Special Correspondent

Many stopped on their way or taken into custody before entering Jaipur

)JAIPUR: The Government machinery on Thursday foiled farmers' attempt to storm the State capital with their longstanding grievances and demands. Thousands of farmers, under the banner of Loktantrik Adhikar Morcha, who turned up for a protest rally were stopped either on their way or taken into custody before entering the city gates.

The scheduled rally, called to highlight the issue of irrigation water in Phase I area of the Indira Gandhi Canal in Bikaner division and other issues pertaining to the rural population, did not take place at the earlier announced venue, Amriton Ka Bagh, near the State Assembly premises, but was split into at least half a dozen meetings within and outside the city.

Public meetings were held at the Martyrs Memorial junction and in the Hathroi Fort area while the biggest gathering was on the dry bed of the Bandi river, some 25 km from here on the Jaipur-Bikaner highway.

The farmers had been stopped at this point, a little ahead of Chomu town, along with the "Kisan Rath" which had begun its journey from Rawla in Sriganganagar a fortnight ago. Reports reaching here said hundreds of farmers were stopped on the Jaipur-Tonk road, on Kalawad Road, Sirsi Road and at Kanota after authorities seizing their vehicles. Many of them, including women leaders of Left organisations, were detained at various places till the event got over.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat and Atul Kumar Anjaan, leader of the Communist Party of India, flanked by leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) and many activist groups including PUCL and Samagra Sewa Sangh addressed the rallies.

Action condemned

"It is unfortunate that a peaceful rally has been stopped in this manner with the use of police force," said Mr. Karat talking to journalists. "We condemn the Government's action and demand the Chief Minister to start a dialogue with the farmers on their long- pending issues. The talks should be initiated after the release of leaders who are in jail," he added.

"We never said no to the holding of the rally in the city. The organisers were given the option of holding it in Vidhayadhar Nagar and that option was open till the end," Madhukar Gupta, Divisional Commissioner, Jaipur said. Mr. Gupta had met Mr.Karat at Sanganer airport itself in the morning to explain the stand of the Government. "We did what all we could to avoid a law and order problem and inconvenience to the general public," Mr. Gupta noted.

"This Government has been consistently suppressing the people's rights from its very inception three years back. The indents in Rawla, Gharsana and in Sohela are the result of its dictatorial functioning," Mr. Anjaan said.

Addressing the rally at Bandi, State CPI secretary Vasudev, party MLA Amra Ram, CPI leaders Dushyant Ojha and Tara Singh Siddhu said the farmers' agitation would continue.