Members of the Koli community on Monday submitted a memorandum to the Surat district collector demanding withdrawal of cases lodged against them during a protest against a chemical company.
Kantha Vibhag Yuva Koli Samaj Parivartan Trust, a body formed by the Koli community, prepared a memorandum similar to that of the Patidars and submitted it to the Surat district collector Mahendra Pate. The memorandum stated that they were carrying out non-violent protests against Colourtex and GEPIL (Gujarat Enviro Protection and Infrastructure Private Limited), two hazardous waste management companies at Bhudia and Gabheni village in Sachin. The companies, they claimed, had been found violating the Gujarat Pollution Control norms.
Colourtex was allegedly found dumping the untreated waste underground in the company premises resulting in polluted due to which many villagers had fallen sick. On the other hand, GEPIL was found discharging toxic wastes into the Unn creek, causing deaths of hundreds of cattle after consuming water from the creek.
On June 1, 2016, villagers from Dipli, Bhudiya, Jiyav, Gabheni and other villages staged a protest outside the premises of the companies under the banner of Kantha Vibhag Yuva Koli Samaj Parivartan Trust. While the police imposed a lathicharge on the protestors, over 121 people including 52 women were arrested. All the people are out on bail.
Parivartan Trust president Prakash Contractor said, “Our case is on the board and hearing is been carried out. The people were booked under different IPC sections including rioting and damage to public community. We came to know that the state government withdrew the cases against the Patidar youths, so it should withdraw the cases against the members of the Koli community as well. We are also a part of society and we should also get justice.”