The Ram Van Gaman Paripath Rath Yatra, marking two years of the Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress government in Chhattisgarh, was obstructed on Wednesday when members of the Sarva Adiwasi Samaj—an amalgam of tribal organisations—blocked one of the two chariot rallies in Kanker district, 150 km away from its destination Chandkhuri, by staging a sit-in.
As part of the yatra, members of district bikers associations, along with a chariot, are touring the Ram Van Gaman circuit, being developed as a tourist trail by the state in a Rs 134-crore project.
The SAS has objected to the yatra. In a letter sent to the CM and the Governor, it said, “We are against the entire construction of this project. This is against our customs. The Adiwasi is neither atheist nor a believer. She just believes and worships nature.”
Members of the SAS Wednesday said they took out containers inside the chariot. These containers were carrying soil from Sukma, Dantewada, Kondagaon and Bastar districts to be used for plantation on December 17 in Chandkhuri, where a temple dedicated to Lord Ram’s mother is being developed as part of the tourist trail.
“There is a temple which already exists. No one is stopped from visiting the temple. But to take soil from our land is against our culture. In our traditions, only after the express permission of the Gayta or the Bhumiar can soil be taken,” said former MP and tribal leader Sohan Potai.
According to SAS leader Vinod Nagwanshi, the protests are three-pronged. “We are protesting the majoritarianism that is being thrust upon us. We are also protesting the legality of taking anything from areas under Fifth Schedule. We are also protesting the attack on tribal customs and traditions,” he said.