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Statue Of Unity: 75,000 Tribals To Protest Unveiling Of Sardar Patel’s Statue By PM Modi; No Food To Be Cooked In 72 Villages

The tribals are complaining that the government took away their lands for the construction of the statue.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to unveil the ‘Statue of Unity’ of Sardar Patel in Gujarat on October 31, thousands of tribals adversely affected by the project are bracing to stage massive protests. 

According to an IANS report, a local tribal organisations said as many as 75,000 tribals will oppose the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments, both in the state and at the Centre and protest on the day of unveiling of the statue. 

Dr Praful Vasava, a tribal leader, said, “No food will be cooked in 72 villages affected by the entire project, as we will be mourning on that day, for the project is being carried out for our destruction.” Traditionally, tribals do not cook food when they are mourning the dead. 

The tribals are complaining that the government took away their lands for the construction of the statue. 

“Our rights as tribals are being violated by the government. We don’t have anything against the great son of Gujarat, Sardar Patel, and his honour should be maintained. We are not against this development even, but this government’s development idea is lopsided and against the tribals,” Vasava told IANS

Also Read: Patel’s Order Banning RSS Should Be Displayed At Base Of Statue Of Unity: Congress

Vasava asserted that over 100 small villages are supporting the protest. He said, “Right from Banaskantha in North Gujarat to the Dangs district in South Gujarat, nine tribal districts will be joining us in the agitation.” 

“And the ‘Bandh’ will not only be limited to schools, offices or commercial establishments, but households will also be silent (no cooking) on the 31st joining us,” he added. 

According to the villagers, out of 72 affected villages, 32 were the most affected. At least 19 villages are such where rehabilitation has not been completed. 

“The government took away our land and only paid us the money for it, but other commitments like alternative land, providing jobs to the affected have not been carried out as per the rehabilitation package, according to the Narmada Tribunal Authority. Some of the affected have not even accepted that money, opposing the land acquisition,” said Rameshbhai from Garudeshwar. 

Several displaced villagers who were later allotted lands by the government, are not satisfied.  

“Gujarat government gave me one hectare land in Sagbara region in lieu of my fertile cultivable land which was submerged in the Sardar Sarovar. But the entire land is uncultivable and totally unproductive. What am I to do with such piece of land?” asked Parchi Bondu, an affected tribal. 

The statue has been constructed at Kevadia in Narmada district of Gujarat.

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