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Around 90 activists arrested ahead of Modi's Statue of Unity inauguration

Some of the prominent activists who have been detained
By Our Representative
In a swoop ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicating the Statue of Unity to the nation, more than 90 activists from around Gujarat have been detained by the Narmada district police in Rajpipla and other places. The move comes amidst a civil society declaration that, as a mark of protest, people of 72 Narmada-dam affected villages have decided not to cook food on October 31.
Among those who who are reported to have been detained include Gandhian activist Nita Mahadev, social activist Mudita Vidrohi, top environmentalist Rohit Prajapati, anti-Narmada dam campaigner in Narmada Valley Lakhan Musafir, apart from several tribal activists such as Amarsinh Chaudhary, Bhupendra Chaudhary and Virji Varadia. Narmada is a predominantly tribal district. No reason for detention has been given.
According to reports from local sources, a whole government -- the executive, administration, regular police, Reserve Police Force, Home Guards-- from across the state has descended on Kevadia for Modi's celebration of the Iron Man's statue.
In a statement protesting against the government move, several activists have said, "Sardar Patel, who fought for the farmers, the poor, and the nation as a whole, would have been deeply pained at the kind of wanton destruction of natural, human and financial resources seen there. Tens of thousands of trees have been chopped off for road widening, houses pulled down, people summarily thrown out."
The statement recalls, those are angry with the way Statue of Unity area is being turned into a tourism spot include the residents of first six villages, whose land was acquired for colony of the staff needed to build the Sardar Sarovar dam. These villages were never recognized as project-affected. "They are fighting back", it adds.
Then, it underlines, there are 19 villages, who have been recognized as project-affected, but are fighting because promises made to them again and again were not kept.Also fighting back are seven villages "that would be affected by the Garudeshwar weir" being built in the downstream.
The statement, signed by Anand Mazgaonkar, Swati Desai, Michael, Ghanshyam Patel, Shaukat Indori, Deepali Ghelani, Kamal Thakar, Daniel M, all senior activists from Gujarat, says, if one further looks into growing disenchantment in the area, there are "28 villages on the right bank of Main Canal, under whose noses the water flows, are not allowed a drop of water for their parched farms."

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