Statue Of Unity: Gujarat Police Arrests Tribals, Protestors Write ‘Narendra Modi Go Back’ in Blood
"We released 40,000 black balloons when the PM inaugurated the statue but no media showed that.”
The Gujarat police has arrested several tribal activists in Narmada district due to their protesting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration of the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s ‘Statue Of Unity‘.
People from 72 tribal villages in the area protested the statue by observing a ‘chulha band’ — not lighting stoves — to protest the PM Modi’s vanity project that cost almost Rs 3,000 cr and displaced thousands of tribals.
Lakhan Musaafir, one of the detained persons, told IANS, “The police came to my house in Kevadia and arrested me and is now taking me to some place. We will be detained for 24 hours and then they will release us when the Wednesday’s programmes get over.”
So far, 90 protestors have been arrested, activists in the area told HuffPost. Activist Sulbha Raghunath reportedly made a Facebook post alleging that those being arrested were threatened that they would be killed without anyone ever knowing.
Another activist, Gawbhai Rathod, claimed that more than 150 had been arrested. “North Gujarat has a bandh and even Junagadh is witnessing a protest. We have no problem with the statue. But the statue is not bigger than life. Over 72 villages are going to be devastated by this statue,” he told HuffPost.
He claimed that many protestors carried posters with ‘Narendra Modi go back’ written in their blood.
“We released 40,000 black balloons when the PM inaugurated the statue but no media showed that,” he added.
Reportedly, the police made arrests in Kevadia, Rajpipla and Dediapada talukas of Narmada district as well.
Social worker Anand Mazgaonkar told IANS, “Tribal people in entire eastern Gujarat are angry at this show of pomp. Their anger is also expressed in a peaceful manner as they have announced boycott, fast, and shutdown of the whole tribal belt. They have done so in the face of extreme pressure and intimidation.”
In a statement, activists said that a “whole government – the executive, administration, regular police, [Central] Reserve Police Force, Home Guards – from across the state has descended on Kevadia for the 31st October ‘tamasha’ being conducted in the name of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel”.
Tens of thousands of trees have been chopped off for road widening, houses pulled down, people summarily thrown out.”
The statement added, “The first six villages acquired for Sardar Sarovar staff colonies were never recognised as project-affected. They are fighting back. The 19 villages that were, in fact, recognised as project-affected are fighting because promises made to them again and again were not kept. The seven villages that would be affected by Garudeshwar weir are fighting for their rights. The 28 villages on the right bank of Main Canal, under whose noses the water flows, are not allowed a drop of water for their parched farms in this rain-scarce year have resolved to fight.”