24 Hrs Before PM Modi’s Visit to SoU, 8 Tribal Activists Detained
The activists were arrested to avoid any protests during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the Statue of Unity.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, 30 October, to attend the first anniversary of the inauguration of the Statue of Unity on Thursday, 31 October which will also coincides with the 144th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
The PM will also participate in the ‘Ekta Divas Parade’, as 31 October is also celebrated as ‘National Unity Day’. However, 24 hours before the event, police has already arrested prominent tribal activists from their homes near the SoU and as far as Surat and Baroda.
The detained activists are Dr Praful Vasava (Rajpipla), Rohit Prajapati (Baroda), Krishankant Patil (Surat), Shailesh Tadvi (Vagdiya), Gikubhai Tadvi (Shira), Nareshbhai Tadvi (Kevdiya), Narendra Tadvi (Kevdiya), and Ramkrishna Tadvi (Gora).
The tribals living in six villages (Kevadia, Limbdi, Gora, Kothi, Navagam and Vagadia) in the vicinity of the SoU and in 72 villages around Garudeshwar taluka at Sardar Sarovar Dam are protesting the incessant development that has been brought in their areas in the name of tourism at Statue of Unity.
The activists claim that these areas fall under the provisions of Schedule-V of the Constitution of India and PESA (Panchyats Extension to Scheduled Area) Act, which requires the government to take the consent of the village gramsabha before starting any development.
The Quint spoke with tribal activist Raj Vasava, who claims that he would have also been arrested but the cops missed him as he was already in Maharashtra.
“The tribal folk living near the Statue of Unity are being deliberately displaced. The government is putting undue pressure on tribals living in 72 villages in the vicinity of the SoU as they want to start new projects to attract tourists. They have already started a butterfly park, river rafting and not to forget the Rajya Bhavan for each state in the country which will be built in the vicinity of SoU.”Raj Vasava, Tribal Activist
“These areas are protected under the Schedule V of the Constitution of India. The thing is they don’t want to spoil Modi’s image because of our protests. The diktat is to arrest any activist within 200 metres of SoU. But they have gone and arrested activists from their homes which are nearly 20 km away from the site. Couple of the actvists hail from Surat and Baroda. What kind of democracy is this?” Vasava asked
The Quint tried to contact Kevadia Colony Police Station several times, but got no response.
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