Skip to main content

Forcibly displaced from their village due of upper caste attacks, Gujarat agariyas face government wrath

One of the agariya houses destroyed by authorities
By Our Representative
The Agariya Hit Rakshak Manch (AHRM), an NGO working among the saltpan workers of the Little of Kutch in Gujarat, has strongly protested against a demolition drive carried out by the local administration against a settlement of 78 houses of agariyas bordering the Rann. In a statement, AHRM has said, “On December 27, 2013, the block revenue officer of Patadi taluka, district Surendrangar, got bulldozer and police to a demolish settlement of 78 agariyas. When people started lying down in front of the bulldozer, police forcefully made them sit in vehicles, and then started demolition.”
The statement said, the authorities cared little for women and children, even though they were screaming. “People called Bharatbhai, an AHRM activist, who immediately ran to the site, and intervened. Till that time, around 10 houses had already been demolished. Household items, ration, clothes, everything were turned into debris”, it added. The makeshift settlement of agariyas, which the authorities sought to demolish, had cropped up because they were forcibly displaced four years ago from their original place of living in Zinzuwada village, where they faced unprecedented atrocities at the hand an upper caste community.
“These 78 agariya families were residing in Zinzuwada village, dominated by the upper caste Darbar community. They were engaged in producing salt in the Little Rann of Kutch, a huge saline desert, for years. They used to face unprecedented atrocities at the hands of the Darbar community. Young girls and women were sexually abused. There were cases when some young boys from among the agariyas raised voice, and they were simply eliminated. Eight young boys were murdered over a span of five years before the agariyas were forcibly displaced. No cases have been registered”, the statement alleged.
This forced the agariya community to decide to leave the village. “They came at the block place, at Patadi town, and started residing in government wasteland. They have already communicated to the government about the situation. For the past three years, the Gujarat government, from time to time, has been giving false promises that the agariyas would be given housing plots. Nothing has happened. Their ration cards have not been transferred. They are being depriving them from getting ration for last four years”, the statement reads.
The “purpose” of the demolition of the agariya settlement, given by government officials, was that they were “encroachers on a land which has been allotted for some other purpose”, and which they must return”. Officials also want the agariyas to go back to their village, the statement points out, adding, “The agariyas are so terrified by the atrocities committed against them that they told the authorities that returning to their original place in the native village would mean unprecedented suffering. Hence, they would not go back, even if their new settlement was destroyed.”
The statement said, “Till date more than 50 representations have been done at various levels, including before the local MLA, the district collector, and the state and national human rights commission, yet nothing has happened. With no electricity, water facility, without proper housing, these families are staying in the wasteland. Last year two young boys died because of snake bite. There is government resolution (GR), dated June 6, 2003, for allotment of housing plots to nomadic and denotified tribes. However, government authorities could not complete formalities for providing houses to these agariyas for the four years.”
The statement concludes, “Women and children are terrified by the inhuman, insensitive act of government authorities, of demolishing houses without allotting any alternative site to them. The state government is obliged to provide shelter to every homeless family. However, here is a case where the government is taking pride in demolishing houses of agariyas.” It demanded the state government to immediate stop the demolition process, initiate the process of allotment of housing plots to agariyas families, who were forced to leave their native village, provide ration and voters ID card and water facilities.”

Comments

TRENDING

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

Stagnating wages since 2014-15: Economists explain Modi legacy for informal workers

By Our Representative  Real wages have barely risen in India since 2014-15, despite rapid GDP growth. The country’s social security system has also stagnated in this period. The lives of informal workers remain extremely precarious, especially in states like Jharkhand where casual employment is the main source of livelihood for millions. These are some of the findings presented by economists Jean Drèze and Reetika Khera at a press conference convened by the Loktantra Bachao 2024 campaign. 

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

India's "welcome" proposal to impose sin tax on aerated drinks is part of to fight growing sugar consumption

By Amit Srivastava* A proposal to tax sugar sweetened beverages like tobacco in India has been welcomed by public health advocates. The proposal to increase sin taxes on aerated drinks is part of the recommendations made by India’s Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian on the upcoming Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill in the parliament of India.

Turkey meet tries to 'resurrect' Maoism, seeks to apply people’s war concept universally

By Harsh Thakor*  An International Maoist Symposium was organized by Umut Publishing on 6-7th April in Turkey commemorating 130th birthday of Mao Tse Tung. On the first day of the symposium two sessions were staged. The first session started with Volkan Yaraşır’s presentation on “Dialectics of the Chinese Revolution and Mao Zedong”.

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).