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

Iswarchandra Vidyasagar was a 'frustrated' reformer who turned into a conservative

By Bhaskar Sur "If someone says the Manusamhita was written by all wise Manu and the principal scripture of the land and if he asks me to throw it away, I'll say it is nothing short of atrocious audacity." -- Iswarchandra Vidyasagar

Why do I lend my support to voices protesting world class renovation of Gandhi Ashram?

By Martin Macwan* One would not expect an activist working on Dalit rights to join such a protest. Dalits carry unhealed trauma that Gandhi caused to Dr BR Ambedkar and the Dalit cause of effective political representation by using violent means of his own definition in the event of the Poona Pact. This apart, Gandhi’s ideas in general, which changed often, on caste were orthodox. I have nothing to add to the subject after the sharpest critique offered by Dr Ambedkar.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

2002 riots: Gujarat assembly 'misinformed' about dereliction of duty, says ex-DGP

By Rajiv Shah  Former Gujarat topcop RB Sreekumar, an IPS officer of the 1971 batch, has alleged that the Gujarat government gave “totally false information” on the floor of the State Assembly regarding the appeal he made to the Gujarat governor for the “initiation of departmental action against those responsible for culpable negligence in maintenance of public order and investigation of genocidal crimes” during the 2002 riots.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Odisha bauxite mining project to 'devastate' life of 2,500 Adivasi, Dalit farmers: NAPM

Counterview Desk  While the public hearing on mining in Mali hills has been cancelled due to protests by Adivasi and Dalit farmers of the Mali Parbat Surakhya Samiti, Odisha, who have been protesting against the proposed bauxite mining project, India’s top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said it is “deeply concerned” at the decision of the Government of Odisha to push the project in a Schedule-V Adivasi-belt Koraput district against the interests of the people and environment.

Economy in tatters, labour codes 'take away' workers' safety, benefits, right to form TU

By Our Representative  The four new labour codes promulgated by the Government of India came in for sharp criticism from several labour unions and civil rights groups at one-day discussion meeting organised in Ranchi (Jharkhand) on the issue of ‘changes in labour laws. Participants in the meeting asserted that under these new codes, many of the benefits and safeties accorded to labourers have been "taken away", while the right of labourers to create trade unions has been attacked.

'Devastating impact': Rural workers suffer as Govt of India NREGA budget down by 34%

Counterview Desk  A civil rights group, the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha has sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj stating that 34 per cent decrease in the fiscal budget of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) for year 2021-22 has added to woes on India’s rural population, already suffering from “devastating impact” of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Celebrating birthday amidst image of 'coerced, submissive' India ruled by a strong leader

Pushkar Raj*  As the weeks long birthday festivity of the leadership was being rejoiced India wide, the Covid was still raging in several parts of India. The carnival was in line with the post-Covid decisions and actions of the leadership demonstrating a pursuit of personal power and glory instead of national interest in times of disease and death.

Politically-motivated: Global NGO network on ED 'harassment' of Harsh Mander

Counterview Desk  CIVICUS , a top global alliance of civil society organisations seeking to strengthen citizen action and civil society around the world with a claimed membership of more than 10,000, objecting to the alleged harassment of IAS bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander by the Government in India, has said that the the the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raid on his house and office highlights “an ongoing pattern of baseless and politically-motivated criminal charges brought by the authorities against activists across India”.