The Narmada Police Tuesday detained a 55-year-old villager from Kevadia village, who threatened to immolate himself as part of the ongoing tribal protests against the fencing of a land by the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL), which the department acquired for the Narmada Dam project over six decades ago.
The villager has been detained and will be produced before an executive magistrate on Wednesday. The villager, Natwar Tadvi, threatened to set himself ablaze and brought out a can of kerosene while joining the protest, the police said. According to a villager of Kevadia, Tadvi claims that his farm land was fenced along with the open land parcel and he will have no other means of livelihood.
According to DySP Kevadia Colony, Vani Doodhat, the incident occurred on Tuesday afternoon while the local people turned up to protest against the land acquisition. Doodhat said, “The man threatened to set himself on fire but police officers on duty restrained him and took away the can of fuel. We detained him and have initiated a Chapter Case proceeding against him as part of preventive action under the CrPC. We have obtained a surety from him that he will not take any such dire steps. We will produce him before the executive magistrate tomorrow. Till then, he is in our custody.”
On Monday, the SSNNL, apart from announcing the relocation plan for the displaced families, has also agreed to allot commercial shops to affected beneficiaries in a complex in the parking lot of SoU, among other compensatory measures. The villagers who have been up in arms since May end also got into a scuffle with the local police on May 31 when SSNNL officials began fencing the land, which the department “has acquired”. The statement on Monday said, “SSNNL is only fencing the land that it has measured as part of its acquisition claim. No other private land has been forcefully fenced or acquired.”
The contention of the villagers of Limbdi, Kevadia, Vagadiya, Navagam, Kothi and Gora is that the SSNNL sought the land acquisition 60 years ago for the building of the Sardar Sarovar dam, but is now intending to put the land to use for other commercial purposes.
On Saturday, 18 Congress leaders, including 8 MLAs, were detained in district-head Rajpipla on their way to join the Kevadia protest and NCP leader Shankarsinh Vaghela also tried to join the protest on Monday.
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