Rajkot Game Zone Fire: Cong Leaders Led By Mevani Start Hunger Strike - Vibes Of India

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Rajkot Game Zone Fire: Cong Leaders Led By Mevani Start Hunger Strike

| Updated: June 8, 2024 12:08

A three-day hunger strike led by several Congress leaders kicked off on Friday to protest against the massive fire incident at TRP Game Zone in Rajkot. On the first day of the protest, some grieving family members also joined the protest. Trial by fast-track court, an “impartial” SIT, compensation of Rs 1 crore to the families of those killed in the fire – these are some of the demands that have been raised by the protesting leaders.

Jignesh Mevani, working president of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC); Lalji Desai, chief organiser Congress Seva Dal; GPCC vice-president Gayatriba Vaghela; Gujarat Kisan Congress chairman Pal Ambaliya and Diptiben Soalnki, president of women’s wing of Congress’ Rajkot city unit, started their 72-hour-long fast at Trikon Baug — a busy traffic junction in the city — on Friday morning.

Rutwik Makwana, another GPCC working president, joined the leaders for a 24-hour fast. Local party leaders, including GPCC general secretary Mahesh Rajput, former leader of opposition in Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC), Vashram Sagathiya, and Jashwantsinh Bhatti, another general secretary of GPCC, registered their presence to show solidarity.

The protesting leaders alleged that no action was taken against TRP Game Zone even as it was functioning for three years without due clearances from fire and emergency services department as well as the town planning department of the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC). The inaction, they said, “reeks of corruption”. Their charter of demands includes constituting a fresh special investigation team (SIT) of honest and impartial officers to replace the SIT headed by Subhash Trivedi, Additional Director General of Police (CID Crime).

They have also demanded a compensation of Rs 1 crore in place of Rs 4 lakh to the families of those killed in the fire. The trial of the case by a fast-track court, and impleading victim’s kin as complainants in the criminal case registered on the basis of a complaint filed by police sub-inspector are among the other demands raised.

They have also sought justice for victims of tragedies like the 2022 Morbi Julto Pul collapse, 2019 Surat Takshashila building fire and Harni boat capsize this year.

The fire at TRP Game Zone on the posh Nana Mava Road on May 25 killed 27, including Prakash Hiran alias Prakash Jain, one of the six owners of the gaming zone. An SIT formed by Rajkot police to probe the criminal case, has so far arrested four of the TRP Game Zone owners, its manager and four officers of the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) even as the high-level SIT headed by Trevidi and tasked with investigating circumstances of the incident has requested the government for time to file its final report.

But Mevani said that the victims of the incident have no faith in the investigation being conducted by Trivedi. “IPS officer Trivedi, who is heading the SIT formed by the government to probe the incident, has faced allegations of custodial torture in a case in Jamnagar as well as shooting a police officer during a mock drill at Surat airport. Kin of victims of TRP Game Zone fire have no trust in the investigation being done by the SIT head by Trivedi,” Mevani said.

“Trivedi was heading the SIT which probed the Morbi Julto Pul suspension bridge disaster and police have filed a charge-sheet which enlists 300 persons as witnesses. Thus, such a charge-sheet has been filed that will ensure that trial goes on for 20 years and in the process, the accused will be shielded.” He further alleged that Trivedi has been part of SITs which probed four major incidents reported in recent years. “None of those SITs have produced an outcome and despite that why Trivedi is being appointed on SITs repeatedly?” asked the Congress leader.

The victims’ family members who joined the Congress leaders on the first day of the latter’s three-day long protests include Vishwarajsinh Jadeja’s sister-in-law Naynaba Jadeja, Asha Kathad’s elder sister Santosh Kathad and Mitesh Jadav’s cousin brother Vijay Gediya.

Desai said that their fast is to empathise with the family members of the victims of the fire tragedy. “We are doing it two weeks after the incident as family members of those killed were grieving and mourning deaths of their loved ones,” the Congress leader said, adding, “By observing a three-day-long fast, we are also paying tribute to those who lost their lives in the incident and invite people of Rajkot to empathise with the victims’ families.”

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