Gujarat tribals to protest visit

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on October 30, 2019

Villagers to shun food as part of a bandh call

Local tribals from Narmada district have called ‘Kevadia Bandh’ — a symbolic protest of the first anniversary celebrations for the Statue of Unity, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be present on Thursday. The villagers will shun food as a mark of protest.

A group of tribal leaders including farmers and cattle rearers from villages around Kevadia are seeking justice and be a partner in the development of the region. The villagers allege that the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam authorities have displaced several villagers to make the way for tourist facilities.

Underlining the plight of the tribals in the region, Anand Mazgaonkar, a leader and activist, stated that the conventional livelihood of the villagers has been destroyed to allow setting up of new tourist facilities.

“Tribals are terrorised and they are being asked to close their conventional businesses. There is a complete exclusion of the locals from every development activity including the PM’s functions. They have called for Kevadia Bandh in protest of this action. The entire tribal region in South Gujarat is upset with this behaviour from the government,” Mazgaonkar said. “The bandh call will mean the villagers will have no food and no activity by that day,” he said.

Earlier this month, tribals from the affected six villages — namely Kevadia, Limbdi, Gora, Kothi, Navagam and Vagadia — had publicly raised allegations for ‘displacing’ villagers to accommodate tourism facilities in the area.

Tribals also allege that the government violated the provisions of Schedule-V and PESA (Panchyats Extension to Scheduled Area) Act, which requires the government to take the consent of the village gramsabha.

The 72 villages around Garudeshwar taluk at Sardar Sarovar Dam are covered by this provision.

Published on October 30, 2019

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