Vyara rally on February 20 in support of Gamit
By Our Representative
The Gujarat High Court’s Prevention of Anti-Social Activities (PASA) Board on Monday ordered the release of Jayram Gamit, a young tribal activist of South Gujarat’s Tapi and Chhotaudepur districts. Gamit was arrested under PASA Act on January 31, allegedly in order to preempt a tribal rally, which was planned in Chhotaudepur on February 2. The district was simultaneously declared “terrorist prone”. Section 144 orders were imposed and the rally was banned.
In a statement, Romel Sutariya of the Adivasi Kisan Sangharsh Morcha (AKSM), to which Gamit also belongs, said, “We will be giving a hero’s welcome to Jayram Gamit. He will be reaching from Rajkot, where he was taken after the arrest, on March 11.”
Sutariya considers release of Gamit as a “victory of the struggle launched by several organizations and individuals, which put enough pressure on the administration to finally act in his favour.”
The state government allowed the AKSM to hold a rally on February 20 in Vyara, district headquarters of Tapi, where several thousand tribal farmers of South Gujarat held a major protest against the arrest of Gamit under PASA. The rally was a grand success. Among those who backed AKSM were Bhilistan Vikas Morcha and Bhilistan Tiger Sena.
The main aim of the rally was to highlight the “false charges” leveled against Gamit under PASA. The rally was also meant to raise he voice against “effort to crush the democracy by terming tribal movement as Naxalite”.
The slogans raised included “Stop attacks on tribal movements in Gujarat”, “Stop murder of democracy” and “Forest department leave tribal areas”, it pointed out, demanding a special investigation team (SIT) to go into “false charges” against him.
An AKSM statement following the rally said, Gamit was arrested despite the fact that the local court had “absolved him” of all charges against him, and the first information report (FIR) dated January 1, 2015, which was the basis of his arrest, did not even name him.
The effort was to “accuse” the tribal movement of running a parallel government, the statement had said, adding, this was nothing but “an effort to crush the tribal movement, which is pitted against sand mining mafia in South Gujarat.”
Meanwhile, Sutariya and his colleagues met the new district collector, Tapi, on Monday in order to apprise him of the tribals’ issues. “The meeting with the district collector, in the presence of the district police chief, lasted for two hours. During the meeting, we apprised them of the sand mafia seeking to take away tribals’ land”, Sutariya said.