Daman: Section 144 Imposed, Two Government Schools Converted Into 'Temporary Jails'

The action was taken after a clampdown on those protesting against eviction from government land.

New Delhi: Close to 70 people, who were protesting against their eviction from government land were detained by the police in the Union Territory of Daman on Sunday.

According to the Times of India, authorities demolished 120 illegal structures and houses built along a 700-metre stretch from Mato Daman Lighthouse to Jampore beach on the instructions of district collector Rakesh Minhas. Citizens have been protesting against the action for the past two days.

Kannan Gopinathan, the IAS officer who resigned on August 21 protesting the continuing clampdown in Kashmir, tweeted an image of the copy of an order dated November 3, 2019, from the district magistrate of Daman Rakesh Minhas declaring that the Government High School of Bhimpore, Nani Daman and the Government High School, Moti Daman would be converted into jails with immediate effect.

Gopinathan also tweeted another copy of an order from the district magistrate of Daman dated November 3, 2019, that imposed section 144 of the CrPC in the entire Daman district. The former IAS officer had previously been posted at the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.

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According to the order from the office of the collector, dharnas caused “inconvenience to the general public” and adversely affected the “smooth flow of vehicular traffic” and the “smooth working of the offices and public in general”.

As per the order, which is to be in force for a period of seven days commencing from November 3, dharnas or gatherings of more than five people by any private association or political party were strictly forbidden with “a view to avoid any untoward incident or law and order problem”. The order further states that those contravening it will be punished under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.

The order comes after police used lathicharge and water cannons to quell the protestors on both the days of the protest, according to TOI.

A source at the Daman collectorate told TOI, “We [are] trying to identify the real miscreants. We will take action against them once they are identified. The situation is under control.”

While incidents of encroachment by the government have been on the rise in Daman, prior to this incident, no serious action was taken against the encroachers by the Daman administration.