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

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

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".

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

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.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Gujarat religious freedom amendment bill 'pursues' votebank politics, is anti-minority

Gujarat home minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja  By Our Representative  A Gujarat-based minority rights organisation, taking strong exception to the state assembly last week passing the Gujarat Religious Freedom (Amendment) Bill, 2021, has asserted that the proposed law “is completely unconstitutional”, even as asking the Gujarat governor to give his accent to it.