For The Record – Probably for the very First Time…

Something happened in Vasai today, there was a rally organized by MLA Vivek Pandit for ‘awarding’ the Vasai Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) Deepak Devraj for using the in humane lathi charge to control the crowd a few days ago when Vivek Pandit was on an indefinite hunger strike to protest against the inclusion of 53 villages in the Virar-Vasai Municipal Corporation (VVMC) as I mentioned in my last post.

There was no Police presence, nor was there any Government official present for the rally. As per the rules, there needs to be atleast 1 Police person per 1000 people in a lawful gathering along with a collector or a deputy collector for large gatherings.

Approximately 1500-2000 strong gathering gathered in front of the Navghar Manickpur Nagar Parishad office near Vasai Road Railway Station with Vivek Pandit addressing the crowd asking them to form a queue. He asked each and every one to refrain from using any kind of voilence or show any bouts of anger over the public or the authorities.

The crowd moved slowly to the small road in front of Vartak College, where a makeshift stage was ready with Vivek Pandit asking the crowd to sit down and maintain silence. He then went on to speak of the entire episode of how things fell apart on Friday, the 5th of March and how in humane the police were in ruthlessly hitting the gathering at Vasai.

There were more testimonies from those who suffered from the police brutality and then there was this guy (I’ll get the name for sure) who was carried to the stage, the police had hit so hard on his legs that he is unable to stand, forget walking.

The MLA promised that the next session of the Maharashtra assembly starting on the 18th of March will see only Vasai being discussed. Ram Kadam, the MLA from Maharashtra NavNirman Sena (MNS) was there to affirm that.

2 thoughts on “For The Record – Probably for the very First Time…

  1. Over 5,000 villagers from around Vasai town Sunday gathered to witness a solemn ceremony — presentation of the ‘General Reginald Dyer Award’ to Thane Deputy Superintendent of Police Deepak Devraj.

    “The award was to acknowledge Deepak Devraj’s brutality against the people of Vasai, women, children, tribals, poor villagers and others who were peacefully protesting in Gandhian traditions,” Shramjeevi Kamgar Sanghatna (SKS) vice-president Sanjay Shirodkar told IANS.

    Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer was the British Army officer responsible for the massacre of over 1,500 innocent Sikhs — men, women and children — at the Jallianwala Bagh of Amritsar, Punjab, during Baisakhi Day celebiration April 13, 1919.

    Justifying the “award” at a huge public meeting held near the police headquarters here, SKS president and Vasai legislator Vivek Pandit said that the actions of Devraj would shame even “the British Army officer, Gen. Reginald Dyer, who ordered the brutal massacre of innocents in Punjab during the country’s freedom struggle.”

    The colourful citation depicted four grinning skulls on each corner, skeletons kneeling on two sides and skeletal hands brandishing gleaming swords. It also showed a picture of Brigadier-General Dyer, the British flag and what is purported to be the British Army flag.

    In a lengthy citation in Marathi, Pandit said that “on behalf of the people of Vasai, I present to you a special honour, the Gen. Dyer Award.”

    Pandit said in the citation — signed by him as Vasai legislator — that he was on an indefinite hunger strike in accordance with the Gandhian principles.

    “But the manner in which you tried to break my peaceful protest conveyed the impression that the country has not yet attained independence,” he said.

    In order to break the peaceful protest, Pandit said, Deputy Superintendent of Police Devraj brutally caned the unarmed villagers, tore off the clothes of poor tribal women, and danced on their naked bodies. Policemen went from house to house and hammered women, children and seniorcitizens, Pandit alleged.

    “Even I was not spared, you personally broke up my vehicle, looted money, gold chains and mobiles in broad daylight, even a 75-year-old freedom fighter, Neelkanth Patil, was beaten and flung from a height of over 12 feet,” Pandit said, amidst a thunderous applause.

    By doing so, Devraj broke the record of General Dyer, Pandit said and solemnly conferred the award on the absentee police officer.

    Shirodkar said that over 5,000 people gathered peacefully without the presence of a single policeman during the two-hour ‘award function’ that ended a short while ago.

    No senior police officials of Vasai, including DySP Devraj were present in the police station, according to Shirodkar.

    On March 5, Vasai town, around 40 km north of Mumbai had erupted in violence as police attempted to break the four-day indefinite hunger strike by Pandit and his supporters.

    Over 65 people were injured in the police caning and the crowds retaliated by burning two state transport buses, a police van, damaging other vehicles, and enforcing a shutdown.

    The day long crisis ended only after Chief Minister Ashok Chavan personally intervened and spoke to and urged Pandit to call off the agitation.

    Chavan assured that he would solve the main grievance – delinking of 53 villages from the Virar-Vasai Municipal Corporation – within a week.

    Meanwhile, Home Minister R.R. Patil has ordered the IGP-Konkan Range to conduct an inquiry into the alleged police excesses during the March 5 agitation in Vasai.

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