. We are more determined than ever now. “
She added : “In 2008 too, our men were attacked when they doing a social audit in Jhalawar and it took place simultaneously at four-five places. There were FIRs lodged then but nothing much came off it.”
Shankar Singh said : “We have completed about 15 districts and did not face any kind of problem anywhere till we reached Jhalawar.”
Aruna said : “Since this is the Chief Minister’s constituency, we expect little more discipline in this district. But this attack was led by a BJP man, cannot say whether the decision to attack was taken at his own level or higher up.”
The 100-day Jawabdehi yatra, which kicked off on Dec 2 from Jaipur’s Shahid Smarak has been organized by Majdoor kissan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) and 90 other social organisations like Aastha Sansthan from Udaipur, Sankalp Sansthan from Baran , Barefoot college, Tilonia. Social activists, labours, tribals, dalits, painters, folk singers, drama artists and students from across the state are part of this 100-day yatra.
The yatra aims to bring in accountability and fix responsibility of the government in administration. It was flagged off today.
The yatra would look and study a plethora of issues concerning the public like Right to Education, Food Security, Right to health, labourers rights, women’s rights, Right to Information, labour and employment rights, pension, communal harmony, tribal’ rights, Dalit’s rights, rights related to water, forest and land right and local governance.
The yatra will cover more than 100 blocks in all 33 districts of the state. In every district, the activists would spend three days which includes registration of grievances of local people, nukkad sabhas, organisation of jawabdehi mela at each district head quarter, nukkad nataks to generate awareness amongst people about their rights. After the yatra gets over, the complaints would be followed up by MKSS workers.
According to Aruna, Rajasthan is lacking far behind as far as accountability of the government is concerned. The state needs a grievance redressal law to sought out problems of people and to improve the governance. These petty issues like pension, employment, food, Dalits rights etc are of grave importance for the complainants. This yatra would register the complaints and prepare a report about complaints and will follow up them.