New Delhi: (Press Releases): Hundreds of political activists and students staged a tremendous protest (on 17th October) against Narendra Modi’s presence in a book release function at Madras University, Chennai. Notably , a group of Madras University students staged a dharna protest outside the function venue to keep Modi out of the university premises. Just a few hours before the function, Madras High Court on Friday, Oct 18 rejected a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a ban on Modi’s participation in the function.
Tamizh Nadu Makkal Katchi (TMK) president — Thanga Tamizhvelan earlier had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) opposing Modi’s participation in the function which has been arranged by the Palkhivala Foundation to release a book authored by Arun Shourie. Tamizhvelan, in his PIL, said that it was not fair to allow a political leader “known for his Hindu fundamentalism” to speak at the university.The petitioner also added, “Permission for the event should be cancelled as it would hurt the secular ethos of the university in the light of the 2002 Gujarat carnage. “Unfair to allow someone known for his Hindu fundamentalism”. A petition seeking ban on Modi’s visit also submitted to the Governor of Tamil Nadu on 17 October 2013.
A group of protesters in Chennai staged a dharna and black flag protest against Modi’s visit. The protesters raised slogans against Modi’s visit to Chennai. Many agitators including men and women were detained on Friday.
Few slogans raised against Modi are :
“India’s Rajapakse don’t enter Tamil Nadu”
“Hindu chauvinist Modi don’t land in Periyar’s (E V Ramasamy) land (Tamil Nadu )”
“Go back Modi”
“We’ll not allow the genocide criminal Modi”
The protest against Modi also reflected in social networks such as Facebook profile pictures and status updates.
A public meeting is scheduled on 26 October 2013 in Chennai by Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Kazhagam to expose Narendra Modi’s Hindutva and pro-corporate face.
Similar protests against Modi were held during Modi’s last month visit to Trichy, Tamil Nadu.
The wide spread protest against Modi in Tamil Nadu could play a key role in the electoral alliances of political parties for 2014 general elections.
Meanwhile, some senior activists of Radical Socialist, Gujarat has sent following note:
We, Rohit Prajapati, Trupti Shah, Amrish Brahmbhatt, and Kannagi Brahmbhatt activist of Radical Socialist, Gujarat oppose and condemn the construction of ‘Statue of Unity’, because it will be a statue that will divide and remove the tribal people form their land, forest and livelihood. It is a structure that will be 182 meters (392 feet) tall of Shri Sardar Patel planed near Sardar Sarovar Dam by Mr. Narendra Modi a man who is mastermind of ‘politics of hate’. The statue will be placed directly facing the Sardar Sarovar Dam at a distance of 3.2 km at the Sadhu Bet.
The estimated cost is Rs 2,500/- corers. The Government of Gujarat website clearly state that “A monument, that will not just be a mute memorial like the rest, but a fully functional, purpose-serving tribute that will boost tourism and facilitate development in the surrounding tribal areas.”
This “development” as envisaged around ‘Statue of Unity’ is through the Kevadia Area Development Authority (KADA) mainly for tourism. Already, 16 villages have been brought under KADA, while the plan is to take the number to 70.
In a clear example of how area development authorities, notified by the Gujarat Government, behave vis-à-vis local villagers, a letter written by the Chief Executive Officer, Kevadia Area Development Authority (KADA) has threatened the Sarpanches of 52 villages adjoining the Sardar Sarovar Dam that they better agree to hand over their villages for tourism purpose or else they would face consequences. The four-line letter dated March 6, 2013 sent to the village Sarpanches under the heading “Regarding the decision to include your villages under KADA”, threateningly states “the government has decided on development oriented work in these villages, even then you have not passed resolutions on your letter-heads agreeing to be included under KADA.” Calling the behaviour of the 52 village Panchayat “improper”, the KADA letter says, “You are requested to send your approval for the use of your villages for developmental purpose within seven days. In case you fail to do it, then – keeping that in view – we will be forced to take further steps against you.” Significantly, KADA comes directly under the Gujarat Urban Development Department and has been given the task of “developing” the area around the Sardar Sarovar Dam into a tourism spot, complete with all types of entertainment facilities, hotels and sports.
The six villages, which were the first to hand over the land way back in 1961-63 to build the Staff Colony, Government Offices and Guest House to build the Sardar Sarovar Dam, have even decades later not been considered “equal” to other project affected persons (PAPs), thus remaining deprived of all the facilities which other PAPs of Sardar Sarovar Dam of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have been promised. In fact, they cannot even access to Sardar Sarovar Dam water for irrigation. Worse, the view is gaining ground among them that water is only for urban and industrial use. Instead of resolving the decade pending problems of the tribal, Mr. Modi is planning to spend Rs 2,500/- corers over the Statue for his electoral propaganda.
We appeal progressive people and people’s organisations of Gujarat to oppose the construction of ‘Statue of Unity’. They should not be scared of the perception that if they will oppose the ‘Statue of Unity’ then Mr. Modi will label them as ‘anti-Sardar Patel’ because in fact they are opposing ‘Statue For Tourism Industries’, ‘Statue For Narendra Modi’s Name and Fame’ and ‘Statue For Criminal Waste of Public Money’ that will divide and remove the tribal people form their land, forest and livelihood.