Saturday, May 01, 2010

Arrests of tribal activists as Naxals in S Gujarat flayed

TNN, Apr 30, 2010, 10.19pm IST

SURAT: Tribal leaders and human rights activists have joined hands to launch a non-violent movement against the arrests of tribal activists on the charge of spreading Naxalism in South Gujarat in the last two months.

Terming the arrests of the tribal activists as violation of human rights, they organised a meeting in the city's Navsarjan Trust Hall at RTO Circle on Friday, under the leadership of former Gujarat finance minister Sanat Mehta. Later, they submitted a memorandum to the district collector demanding a transparent police investigation against those arrested.

Addressing the meeting, Mehta said, "People working to uplift the marginalised tribal have been facing the wrath of the police and other government agencies. This is the only reason why they (tribal activists) have been arrested on the pretext of spreading Naxal movement in the Dang."

Mehta said it is unfair on the part of the police and the state government to project those arrested as Naxalites. There have been no violent incidents in the Dang or other tribal areas in Gujarat to prove that Naxal movement was active here. What has been reported is the fact about the long struggle of the poor tribals for their rights on the forest lands, he added.

The meeting was attended by president of Adivasi Loksangharsh Samiti Raman Chaudhary, senior journalist Digant Oza, director of Adivasi Academy at Tejgarh Ganesh Devi, and social activists Amarsinh Z Chaudhary, Sahdev Chaudhary and Manish Jani.

Digant Oza said, "There is no Naxal movement in Gujarat. In other states where the Naxal movement has taken roots, the class differences are very sharp. In the Dang and other tribal-dominated areas in Gujarat, there is no such movement. Those facing the charges of spreading Naxal movement in the state are tribal activists working to spread awareness among the tribals about their forest land rights."

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