Houses Demolished, This Coastal Gujarat Fishing Community Questions Timing

Ndtv | 2 months ago | 26-11-2022 | 02:37 pm

Houses Demolished, This Coastal Gujarat Fishing Community Questions Timing

"Are we anti-nationals that our houses have to be demolished?" asks Vaishali.Jakhau (Gujarat): Standing outside her makeshift home, Vaishali Mangale is at a loss to understand why around 300 houses, huts, and godowns at the Jakhau harbour were demolished by authorities just ahead of polls in Gujarat for being "unauthorised" constructions.The Jakhau harbour, 120 km from Bhuj town in Kutch district, is part of the Abdasa Assembly constituency where polling will be held on December 1 in the first of the two-phase elections for the 182-member House.The issue of restoration of Jakhau Harbour, a major source of economic activity in the area, is an issue that the opposition has been harping on to target the BJP.The water crisis in the region, especially getting water from Narmada, is also a major poll plank of various political parties in the arid Kutch region.The Abdasa constituency, a stronghold of Congress, is now with the BJP after sitting Congress MLA Pradhyuman Sinh Jadeja switched to the saffron camp in 2020.A fish trader, who did not wish to be named, feels razing homes with bulldozers is more of a symbolic action than an administrative decision."The bulldozer politics is symbolic of sending a message to a particular community. The demolition of structures along the coastline has a general pattern," he said."Why was the time - just ahead of the polls - chosen for demolition?" Political analyst Hemant Shah said the demolitions were carried out to consolidate Hindu votes. "Demolishing some Hindu property during this exercise was aimed at projecting the government as being impartial," he added."Are we anti-nationals that our houses have to be demolished, and we have to be thrown out?" asks Vaishali.The district administration and the ruling BJP refuted the bulldozer politics claims, and said the demolition of illegal structures was necessary for national security."The demolitions were not undertaken suddenly. Eviction notices were sent to them last year, but they kept on building structures due to which there was no clear visibility of the coastline, which is very important for national security. The structures were demolished keeping in mind the national security," Superintendent of Police, Kutch (West), Saurabh Singh told PTI.The district administration, as part of state-wide operations in coastal areas of the state, including Porbandar and Dwarka, had demolished illegal structures considered a threat to national security.Mr Jadeja, the BJP candidate, said once the elections are over, the problems of the fishermen community will be looked into. "We are considering giving them land two kilometers from Jakhau harbour. The allegations that it (demolition) has been done to bully the minorities are baseless and politically motivated," he told PTI.A total of 10 candidates including BJP's Mr Jadeja, Mamad Jung Jat of the Congress and Vasantbhai Khetani of the AAP are in the fray.The constituency has a total of 2,49,484 voters, of whom around 11.7 per cent are from the minority community. The Scheduled Castes(SC) community accounts for about 14 per cent.Mr Jadeja is from the Kshatriya community and was the two-time Congress MLA from the constituency before switching over to the BJP in 2020. For him, the independents from the Kshatriya community and internal fighting within the BJP could pose some trouble.For the Congress, the AAP's entry is a threat, as it is wary that it might eat into the opposition space.In areas such as Abdasa, the work for the pipeline for the canal connecting it with the Narmada Main Canal (NMC) through Kutch Branch Canal is yet to start, thus leaving the entire region yearning for water.The fishermen of Jakhau recently submitted a memorandum to Kutch district collector, drawing his attention to people living in the open after their homes and huts were demolished during the demolition drive last month, citing coastal security."Our hometown is in Valsad, but we stay in Jakhau for nearly 10 months of the year as the catch is excellent in this area," a fisherman and Vaishali's husband Rajesh Mangale said."Industrial pollution has destroyed marine ecology in coastal areas, but these demolitions have put our lives and livelihood at stake. The bulldozers demolished our homes and our future." said Osman Gani of the National Fishworkers Forum.Fishermen and traders from coastal districts like Valsad, Jamnagar, Dwarka, and Amreli operate from Jakhau as industrialisation and chemical pollution along the coastline in their areas destroyed marine ecology, leading to depletion in fish stock.The Jakhau harbour provides livelihood to 10,000 fishermen and 12,000 fish traders, Mr Gani said. Around 1,500 fishing boats and trawlers also operate in the area every year, he added."The entire trade was stopped for nearly a month, leading to a loss of Rs 200 crore. In winter, the fishing business is generally on a decline. We are yet to come out of our losses, and the government is asking us to vacate the area. If we leave this area, we will be completely out of business, and families will starve," Jakhau Bandar Fishermen and Boat Association president Abdullah Shah said.Since the demolitions, fishermen and traders have set up makeshift homes and makeshift cold storages with tarpaulins and bamboo roofs and are determined not to leave the area until the government offers a suitable alternative arrangement.Mr Gani did not favour the move to set up a fishermen's colony two kilometres from the coastline, saying it was impractical. "Taking fishermen and traders two km from the coastline is like taking fish out of water and killing them. This proposition is impractical and will lead to huge losses for the fishing industry," he said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comKutch district Congress president Yajuvendra Sinh Jadeja alleged that the government failed to protect the interests of fishermen due to petty politics. "The government should have made alternative arrangements for the fishermen and traders,"he said. (This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayHow To Track FIFA World Cup

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Times of India | 16 hours ago | 27-01-2023 | 08:07 pm
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CHENNAI: A group of Madras University students on Friday screened a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. They were protesting against the Union government blocking the online links to the documentary.The members of Students Federation of India (SFI) in Madras University had sought the university's permission to screen the documentary in the university's auditorium. However, the university authorities did not give permission. So, a group of students gathered outside the auditorium and tried to screen the movie. University staff tried to prevent the screening. Students argued that it was not banned in the country and went ahead screening it on a laptop."The BBC documentary exposes how the riots against the minorities were supported by the then Gujarat government headed by Modi in 2002. The SFI had called for screening of the documentary on every campus in the country to expose Modi’s role in the riots," said SFI Chennai central district president V Arunkumar.Mirudhula, another student, said the protest was organised to save democracy. "The Union government is misusing its power by blocking the documentary. They are spreading hatred against Muslims and minorities," she said."The preamble of the Constitution says it is a democratic, secular republic. However, the government is blocking access to the BBC documentary to prevent students from knowing the truth about the Gujarat riots," said SFI state secretary Niruban Chakaravarthy.When contacted, Madras University officials told TOI that the auditorium was not available on Friday and some students from outside the university screened the documentary. However, students said they were postgraduate students studying social sciences in the university.

Madras University students screen BBC documentary ‘to protect democracy’
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Ndtv | 17 hours ago | 27-01-2023 | 06:53 pm
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Ndtv | 1 day ago | 26-01-2023 | 06:52 pm
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National security not fragile: Shashi Tharoor