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Pradesh Sangathan members shave their heads, carry funeral procession in protest
Some members of Pradesh Pradhan Sangathan got their heads shaved and later held a symbolic funeral procession in the provisional State capital raising slogans against the State Government allegedly failing to address their four-point- demand. However, the police stopped them from proceeding, snatching the effigy of State Government at protest site near the Parade Ground in Dehradun on Wednesday.
The outfit’s president Girveer Parmar Parmar said that no positive step has been taken so far despite the outfit staging a movement for days. According to him, the demands of PPS include immediate implementation of Uttarakhand Panchayati Raj Act 2016. Besides, monthly allowances to the Gram Pradhans and various government departments must be brought under the Panchayats as per the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Act. He warned that they protest would continue if their demand of the withdrawal of the order of reduction of funds for panchayats from the 14th finance commission budget is not met.
Parmar further said that several memorandums have been submitted to the state government through administrative officers in the past. Yet, the Government has remained apathetic.
Meanwhile, the district administration had deployed additional police forces to maintain peace at parade ground. Moreover, to pressurise the state government over their demands, members of Pradesh Pradhan Sangathan continued their indefinite period hunger strike near the Parade Ground on Wednesday. Large numbers of PPS members reached the protest site and shouted anti-government slogans. As a part of their protest, they got their heads shaved at the site. Later they carried out funeral procession but police gathered there and took away the effigy of state government being carried in the procession. Police faced verbal arguments from the protesters. Irked protesters sat on demonstration at protest site and shouted slogans against the State Government.
Parmar further said that they have been protesting over the demands for over three months. They have protested at block level, district level and now at state level in support four points’ demands. No Government representatives have reached at the protest site assuring redressal of their demands. They would intensify their protests unless demands are met, Parmar warned.
Parmar alleged that no political parties —Congress and BJP — and its MLAs want gram panchayats to become strong.
Meanwhile, Congress State president Pritam Singh extended his party’s support to Pradesh Pradhan Sangathan after reaching protest site twice sitting with the members undertaking hunger strike for the last few days in support of their pending demands.
Singh said that Congress party believes in strengthening panchayati raj institutions and continues to fight for their rights. Government should redress the demands of pradhan sangathan at the earliest and the Panchayati Raj Act should also be implemented.
He alleged that current BJP led government is adamant to end the rights of panchayats. Without detailed consultation among the various stockholders, the State Government has planned to incorporate areas of gram panchayats into the jurisdictional limit of Municipal Corporation, municipality and nagar panchayats. According to him, BJP party should consult stakeholders and take decisions over the above issue according.
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