Gujarat shutdown call evokes mixed response

July 21st, 2008 - 5:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, July 21 (IANS) A Gujarat shutdown called by a group of civil society organisations demanding a thorough probe into the death of two boys from religious leader Asaram Bapu’s ashram school here evoked mixed response in Ahmedabad while there was no impact in other parts of the state. The call given by a group led by the Jagega Gujarat Sangharsh Samiti (JGSS) demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the death of two boys came after an Ahmedabad shutdown Friday.

Business and educational institutes functioned as usual in most districts of the state and in many parts of the city. However, many schools in the city were closed as a precautionary measure.

Shops and establishments in some areas in the city, like Nirnaynagar, Vadaj, Chandhkheda, Bapunagar and Gomtipur, remained shut.

No incident of violence was reported from any part of the state and police had made elaborate security arrangements.

Security was beefed up near Asaram Bapu’s ashram in Motera on the outskirts of the city and the ’sensitive’ spots including the home of the two boys in Nirnaynagar and nearby Ranip and Sabarmati, police said.

The boys’ parents and JGSS have demanded the state government order a CBI inquiry instead of allegedly dilly-dallying on a judicial probe.

The bodies of Dipesh Vaghela, 10, and his cousin Abhishek Vaghela, 11, were found on the banks of the Sabarmati river July 5, a few kilometres away from their residential ‘gurukul’ school in Motera.

Late Sunday night, the state government ordered a judicial inquiry, to be conducted under the chairmanship of a retired high court judge.

Praful Vaghela, father of one of the boys, has been on a ‘fast unto death’ and has taken a vow of silence for the past one week.

A team of doctors Monday morning checked his health and recommended that he be immediately admitted to hospital. Vaghela, however, was firm on continuing his fast demanding that those responsible for the death of the children be brought to book at the earliest.

The main opposition Congress has supported the shutdown call.

Well-known rights activist Mukul Sinha of the Jan Sangarsh Manch said the inquiry should be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The violence following the Friday shutdown should also be probed, he said.

The Ahmedabad closure call given by residents of Ranip Friday had received total support from people across the city. However, there were violent incidents with clashes between Asaram supporters and others. The Asaram supporters also attacked media persons.

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