The protestors were booked for unlawful assembly and obstructing officials on duty.
The police in Gujarat have arrested 11 Adivasis for staging a protest against the land survey for a parking lot near the Statue of Unity in Kevadia village, PTI reported on Tuesday.
The protestors claimed that the land acquired by the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam for the development project belonged to them and had been taken illegally.
The protest took place on Sunday afternoon while the authorities were conducting their survey. At least 24 police personnel were at the spot, according to PTI. “Two women stripped partially,” Kevadia Police Station inspector PT Chaudhary told the news agency. “They were whisked away by policewomen present there.”
A first information report was filed against 20 protestors. They were charged under Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 294 (singing obscene song, ballad or words, in or near the public place), 269 (act likely to spread infectious disease dangerous to life), 186 (obstructing public servant in the discharge of duty) and 447 (criminal trespass) of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, the official added.
In 2019, the Gujarat High Court had stalled land acquisition for tourism projects near the statue. It directed the state government not to evict Adivasis in six villages near the 182-metre statue.
The Statue of Unity in Kevadia, dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, has already displaced more than two lakh people in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Kevadia and its surrounding villages in Narmada district are a part of South Gujarat’s Adivasi belt, which stands to lose the most once the government completes the tourism zone it has envisioned in the stretch between the dam and the statue.
The police in Gujarat had arrested several Adivasi activists before Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the statue in October 2018.
Farmers and Adivasi activists had also threatened protests on the day of the inauguration to demand compensation for the land used to build the statue, and called the project a waste of people’s money. The government responded by jailing them for a day in police stations across the district and deploying an army of special police forces for security at the inauguration.