Ahmedabad Police Deny Activist Permission to Sit on Hunger Strike Against Wall for Trump

Aswathy Jwala was sent back to Trivandrum.

New Delhi: Days after 45 families in an Ahmedabad slum were sent eviction notices to facilitate US president Donald Trump’s visit on February 24, the Gujarat police refused permission to a Kerala-based activist, Aswathy Jwala, to sit on a hunger strike in the city.

Jwala started her hunger strike on Monday against the city municipal corporation’s decision to construct a wall around a slum cluster to “sanitise” Trump’s route.

On Tuesday evening, when Jwala, who runs an NGO called Jwala Foundation, was to sit on dharna at Saraniya Vaas near Indira Bridge, she was picked up by Sardarnagar police and sent back to Trivandrum.

Jwala said that the reports of covering the slum with a wall had hurt her so much that she decided to come to Ahmedabad and protest against it.

“I started my protest on Monday evening at 5 PM. On Tuesday evening at 7 PM, a police team came and detained me after asking if I had police permission to stage a protest. They told me to leave and get permission since I didn’t have one. I had tried to get permission but was refused. Because of the police action I am going back home but it is so painful to see the wall that has already been erected,” she told Deccan Herald.

Also read: Gujarat: Another Brick in Trump’s Wall

On Monday, she began her protest with a placard in her hand. “This is our India Our Real India. Don’t hide our India. Expose our India and work towards making it better. Hiding our Indian people behind walls Unconstitutional…Wake Up and Work Together,” the poster read.

Deputy commissioner of police Neeraj Badgujar, however, said that she was asked to leave since she did not have police permission to sit on a dharna.

“She was not detained at all. Since she didn’t have permission, we asked her to get permission. There are prohibitory orders already in place that bars such activity without police permission,” he said.

A resident of Saraniya Vaas, Rahul Saraniya, told the daily that Jwala sat with a poster near the wall and supported the residents despite not being from the same locality. “She came yesterday evening and sat near the wall with a poster. She was taken by police. She was not from our village, still she came to support us and didn’t eat for two days.”