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Statue of Unity "undermines" Adivasis' faith in Varata Baba on Sadhu Bet: NBA

By Our Representative
The anti-dam movement, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "undermining" the Adivasis' faith by seeking to dedicate on October 31 the 182-metre high Statue of Unity in the name of Sardar Patel to the nation on Sadhu Bet, which is known among them as Varata Baba Hill. According to NBA, the Adivasis' faith in the shrine has been "suppressed" by allowing 1,500 Chinese workers to build the Sardar Statue instead of employing local Adivasis.
In a statement, NBA said, the Narmada project has adversely affected at least 72 tribal villages, and while taking over their land for the project, they were never been told that a tourism plan would now take over their land. The land grab has begun."
Modi is seeking to celebrate the construction of the statue at a time when the Narmada river has gone dry, with saline sea water intruding in the riverbed, destroying farmland on both the sides. While farmers and fishermen are made to suffer, Narmada water is being diverted to the industry, NBA added.
"Thousands of families of these villages will celebrate the anti-tribal day on October 31, they will protest by keeping their hearth closed, even as pointing out Sardar Patel was the symbol of secularism, of peasant movement, and injustice against tribals, but here his name is being used for something totally opposed to all this", NBA said.

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