Skip to main content

Another attempt to "suppress" non-political dissent in Gujarat: Lakhan Musafir put on house arrest off Narmada

At Indravarna village, off Narmada river, a "prototype"
to acquire tribal farmers' land
By Our Representative
In a fresh attempt to "suppress" dissent, the Gujarat government has put under house arrest well-known South Gujarat activist Lakhan Musafir, who is leading adivasis' struggle for preserving their land, sought to be acquired for the Statue of Liberty project off Narmada dam. This is the second time has been put under house arrest ahead of Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel's visit to Narmada in less than two months' time.
Work for the statue, which is proposed to be of 182 metres, highest in the world, has begun on Sadhu Bet, an island situated 3.2 kilometres from the Narmada dam. The project includes developing the whole area, which includes land belonging to tens of villages, as a tourism spot along the river Narmada, and is slated to cost at least Rs 3,000 crore.
The house arrest of Musafir has happened in about a week after the district court in Vyara sharply criticized the state government for "illegally" arresting of young tribal farmer activist of South Gujarat, Romel Sutariya, on the apprehensions of creating law and order problem ahead of Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel for Gujarat Day celebrations on May 1.
Similar arrests and detentions have been happening all over Gujarat recently. In February this year, another tribal farmer activist Jayram Gamit was arrested and kept behind bars for several weeks under the Prevention of Anti-Social Act (PASA) for proposing to organize a tribal farmers' rally in protest against sand mafia seeking to destroy the alluvial destroy. The rally was banned, declaring there was a "terrorist plot".
In January 2015, veteran Gandhian Indukumar Jani, one of the senior-most economists, Prof Rohit Shukla, and Gautam Thaker, general secretary, People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), were detained for the whole day in Ahmedabad.They were going about 20 km away to participate in a farmers' rally, called to protest against the Vibrant Gujarat business summit (January 11-12).
In a strongly-worded protest letter to the state authorities against such arrests, as also the latest move to put Musafir under house arrest, Gujarat Khedut Samaj leader Sagar Rabari, Gujarat Social Watch's Mahesh Pandya, and PUCL's Gautam Thaker have said this is part of the harassment meted out to Gujarat activists "by the police on a regular basis".
Pointing out that "whenever the Chief Minister plans to visit the area, they are detained or kept under house arrest", the letter said, earlier, on April 25, 2015 the police had "resorted to detentions, house arrest-like conditions or preventive arrests of non-political grassroots activists and workers in the area in view of the CM’s programme and visit to the area."
The letter said, "It was the fifth or sixth such detention of activists. No reasons were given for the ‘arrests’. Yet again, today, June 11, 2015, the police has done the same thing with the same people. In view of the CM’s programme in the area, the police have put Musafir, the leader of the successful movement of the people of the area, under house arrest."
"If the police is taking them into custody to safeguard them from any threats, then the police should let them know who is a threat to their life and security. No explanations or clarifications are ever given", the letter insisted, adding, "This modus operandi to thwart dissent is not acceptable to us. In a democracy, every citizen has a right to express his/her dissent."
"How can the administration snatch away this right from the people?", the letter asks, adding, "We do not know under whose instructions they are doing so." It asks the district collector to take "prompt action" against those responsible for this violation of democratic rights.

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

India, Pakistan told to eliminate nuclear weapons: N-war "would kill" 2 billion

Counterview Desk
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical organizations in 64 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens, claiming to share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation, has warned that “an unprecedented global catastrophe” awaits the globe against the backdrop of warmongering in India and Pakistan.

Modi wants Pak govt be held responsible for JeM terror strike: World doesn't agree

By Sandeep Pandey*
I went to participate in a candle light homage paying event at Dr BR Ambedkar's statue organised by about 200 Dalit students on Hazratganj main crossing in Lucknow on February 16, 2019 evening, two days after the dastardly terrorist act in Pulwana, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), in which 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel was killed.

Women, business, law: India scores worst among all BRICS, several African nations

By Rajiv Shah
A new World Bank report ranks India 125th in its Women, Business and the Law (WBL) index among 187 economies it seeks to analyse across the globe. The report's main aim claims to be to "gain new insight into how women’s employment and entrepreneurship choices are affected by legal gender discrimination. On a scale of 100, India's score is 71.25, worse than the global average of 74.71.