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Janadesh Yatra activists prevented from marching to Parliament
October 29, 2007 10:14 IST
Last Updated: October 29, 2007 13:21 IST
Over 25,000 people from different parts of the country, who have marched to Delhi demanding rights to land and livelihood, were on Monday prevented by police from carrying out the final leg of their march to Parliament.
"We have been told that we are under arrest. We have been asked to remain in the confines of the Ramlila Ground," Jagdish Shukla, spokesman for the organisers of the march, told PTI.
He said the gates of the Ramlila Ground, where the demonstrators have camped since their arrival in Delhi on Sunday, have been shut and they are not allowed to leave the premises.
"We are facing an acute shortage of water and the situation is miserable for the over 25,000 demonstrators who have walked all the way from Gwalior," Shukla said.
A senior police official, however, denied the demonstrators have either been arrested or detained.
"As of now there is no detention or arrest. We have been asked to confine the demonstrators to the premises," he said.
Shukla said Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad was expected to meet the demonstrators later in the day and make some announcement in response to their demands.
At a meeting which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] held with Prasad on Monday, it was decided that an experts committee would be constituted to look into the demands of the demonstrators.
The participants of the Janadesh Yatra 2007 had earlier planned to stage a dharna at Jantar Mantar.
Amending the programme at the 11th hour, the organisers decided to march towards Parliament from Ramlila Ground.
Among the leaders who met the demonstrators were erstwhile Bharatiya Janata Party leader Uma Bharti, Communist Party of India leader A B Bardhan and Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Organised by a network of NGOs called Ekta Parishad, the yatra comprises tribals and Dalits form different states, especially Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, who have marched 340 km, walking 10-12 km a day from October 2.
The protestors started their journey from Gwalior and gathered in the Ramlila Ground on Saturday carrying white and green flags demanding setting up of a National Land Authority, fast-track courts and a single window system to deal with land and livelihood disputes.