75,000 tribals plan to protest against ‘Statue of Unity’ on Oct 31

75,000 tribals plan to protest against ‘Statue of Unity’ on Oct 31

Courtesy : Gujrat Bureau25/10/2018 21:11

Their biggest grudge is the govt's approach in acquiring their lands

HIGHLIGHTS

·  Statue of Unity has been built on Sadhu Bet river island

·  At 182 metres it’s world's tallest statue built at a cost of over Rs 2,300 cr

New Delhi: As the Central and Gujarat governments gear up for the grand unveiling of the world’s tallest statue -- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s ‘Statue of Unity’ --  on October 31, scores of tribals in villages nearby are preparing to mourn the day to protest the land acquisition for the Rs 2,300 crore project.

Standing against the scenic background of the Narmada river and flanked by Satpuda and Vindhyanchal hills, the 182-metre-high statue built on Sadhu Bet river island, 3.5 km from the Narmada dam, will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

However, the tribals are complaining that their lands were taken away for the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Project as well as for the statue and all other tourism activities, which have been planned in the area.

Their biggest grudge is the government's approach to acquiring their lands. Local tribal organisations said as many as 75,000 tribals “adversely affected” by the project would take part in the protest.

"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, but this government's development idea is lopsided and against the tribals," Dr Praful Vasava, a tribal leader was quoted by IANS.

He said, "No food will be cooked in 72 villages (on October 31) affected by the entire project, as we will be mourning on that day, for the project has been carried out for our destruction."

Traditionally, food is not cooked in a tribal village when they are mourning for the dead.

Vasava claimed that this "non-cooperation movement" is being supported by around 100 tribal organisations across the state.

"Right from Banaskantha in North Gujarat to the Dangs district in South Gujarat, nine tribal districts will be joining us in the agitation," he said.

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