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Former BJP speaker of Raj assembly goes on hunger strike for HC bench in Udaipur

Udaipur : Veteran lawyer and former speaker of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly Shantilal Chaplot began an indefinite hunger strike on Wednesday on the 31st day of the lawyers strike going on here over their long pending demand for a permanent High Court bench in Udaipur. Roshanlal Samota, president of Ration dealer’s association also joined him in the hunger strike. Two days ago, ministers Shrichand Kriplani and DhanSingh Rawat had met Chaplot to deter him from his decision, however, Chaplot announced that he will not step back until their demand is fulfilled this time and a solid action is taken by thestate government instead of mere assurances.

Members of the bar association boycotted work and proceedings remained suspended here for the day at the District and Session Court here. Earlier the day, lawyers under the flagship of Mewar Wagad high court bench sangarsh samiti took out a massive procession from the court circle and the veteran leader was felicitated before he began the hunger strike. People watched the large gathering of lawyers who raised slogans against the state government and accused home minister Gulabchand Kataria of making false promises to the community. Chaplot in his address said that this is now a do or die situation for the agitators.

The bar association has been demanding a HC bench for 3 decades now, many governments have come and gone, politicians have been making false promises and giving fake assurances only. The poor tribal people have been suffering for years and deprived of judicial remedies for the only reason that they cannot afford to go to Jodhpur for hearings. Bar association president RamKripa Sharma, general secretary Chetanpuri Goswami and many others joined for the 24-hours strike that began today. Members of over100 associations and groups had gathered to extend their support to the agitation. Speaker of legislative assembly Kailash Meghwal too arrived at the dharna spot and tried to convince the veteran leader to withdraw from hunger strike.

“The movement has reached a decisive stage now. Chaplot is a senior leader and his health is a major concern for us. The government is much sensitive on the issue and a delegation of protesters have been invited for a mediation talk atJaipur on May19 with a committee headed by CM Raje herself which would find an amicable solution to the movement” Meghwal said. He also said that whenever the assembly meet next, he would call for a discussion over the issue, howwver, the hunger strike should be withdrawn until then.

Lawyers disagreed to his advice and reiterated their decision to intensify the protest. Meanwhile, PCC secretary Ashq Ali Taunk arrived from Jaipur and met Chaplot. He said that it is really shameful that a senior BJP leader has to resort to hunger strike because his party has remained indifferent and unmoved over the month long ongoing strike by the lawyers. Former district president of BJP Mangilal Joshi condemned home minister Gulab chand Kataria and alleged that Chaplot had been the minister’s guru, however the pupil’s indifference and diffidence is causing harm to the teacher.

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