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

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

It's now official: Developed Gujarat's regular, casual workers earn less than 19 top states

By Rajiv Shah
Though not as low as state chief minister Vijay Rupani claims it to be (0.9%), Gujarat’s unemployment rate, at least as reflected in a recent report released by the Government of India, is 4.8%, lower than the national average, 6%. Yet, ironically, the same report, released soon after the Lok Sabha polls came to an end in May 2019, brings to light an even grimmer reality: Lower wages in "model" and "developed" Gujarat compared to virtually the whole of India, including the so-called Bimaru states.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Polygamy in India "down" in 45 yrs: Muslims' from 5.7 to 2.55%, Hindus' 5.8 to 1.77%, "common" in SCs, STs

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) justifying polygamy, saying it “meets social and moral needs and the provision for it stems from concern and sympathy for women”, facts suggest the the practice is down from 5.7 per cent of Muslim families in 1961 to 2.55 per cent in 2006.