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Tribal farmers' arrest ahead of Statue of Unity function "biased, repressive": mm&P

By Our Representative
In a representation to the Gujarat governor, the top advocacy group, mines, minerals and People (mm&P) has said, it strongly condemns the recent arrest of tribal activists Amarsinh Choudhari, Ashok Choudhari, Bupendra Choudhari, Lalsinh Gamit and others. The arrests took place ahead of the inauguration of Statue of Unity in Gujarat by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Calling the Statue of Unity "a threat to the tribals and farmers whose only source of livelihood is farming”, the representation, signed by Rebbapragada Ravi, chairperson, mm&P, and Ashok Shrimali, secretary general, mm&P, said, “The statue will open tourism leading to forceful land acquisition. The protest by the tribals and farmers came after repeated plea to the government asking for intervention. The tribals are lacking access to basic facilities like schools, public health, safe drinking water etc. and government has spent Rs 3,000 crore for the construction of the statue.”
Terming the arrests “politically motivated and aimed at silencing the tribals and farmers of Gujarat who are struggling to meet their daily needs”, the representation urged the governor “to reconsider its action in pursuing what is being perceived in the country as biased and repressive governance." It added, charges against the tribal farmers should be withdrawn “immediately and unconditionally” and there should be “respect fundamental rights of Indian citizens, particularly freedom of speech and expression.”

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