Skip to main content

Warning "terrorist activities", Gujarat government imposes curfew on tribal district ahead of protest movement

Romel Sutariya leading a rally in Chhotaudepur
By Our Representative
In a curious move, the Gujarat government has imposed curfew under Section 144, prohibiting assembly of more than ten people in the predominantly tribal district of Chhotaudepur, till February 14. The order, dated January 31, 2015, says that it has been “imposed in order to prevent terrorist activities in Chhotaudepur town and all the talukas of the district”. The order adds that it has been necessitated to “ensure law and order, peace and security”, and “no procession or gathering” could be held during the period.
Reacting sharply, the tribal organization, Adivasi Kisan Sangharsh Morcha (AKSM) chief Romel Sutariya, who was scheduled to begin an indefinite fast in front of the district collector’s office in Chhotaudepur against the “failure” of the administration to stop the sand mining entrepreneurs from "grabbing" tribal land, said, “By this order, the Gujarat government appears to think that the tribals, who have been peacefully protesting for their rights, are terrorists.” He added, “This is nothing but a conspiracy against the tribals’ efforts to claim their right over land, jungle and water.”
In a statement, AKSM wonders, “Is this the face of the Gujarat model? It seems that the government is terribly afraid of our continuing protest movement in the district. Already, one of our senior leaders, Jayram Gamit, a tribal, was arrested on Saturday late evening under the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act (PASA Act), and taken to Rajkot. And, now prohibitory orders to prevent the district from terrorist activities have been imposed. Are these the good days (acche din), which the Modi administration had promised?”
State order on curfew referring to "terrorist threat"
The statement said, “We had decided, starting on February 2, to demonstrate for the tribals’ sovereign rights over the natural resources and privatization of their land. One of the programmes was to stage a sit-in demonstration in front of the district administration office in Chhotaudepur. This was going to be in culmination of the protests we had launched demanding better infrastructure in the district, including road, school, power, hospital, women’s security, and complete stoppage of illegal sand mining.”
The statement added, “One of our demands of our demonstration has been to withdraw the recent land acquisition ordinance, which was promulgated by the Modi government without any discussion in the Lok Sabha. It has opened up land resources for private interests in large parts of India. The ordinary replaces the land acquisition Act, which made social impact assessment and consent of the local people a must for any move to acquire land by the government for private and public-private projects.”
The statement does not say whether the planned protest move in front of the Chhotaudepur district administration would continue despite prohibitive orders. It merely terms the order as “draconian” and “dictatorial”, but gives no indication on how the ADSM is going to fight against it. “There is no statement from the Opposition Congress over the move declare the district as terrorist prone, nor have any voluntary organizations come forward to declare it as such”, a keen Gujarat observer said.

Comments

TRENDING

Arrest of Fr Stan Swamy: UN makes public letter seeking explanation from Govt of India

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Government of India (GoI), three senior United Nations (UN) officials – Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues – have said that the arrest of veteran activist Father Stan Swamy in October 2020 marks “the escalation of harassment the human rights defender has been subjected to since 2018.”

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.

Farm laws 'precursor' to free trade deal envisaged by US corporates to allow GMO

By Rajiv Shah Did the Government of India come up with the three farm laws, first rushed by promulgating ordinances in June 2020, to not just open the country’s agricultural sector to the corporate sector but also as a precursor to comply with the requirements of the United States for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as envisaged by the outgoing US president Donald Trump?

Modi govt 'implementing' IMF-envisaged corporate takeover of Indian agriculture

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* The surge of wealth of Indian billionaires and the Modi-led BJP government’s onslaught on poor, marginalised and farmers continue to grow simultaneously as masses face annihilating pandemic of coronavirus. There is 90 % rise of Indian billionaire’s wealth over last one decade. It is not accidental.

Differing from Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah holds a 'different' theory of caste system

By Banavath Aravind* I was introduced to Kancha Ilaiah’s work when I was about 20 years old. He was then in the midst of a controversy for a chapter in his book "Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution", which termed the Baniya community as social smugglers. During many of his debates, I had come to notice his undeterred fighting spirit in trying to bring up certain fundamental social issues that were hitherto undiscussed. I eventually came across some of his works and started reading them silently. I’m deliberately stressing upon the word ‘silently’ here, as this was the kind of silence particularly associated with sensitive social issues like caste, religion, etc. But, as I write this essay, I feel silences on sensitive issues should be broken. Ilaiah opened up an entirely new debate that had the vigour and strength to counter the systemic Brahmanism. His methods of research were also novel in terms of going back to the roo

New trend? Riots 'expanded' to new rural areas post-2002 Gujarat carnage: Report

A VHP poster declaring a Gujarat village part of Hindu Rashtra  By Rajiv Shah  Buniyaad, a Gujarat-based civil society organization, engaged in monitoring of communal violence in the state, in a new report, “Peaceful Gujarat: An Illusion or Truth?” has said that a “new trend” has come about in communal violence in the state, where the parts of Gujarat which didn't see communal riots in 2002 are experiencing “regular bouts” of communal violence.

Fr Stan's arrest figures in UK Parliament: Govt says, Indian authorities were 'alerted'

London protest for release of Stan Swamy  By Rajiv Shah Will Father Stan Swamy’s arrest, especially the fact that he is a Christian and a priest, turn out to be major international embarrassment for the Government of India? It may well happen, if a recent debate on a resolution titled “India: Persecution of Minority Groups” in the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament is any indication. While Jesuits have protested Fr Stan's arrest in UK and US, the resolution, adopted in the Parliament, said, “This House has considered the matter of persecution of Muslims, Christians and minority groups in India”.

A new fad in India, coding-for-toddlers culture needs to be 'nipped' in the bud

By Aditya Pandey* We are all aware of the dire consequences of subjecting young kids to intense academic pressure from an early age. In India, we have coaching institutes like FIITJEE and Resonance offering programmes for 6th standard kids to prepare them for “NTSE, IJSO, PRMO and other Olympiads”. The duration of these programmes is around 175 hours – hours that could've been spent playing games and making friends instead.

More than 5,200 Gujarat schools to be closed down, merged, says govt document

RTE Forum, Gujarat, releasing fact-sheet on education By Our Representative A Gujarat government document has revealed that it is planning to close down 5,223 schools in the name of school merger. The document, dated July 20, 201 was released by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Gujarat. It shows that the worst-affected districts because of this merger are those which are populated by marginalized communities – especially tribals, Dalits and minorities, said RTE Forum’s Gujarat convener Mujahid Nafees.

Consumption pattern, not economic shock behind 'poor' child health indicators

By Neeraj Kumar, Arup Mitra* The findings of the latest round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) conducted in 2019-20 covering 22 States/UTs under Phase-I  present a somewhat disappointing picture of children’s health in India. Majority of the experts, based on prima facie evidence, just highlighted the deteriorating sign of child health in terms of increase in proportion of stunted and underweight children in most of the phase-I states/UTs over last two rounds of NFHS (2015-16 to 2019-20).