Voices in support of Gujarat AAP working president Chaitar Vasava continue to grow as the tribal leader, recently booked for allegedly threatening forest officials, remains “untraceable”.
Congress leaders in Bharuch held a protest march and handed over a memorandum to the mamlatdar concerned. They contended that action should be taken against the forest officers, who allegedly destroyed the standing crops of farmers.
Meanwhile, Mumtaaz Patel, daughter of late Congress veteran Ahmed Patel, in a video message criticised the BJP without naming the AAP’s Dediapada MLA.
“This false FIR against the people of Dediapada should be immediately withdrawn. The Forest Department should be booked for trying to instill fear among the tribals, who have been seeking rights and ownership of forest lands. Applications of several farmers are pending before the department, which is resorting to illegal destruction of crops. We strongly condemn this FIR,” read the memorandum by the Congress unit to the mamlatdar.
A case of rioting, extortion and assault was lodged on November 2 against Vasava, his wife, and others after the AAP leader allegedly fired a round in the air and threatened forest officials when a farmer made a representation to him over a grievance.
In her video message, Mumtaaz Patel assured support to the tribals in the “ongoing situation”. Mumtaaz is said to be seeking candidature for the Lok Sabha polls due next year from the Bharuch parliamentary constituency, of which the Dediapada Assembly constituency in the Narmada district is a part.
Patel referred to the “recent incident in Narmada” while speaking about the “harassment of tribals by the BJP”. She asserted that her party had not only brought out laws to grant forest land rights to the tribals but had been “struggling” against the “oppression” of the BJP.
Starting her message with a ‘Jai Jauhar’ salutation to “tribal brothers and sisters”, she can be heard saying in the clip: “The anti-tribal BJP party is using all its means to harass the tribal community across the country– whether it is the inhuman urination case of Madhya Pradesh or the government-sponsored torture in Manipur and more recently. What happened in Narmada (against the farmers and Chaitar Vasava)… jal (water), jungle (forests), zameen (land), and the tribals are closely linked and it is the belief of the Congress. This is why the Congress had created the forest rights law but the BJP was against it (the law) even then and is against it even now…”