Skip to main content

Young Ambedkarite leader attacked in South Gujarat govt office: Documents on "illegal" mining snatched

By Our Representative
In a gruesome incident, young Ambedkarite social activist, working among South Gujarat tribal farmers, Romel Sutariya, was attacked by unidentified persons in the Tapi district collector’s premises on Feruary 2, injuring him. He had to hospitalized, and his leg was plastered as it suffered a fracture.
The attack took place, Sutariya, 25, said in an email to www.counterview.net, as he was going for a hearing in the district collector’s office regarding illegal sand mining, rampant in the district. “The papers in my possession regarding illegal mining, which we had obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, and on the basis of which were considering to talk to officials, were snatched”, he said.
Leading Adivasi Kisan Sangharsh Morcha (AKSM), Sutariya said, this was not “an isolated incident.” Earlier, he and other AKSM activists, who campaigned against the sand mafia, were attacked in separate incidents in Tapi and Chhotaudepur districts. Things went so far as to declare Sutariya a “Naxalite”.
Exactly a year ago, the Gujarat government has imposed curfew under Section 144, prohibiting assembly of more than ten people in Chhotaudepur district for a fortnight. An order, dated January 31, 2015, said that it has been “imposed in order to prevent terrorist activities in Chhotaudepur town and all the talukas of the district”.
Around the same time, Jayram Gamit, an AKSM activist, was mysteriously picked up by cops from Tapi district under the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act (PASA Act) ahead of a major protest the organization were to lead against sand mafia. Sent as far away as Rajkot, he was released two months later.
In yet another incident, seven Adivasis, including three women, of Manekpur village of Bardoli taluka, were brutally attacked in April 2015. All of them were members of the AKSM. Following the attack, the Adivasis had to admitted in hospital. It took place ahead of Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel’s visit to Vyara, Tapi district headquarters, for Gujarat foundation day function on May 1.
The latest attack follows information gathered by Romel Sutariya under RTI about illegal activities sand mining and stone crushing on common village and government land in talukas of Tapi district -- Valod, Vyara and Songadh. Of the total of 62 leases, in as many as 15 cases, “illegal” activities were allowed.
Sutariya termed this as a violation of the Supreme Court direction of 2011, which asks all state governments to “restore” common grazing and government lands -- handed over in the past for activities other than what it they are meant -- to the villages to which they actually belonged.
Strongly taking objection such activities, Sutariya wrote a letter to Gujarat chief secretary GR Aloria, which said that, while AKSM has for long been fighting against the adverse environmental impact on vegetation because of such activities, the latest revelation through an RTI plea clearly suggests a lot of such "illegal" activity has been going on, on government and common village land.
The letter sought the chief secretary’s “immediate intervention” for stopping these illegal activities on not just on government or grazing land, but also on private land, as it is causing “immense harm to the health and agriculture of the tribal farmers.”

Comments

TRENDING

'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

Misleading ads 'manipulate, seduce, lure' to market unhealthy harmful food

By Our Representative  The Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI) in its new report “50 Shades of Food Advertising” has sought to expose how seductive, luring, manipulative or deceptive these advertisements can be. Consequences of such advertising are increased intake of unhealthy food products that is associated with obesity and diabetes, it says. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

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.

'Failure of governance': India, China account for 54% pollution-related deaths globally

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram*   A recent report jointly prepared by UNICEF and the independent research organization Health Effects Institute has been released, and the statistics within it are alarming. It states that in 2021, air pollution caused the deaths of 2.1 million Indians, including 169,000 children who hadn't yet fully experienced life. These figures are indeed distressing and raise questions about why there hasn't been more serious effort in this direction, putting policymakers to shame. 

How US is using Tibetans to provoke conflict with China 'ignoring' India

By Lobsang Tenzin*  On July 12, US President Joe Biden signed the Resolve Tibet Act, and Tibetans cheered for it, believing that the law promotes a resolution of the dispute between Tibet and China. Is this true? First, let's look at the issue of the ownership of Tibet. 

August 9 to be observed as Corporates Quit India day: Top farmers' group

By Our Representative A recent general body meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), the top farmers' organisation, stated hat "there is no need for any illusion of change in the pro-corporate policies of the BJP-NDA government" following the recent elections in which BJP failed to achieve even simple majority. It insisted,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi "is hell bent" to continue 'business as usual' policies.

Over 3.8 billion animals at risk: India on crossroad in animal welfare practices

By Rupali Soni*  In a collaborative effort, the India Animal Fund and Dasra have unveiled their report , "Our Shared Future | Securing Animal Welfare, Human Wellbeing, and Sustainability in India." This landscape report provides a thorough overview of animal welfare and underscores its indispensable role within India's socio-economic and ecological frameworks. It also illustrates how animal welfare is intricately intertwined with public health, labor welfare, and climate resilience.

Tribals from 60 villages observe seed festival to 'protect' diversity of indigenous seeds

By Bharat Dogra*  Nearly sixty villagers are sitting on an open floor covered by a roof for shade but otherwise open on all sides. Women and men are present in equal numbers but the visibility of women is higher because of their colorful dresses.