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Gujarat human rights, tribal activists detained ahead of Modi reaching Statue of Unity

Detained activists
By Our Representative
Several Gujarat human rights and tribal activists have been detained in Gujarat ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaching the Kevadia Colony on Thursday, October 31, to celebrate one year of the Statue of Unity off Sardar Sarovar dam. The state officialdom acted similarly a year ago, too, when Modi reached the Kevadia Colony to inaugurated the 182-metres statue, tallest in the world. October 31 is Sardar Patel's birthday.
According to information from non-government sources, among about one hundred, mostly tribals, women and men, who have been detained include activists Rohit Prajapati from Vadodara and Krishankant from Surat, and tribal leaders Dr Praful Vasava from Rajpipla, Shailesh Tadvi from Vagadiya village, Gikubhai Tadvi from Shira village, Nareshbhai Tadvi and Narendrabhai Tadvi from Kevadia village, and Ramkrishna Tadvi from Gora village.
Detained tribals
The activists have been detained, the sources claim, on the suspicion that they would be organizing a bandh to protest against the state government seeking to implement a tourism project at the Statue of Unity by allegedly forcibly acquiring 1,100 acres of tribal land and plans to acquire another 800 acres.
According to these sources, the land acquisition is not just affecting six villages, Navagam, Limdi, Gora, Vagadia, Kevadia and Mithi, but is likely to affect 13 other villages in the immediate future. In 1960s the land of the six villages was acquired for the Sardar Sarovar dam, and while the dam was subsequently shifted upstream, instead of returning the land to the tribals, the government refused to oblige.
Silent protest by tribals
It has now decided to put up hotels and amusement parks to promote tourism on this land.
People fear summary eviction across the largely tribal region, the sources say, apprehending, ultimately 72 villages off the Sardar Sarovar dam will be affected, even though these villages are said to be covered under the fifth schedule, and therefore subject to the Panchyats Extension to Scheduled Area Act, which makes it mandatory for the government seek gram sabha consent for implementing any development projects.
Update: Activists as well as tribals were kept in detention from October 30 to November 1.

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