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

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

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. 

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).