Skip to main content

Tribal farmer "attacked" in South Gujarat following protest against cops, forest officials on afforestation spree

By Our Representative
Even as the arrest of Jayram Gamit, a tribal farmer leader from South Gujarat, under certain controversial provisions of the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities (PASA) Act, remains a major cause of concern for human rights activist, reports from the region suggest fresh incidence of violence following an alleged effort by the forest department officials to forcibly carry out tree plantation activity on the land allocated to a tribal farmer under the Forest Rights Act. A tribal farmer activist was badly beaten up and taken to a big local hospital for treatment.
The incidence, said president of the Adivasi Kisam Sangharsh Morcha (AKSM) Romel Sutariya, took place because local people resisted forest department and police officials entering a plot of land, Survey No 164, falling under Ambala village in Chhotaudepur district. “The pretext was to carry out afforestation on a piece of land which a tribal farmer has been using for agricultural purpose”, the AKSM said.
According to AKSM, following this, “women of the villages, accompanied by one of our workers, Shankar Rathwa, approached the senior forest officials to stop the activity.” When they were still talking, “a police sub-inspector of the Rangpur Police Station intervened and beat up Rathwa with wooden sticks”, the AKSM said.
The AKSM further said, “Rathwa was so badly beaten up that the emergency health van, 108, had to be called in, and he had to be shifted to the Chhotaudepur town’s civil hospital for treatment. We have already complained about this to the superintendent of police (SP) of Chhotaudepur, director-general of police (DGP), Gujarat, and demanded the suspension of the police sub-inspector.”
Following the incident, several women adivasi activists were detained by the police, said AKSM. "They were going to the district collector's office to represent their case when this happened. Instead of allowing them to meet the district collector, the women were detained. No reason was given. It is difficult to say as to they were how many women..."
Suggesting that this is not an isolated incident, senior Ahmedabad-based Jan Sangharsh Morcha activist Jignesh Mevani, who has been closely working with AKSM, said, “We are compiling such cases in order to highlight how such violent incidents have more common across the tribal belt. Protests are not allowed, people are being arrested without citing any reason, and there is no rule of law.”
A fast growing organization representing tribal farmers of South Gujarat, the AKSM acquired limelight following the Gujarat government decision to bar it from holding a rally in Chhotaudepur on February 2. The order barring the rally said the entire Chhotaudepur district imposed curfew on the entire Chhotaudepur district till February 14 because of “suspected terrorist activities”.
As part of “precautionary” step, the state government arrested one of AKSM’s senior leaders, Jayram Gamit, under PASA, taking him to Rajkot, about 400 km away. A person arrested under PASA has to obligatorily remain in jail for nearly three months till a High Court appointed committee reviews PASA cases. The Gujarat High Court in 2011 had said that PASA was being indiscriminately misused to arrest persons in order to settle scores.

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.