Police scuffle with tribal leaders on hunger strike route to Kevadia
The demonstration, staged on October 2, sought to condemn the State Government's privatisation of government public hospitals in tribal regions, ostensibly to benefit the Torrent Group, a large energy and pharmaceutical corporation in Gujarat.
Surat : On Gandhi Jayanti, tribal leaders were confronted by police while attempting to participate in a one-day token fast organised by former tribal independent MLA from Vyara in Tapi district, Amarsinh Z Chaudhary, and the Adivasi Samanvay Manch at Kevadia in Narmada district.
The demonstration, staged on October 2, sought to condemn the State Government’s privatisation of government public hospitals in tribal regions, ostensibly to benefit the Torrent Group, a large energy and pharmaceutical corporation in Gujarat.
Dang, Tapi, Navsari, and Valsad tribal elders have been in the forefront of the agitation against both the State Government and the Torrent Group. Their complaint is on the government’s plan to privatise civil hospitals in tribal areas. According to a recent notice, the civil hospitals in Vyara and Ahwa in Dang have been assigned to the Torrent Group on a token fee of Rs 1 under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.
Efforts to raise their voices were met with resistance, as police forces prevented tribal leaders from reaching Kevadia Government High School ground in Narmada district, where the one-day token fast was planned, in collaboration with former tribal MLA Amarsinh Z Chaudhary.
On Gandhi Jayanti, former Vyara MLA Amarsingh Z. Chaudhary, along with several tribal leaders, initiated a one-day token fast to protest multiple issues, including the privatization of government civil hospitals in Dang district, business activities by non-tribals near the Statue of Unity (SoU), and the Tapi-Par-Narmada river linking project, among others.
Mukesh Patel, a prominent tribal leader from Dang, expressed his frustration, stating, “The administrative system is making every effort to spoil the symbolic fast so that the warriors of the tribal community do not reach Kevadiya. This is killing democracy. In a democracy, non-violent symbolic fasts are not even allowed, and they are coming to stop the leaders on the way. Is this democracy?”
The district administration took stringent measures to restrict access to Kevadia, barricading all roads leading to the area. This resulted in noisy confrontations between police officials and tribal leaders who were determined to have their voices heard in their fight against the government’s actions.