Skip to main content

Xi Jinping's Ahmedabad visit: Slum areas, including historic Dandi bridge, on way to Sabarmati Ashram covered up

By Our Representative
In an unusual development, the Gujarat government on September 17 morning quickly moved to cover up with long green curtains the entire slum area on the two sides of the road leading to the Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad. Keen passersby noted that even the Dandi bridge, from where Mahatma Gandhi began his famous march towards Dandi for his historic 390-kilometres-long Salt Satyagraha in March-April 1930, was covered up with the curtains, as the slums are situated just next to the Dandi bridge. Only recently, the Dandi bridge was “repaired” and provided a “new look”.
While officials are keeping their mouth shut about the development, the reason, say observers, is simple: Visiting Chinese President Xi Jiping, on his way to the Sabarmati Ashram at 5.00 pm, should not see the "dirty side" of Ahmedabad. “All this is happening at a time when a two kilometre stretch of Sabarmati river riverfront was given a new makeup ahead of Xi's visit, as he must have dinner with Narendra Modi in the garden of the riverfront. The coverup began on September 17 morning, probably as an afterthought”, Umakant Mankad, who shot the snaps of the coverup and sent them to Counterview, said.
This is not for the first time that a coverup of this type has happened. Those who attended the Vibrant Gujarat summits in January 2011 and January 2013 recall, a similar coverup took place on the road leading to the venue of the world business meet, Mahatma Mandir. There, the slum areas on the left hand side of the road were covered with long, white curtains. "Covering up poverty and destitution is a favourite pastime of the establishment", said an observer, adding, "This runs parallel to the effort to cover up bitter realities of life, including the 2002 riots."
Meanwhile, social media is abuzz with comments that such dignitaries should visit Ahmedabad more often, in fact “every week”, to quote a scribe of an Ahmedabad daily, so that at least some portions of the city, where they are supposed to travel, are kept neat and clean. Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Guruprasad Mahapatra posted photographs to showcase beautiful does Sabarmati riverfront, sold as the Gujarat model across India, has been lighted up.
When someone on the social media commented that Mahapatra needs to go not very far, just about 50 kilometres south of Sabarmati, to see how Sabarmati turns into a stinking channel, full of industrial effluents, the top IAS bureaucrat agreed that there was the “other side” of the story as well, but one shouldn’t sound “negative but optimistic.”
Meanwhile, senior human rights activist from Ahmedabad, Father Cedric Prakash, in a blog commentary said, Ahmedabad looked like a “police state” ahead of Xi’s visit. “Thousands of police everywhere! Some just sitting idle-huddled up in groups, not knowing what to do”, he said, adding, one of them told him they “really did not know” what they were supposed to do, while others “threw their weight around, questioning innocent passers-by and harassing residents who live in the societies around.”
“The poor are roped in to sweep the dirt (under the carpets) and to whitewash as much as possible and as fast as possible”, the blog said, adding, “The slumdwellers live without access to the basic amenities of life, they are being covered with huge banners. After all, no one should know or see the truth of Gujarat -- just as they do so in China”. Prakash added, “There is however a great commonality or exceptional synergy” between the two – the is Tiananmen massacre in Beijing in 1989 and the Gujarat riots of 2002. “We surely do understand the bonding!”

Comments

Anonymous said…
This is what Mr Modi s style hide the povet,ry to show prosperity there were never real development in Gujrat BUT FR FEW the same JHOOT he has sold all over the country

TRENDING

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. 

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

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.

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

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).

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. 

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.