Skip to main content

Government now considering to use force, allegedly to cow down tribal protests against weir across Narmada

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government, sensing a sharp rise in tribal opposition to the Garudeshwar weir being built across the Narmada river to create a new reservoir 12 kilometres downstream of the Narmada dam, appears all set to clamp down on the protesters. As an early indication, the state administration tried to deploy state reserve police (SRP) jawans, who were brought to village Indravarna, which has become epicentre of protests against the weir. The cops had complete with tents, rifles and other equipment. Brought in contractors’ trucks, the villagers, especially women, protested, forcing the jawans to leave.
In a statement issued on the incident, the Sitten Gam Adivasi Sangathan (SGAS), representing the 70 tribal villages likely to be affected because of the tourism project being implemented next to the Narmada dam, said, “The women of Indravarna and Pipaliya villages, who worked as daily wagers under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) sites, left their work and rushed to the spot where the jawans were seeking put up a camp. But facing strong protests, the jawans failed to dislodge their luggage, and were forced to return.”
The SGAS suspects this was the “initial attempt” on the part of the establishment to cow down the protesting villagers, and more may come. “Having failed to stall the protests, the government appears to believe that it can force the vSillagers to withdraw. And for this it can use police force. If it thinks we will withdraw, it is sadly mistaken. We think that the weir is anti-constitutional. Part of the larger tourism project, it is being built without the consent of the tribals’ villages, as required by the law, Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) (PESA) Act, 1996. Several villages face submergence because of the weir, yet there was no consultation with any of them”, it said.
The statement said, “The villagers had represented against the weir during a meeting with ministers in Gandhinagar on October 15, 2013. Thereafter, they wrote to the district collector in Rajpipla and senior officials of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which is implementing the weir, first on December 10 and then on December 22. Yet, the government refused to reply to any of the important issues raised by the tribals. Finding the protest swelling, it appears now set to clamp down on us, even as refusing to give answer to any of the contentious issues raised by us.”
The statement reiterated its demands. It said, so far the SGAS has not received “any formal answer from the authorities” on why the weir was being built without the tribals’ consent. “There is no clarity on how much of the 1,000 acres land will remain submerged and for how long. Nor is it clear if the government will pay up as compensation for the loss of crop during submergence”, it said, adding, “There are around 16 villages which have been identified for land acquisition for tourism project. However, villages like Vasantpura, Nana Pipariya, Indravarna and Gabharna are likely to be affected by the weir, but the government has so far made no assessment of any of them.”

Comments

TRENDING

US research: 40% of India's casteist Facebook posts are anti-reservation, anti-Dalit

By Rajiv Shah
A recent American civil society research has found that 40% of India's casteist posts on Facebook (FB) have anti-reservation slant. Asserting that the reservation policy in India is similar to affirmative action in the United States, the research study, titled "Facebook India: Towards The Tipping Point of Violence Caste and Religious Hate Speech", says, this type of hate content on FB is mainly directed against Dalits and Adivasis.

Sanjiv Bhatt paying price for deposing on Modi role in Gujarat riots: Wife Shweta

Counterview Desk
Following the Jamnagar sessions court ordering life imprisonment to former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for his alleged involvement in three decades old custodial death case, his wife Shweta Bhatt has said that he has been sentenced for a “for a crime he did not commit”, even as criticizing the Indian Police Service (IPS) Association, Gujarat, for not standing up for him.

Senior advocates targeted because they took up cases against Amit Shah: Lawyers' NGO

Counterview Desk
The Lawyers Collective (LC), an NGO claiming to promote human rights issues, has expressed surprise at the latest move by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR against the Lawyers Collective (LC), its president Anand Grover and unknown office bearers for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

How Gujarat govt imposed curbs on livestock export for 'fear' of losing BJP vote share

By RK Misra*
Insidious are the ways authorities function, preaching one thing, practicing quite another. Administrative muscle-flexing to suit political goals was on display when the BJP-led Vijay Rupani government in Gujarat banned the export of livestock days ahead of Eid. Even the Narendra Modi-led government expressed its intent to confirm it countrywide, but stopped short of doing so.

One of the least peaceful countries, India's global peace ranking deteriorates: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report has asserted that India's ranking in the Global Peace Index (GPI) is 141st among 163 countries, deteriorating by four ranks in a year. Ranking 163 countries by providing a score to each, the report, prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), headquartered in Sydney, Australia, has found India to be one of the least peaceful nations in the region.

Demand for Bharat Ratna to Dalai Lama as top RSS leader warns China of 'strong' action

Nava Thakuria*
Dharamshala: Indian supporters for a free Tibet have urged the Government of India to confer Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, on the Tibetan spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, for his “immense contributions” in creating goodwill for India in the last six decades. A declaration, adopted at the 6th All-India Tibet Support Groups’ Conference held on June 15 and 16 in Dharamshala township of Himachal Pradesh, said that the Nobel laureate continues to be a holy ambassador of Indian culture enriched with non-violence, compassion and religious harmony.

Sabarmati 'cleaned up' swimming pool style: Untreated effluents discharged in river

Counterview Desk
In a fresh letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, senior Gujarat environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) have taken strong objection to the recent clean-up drive of the about 11.3 km stretch of Sabarmati riverbed undertaken by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), terming it as “swimming pool type clean-up.” The river’s total length is 371 km.

Jharkhand mob lynching: Adivasis protest police 'inaction', FIR against victims

Counterview Desk
The Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JJM), a civil rights network, on Monday sponsored a protest against the police action against the Adivasi victims of the lynching which took on April 10, 2019, in Jurmu village of Dumri block in Gumla district of Jharkhand. The incident led the death of Prakash Lakda, aged 50.

Gujarat govt 'considers' temples, charitable institutions as shops and establishment

By Pankti Jog*
The Gujarat state assembly recently passed a new law which would "govern" the working condition of shops and establishments. One of the most talked about provisions of the Act is, it allow shops and establishments across Gujarat to function 24 hours.

There is no 'separate' Kashmir story, as there is for Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet, Palestine

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of South Asia. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. The name Kashmir derives from the Sanskrit Kashyapmeru. The Greeks knew it as Kaspeiria. Herodotus called it Kaspatyros.