A day after the government assurance that demands made by tribals living in villages near the proposed Statue of Unity will be met, the protesters said that the “verbal” assurance given by Tribal Welfare Minister Ganpat Vasava was not enough to persuade them away from the issue.
The protesting villagers have said that they’ll hold mass fasting on October 31 against the lack of clarity on government’s stand on acquiring land for tourism purpose, which they said was not resolved just by nullifying the Kevadia Area Development Authority (KADA).
“People of affected villages will hold a hunger strike in a large number on October 31. Affected villages will also hoist ‘Jagruti’ flags in their villages and will beat ‘Jagruti Thali’ in the afternoon to prove that we are still awake on the issues on which they are fighting,” a press release stated.
Social activist and Narmada dam rehabilitation champion Medha Patkar also visited Savli village in Narmada’s Tilakwada taluka on Tuesday to attend the meeting of tribals from Narmada, who were displaced due to the dam. She lashed out at the Modi government for the Statue of Unity, saying that the government should first complete work on the Narmada canal network.
“Sardar Patel was the iron man, but his heart was not that of iron. Talks of collection of iron from farmers remind of talks of bringing bricks for construction of temple in Ayodhya,” she said, while addressing a gathering of more than 1,000 tribals. She said that the government’s silence over persons getting displaced due to Garudeshwar Weir was against the “constitutional and humanitarian rights” of tribals living in the region.
The government had on Monday conveyed that most of the demands of the protesting tribals, including that of repelling of KADA and formation of Garudeshwar taluka, as well as “special package” to persons displaced from six villages due to Narmada dam some 52 years ago, will be met.