Skip to main content

Controverial Gujarat arrest of tribal leader under PASA: Civil society bodies asked to flood protest letters

By Our Representative
The Adivasi Kisan Sangharsh Morcha (AKSM), a fast-growing people’s organization of South Gujarat, has asked all civil society bodies across Gujarat and India to flood letters to the Gujarat government to “remove” the charges under the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities (PASA) Act, which led to the controversial arrest senior tribal farmer leader Jayram Gamit in January-end. Gamit was taken to Rajkot, about 400 km away, soon after the arrest. The AKSM’s appeal comes close on the heels of a belated statement by dozen-odd senior Gujarat activists led by Indukumar Jani, a Gandhian, “condemning” the arrest and calling it “unconstitutional”.
A senior activist who participated in a civil society meeting two days back at Ahmedabad’s Khet Bhawan, where the civil society's belated statement was prepared, told Counterview that several NGOs, including some that vow by human rights, were “openly reluctant” to stand by Gamit and AKSM, saying they take "radical stances". “People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) office bearers were present at the meeting, where the statement was prepared. It is difficult to understand why the PUCL hasn’t taken up Gamit’s cause”, the participant wondered.
Gujarat PUCL general secretary Gautam Thaker, responding to a Counterview query, said, "We have not responded to the arrest of Gamit because we came to know about it only on February 10. Nobody informed us about it earlier." Asked whether the PUCL was considering to approach the Gujarat High Court, whose especially appointed committee alone is empowered to decide on PASA cases, he said, "I am in the midst of collecting facts and see what can be done." Gujarat PUCL president Prakash N Shah, when asked about Gamit's arrest, he said, "I've no knowledge about it, what happened?"
Pointing towards the "urgent need to unite" against such the strong-arm tactics of the state government by imposing such “draconian Acts like PASA on activists, the top activist, requesting anonymity, insisted, “The impression one got at the meeting was that several us do not want Dalit or Adivasi leadership to emerge and take up human rights issues. We fear loss of hegemony.” While Gamit is a tribal, AKSM chief Romel Sutariya, who is 24, is a Dalit, and calls himself a “radical follower of Dr BR Ambedkar".
Notably, following Gamit’s arrest in January-end, the Gujarat government came up with a stange  order dubbing entire Chhotaudepur district as “terrorist prone” in order to impose curfew in all its blocks till February 14. The arrest of Gamit and subsequent declaration of Chhotaudepur as “terrorist prone” following the AKSM’s decision that, starting on February 2, it would begin indefinite sit-in in front of the Chhotaudepur district collector’s office to protest against “illegal sand mining”, destroying adivasi farmers’ crops and alluvial soil.
“Despite repeated representations, the Gujarat government did next to nothing to stop sand mining. There is a clear nexus between the establishment and the mining mafia. This forced us to decide to begin the sit-in, which was going to totally peaceful and non-violent”, said Sutariya, adding, “Yet, we began being seen suspiciously, as if we were terrorists. Top cops in personal talks even asked me where did I have Naxalite training. This is ridiculous.”
Referring to Gamit’s arrest under PASA, and his detention in a jail in Rajkot since February 1, Sutariya said, the tribal leader's name “does not appear as on involved in illegal activities in any of the earlier police complaints. The decision to impose PASA on Gamit, calling him a mastermind in provoking an attack on foresters was an afterthought.” He added, “The sessions court found nothing against Gamit in the provocation against the foresters, and hence granted him anticipatory bail. This made the officials to impose PASA.”

Comments

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.