Prominent Gandhian organisations have kicked off the ‘Sevagram-Sabarmati Sandesh Yatra’ to protest the Centre and Gujarat government’s decision to redevelop Sabarmati Ashram and turn it into a tourist centre.
More than 50 prominent Gandhians began the yatra by offering prayers at the Sevagram Ashram on Sunday morning. They are set to march towards Sabarmati Ashram via Amravati, Akola, Khamgaon, Bhusaval, Jalgaon, Amalner, Dhule, Nandurbar, Bardoli and Surat, and will reach Ahmedabad on October 23.
“Mahatma Gandhi contemplated life and society at these institutions, which have inspired thousands of people. And they continue to attract people from all over the world to draw inspiration from them. But now the Central government is reportedly bringing about changes in the ashram precincts, which is an attack on the Gandhian thought of beauty in simplicity,” said Sanjay Singh, the convener of the yatra.
“The Central government is reportedly spending Rs 1,200 crore to turn the Sabarmati Ashram into a tourist spot, which would have a new museum, an amphitheatre, a VIP lounge, shops, eateries and various entertainment facilities. This will not only end the original form of the ashram, which is a historical heritage of not only India but of the entire world. This has caused a great concern to Gandhian institutions and peace-loving citizens, that have decided to oppose the proposed government plan in a forceful manner,” he said.
Singh compared the Sabarmati plan to the recently refurbished Jallianwala Bagh, saying the government “has embarked upon destroying Sabarmati Ashram too”.