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Champion of tribal rights, septuagenarian succumbs to Covid-19

Founder of a non-governmental organisation, Khet Vikas Parishad, and a Gujarati fortnightly newspaper, Naya Marg, Indukumar Jani worked extensively in tribal areas through ashram-shalas and the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA).

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
April 19, 2021 2:51:15 am
Indukumar Jani (1943 – 2021)

Indukumar Jani, a social worker, a strong voice for tribal development and social harmony who had been a staunch critic of the establishment, succumbed to the coronavirus disease on Sunday.

Born on December 19, 1943, Jani was detected Covid-19 positive last week and was being treated by his family physician before being admitted to a private hospital on Vaishno Devi Circle on Friday after his physician tested positive for the infection.

Originally from Rajkot, Jain had quit his job at an agriculture bank and joined social work at a young age. He joined late Jinabhai Darji, a Gandhian leader from South Gujarat and champion of tribals rights. People close to them said the two shared a deep relationship and Darji considered Jani like his son.

Founder of a non-governmental organisation, Khet Vikas Parishad, and a Gujarati fortnightly newspaper, Naya Marg, Jani worked extensively in tribal areas through ashram-shalas and the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA).

“Even today, he was fighting the legal cases filed during the Narmada Bachao Andolan for tribal rights for which he stood. He fought for tribals’ land acquisition and was still fighting for those legal cases,” Binit Modi, one of his close associates, said. He had also worked for Dalits.

Though he stopped his publication in March 2020 due to health reasons, Jani continued to raise social issues of tribals, Dalit, minority communities, child labour and women empowerment through Naya Marg.

He had also questioned the 2002 Gujarat riots in his newspaper.

Jani is remembered as a down to earth and rational person, a humanist who was sensitive towards the his associates. He is survived by his wife Ranjanben and son.

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