A day after refusing to perform the final rites of tribal man Dulji Vasava (85), who was part of a relay hunger strike of Narmada project-affected persons, the group cremated the protester’s body along the banks of Narmada on Tuesday. Vasava, a resident of Aamroli Vasahat in Narmada had died early on Sunday at Vadodara’s SSG hospital after participating in the protest.
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On Monday, the protesters had carried Vasava’s body to Kevadia Colony and pledged that they would not cremate it until the state government meets their entire list of 27 demands. Narmada-Affected Persons’ leader Jhiku Tadvi told The Indian Express that the decision to cremate Vasava was taken according to the adivasi rituals, in which the mortal remains of the dead are not preserved.
Tadvi said, “The decision to keep his body without cremation was also causing much agony to his family, especially the women who have been sitting out in the open at the protest spot since his death. So we decided to complete his last ritesm but our agitation will now intensify.” Tadvi said the affected persons, who have been on hunger strike since July 15, are losing patience over the unresponsiveness of the government to their demands.
The main contention of the tribals is related to the rehabilitation policy of the Gujarat government offering 5 acres land to each displaced family, including the major sons (who attained 18 years of age by January 1, 1987) of the landholder.