In flood-hit Kolhapur district, state prohibits assembly of people to bring back ‘normalcy’
The order, which is similar to the one issued under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) that prevent assembly of more than four people in an area, was issued under section 37 (1) and (3) of the Maharashtra Police Act.Updated: Aug 13, 2019 01:48 IST
Even as Kolhapur struggled to get back on its feet with the water levels receding, the state on Monday imposed orders prohibiting assembly of people in the flood-ravaged district for 12 days, starting August 12.
The order, which is similar to the one issued under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) that prevent assembly of more than four people in an area, was issued under section 37 (1) and (3) of the Maharashtra Police Act.
The order states: “With Bakri Eid, Independence Day and Dahi Handi (Janmashtami) around the corner, possibilities of people committing suicide, go on indefinite strike, protests, party/organisation protesting cannot be ruled out, and therefore prohibitory orders are imposed from the midnight of August 12 to August 24.”
Justifying the move, state revenue and relief and rehabilitation minister Chandrakant Patil said the government wants to focus on bringing back normalcy and needs the police force at its disposal.
“Today it is Bakri Eid, then Independence Day and then there is Dahi Handi, so this is a normal procedure. The police and government administration is completely immersed in the flood situation and during that there was a protest on Sunday. Police is needed for such work. It is an extremely practical solution that when the whole administration is engaged in bringing the lives of the people back on tracks, there should not be any protests,” Patil explained.
The Opposition slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government’s move.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alleged the orders were issued to suppress the voices of people who are angry with the state. NCP Mumbai unit chief Nawab Malik asked if it was “General Dyer’s government” ruling the state in an “authoritarian style”.
Former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan called the order “surprising” at a time when the state administration should focus on relief measures for flood victims.
“The people of Kolhapur and Sangli districts are unhappy with the ill-planned response and relief work of the state. Certain ministers have been gheraoed by people. They anticipate similar outbursts, which is why the order was issued,” Chavan said in a statement.
He demanded that the orders be revoked soon.
Patil, meanwhile, hinted that the prohibitory orders can be lifted after people are shifted back to their homes from transit camps.
“We may consider withdrawing it when a majority of people return to their homes in the city and nearby villages,” he said.
First Published: Aug 13, 2019 00:03 IST