RAJPIPLA: Tribal leader Praful Vasava and four others were arrested while they were staging a protest at Rajpipla in Narmada district Wednesday morning against the installation of Statue of Unity.
A shutdown was also observed in parts of Narmada and adjoining Bharuch districts following a call was given by a section of tribal leaders, alleging lack of development and destruction of natural resources due to the construction of the monument.
Vasava and others took out a small protest march on the outskirts of Rajpipla -- the Narmada district headquarters which is 23 km from the site where the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
They also released black balloons as a mark of protest and shouted: "Modi Go Back."
"We arrested Vasava and four others this morning. Three protesters were arrested earlier late last night," said a police official.
Authorities in Narmada district claimed that all markets were open, but Bharuch collector Ravi Kumar Arora said the shut-down call affected the normal life in Netrang and Jhagadia tehsils.
"Some tribal pockets in Netrang and Jhagadia were affected. Otherwise the bandh call had no major impact," he said. On October 29, panchayat heads of 22 villages in the vicinity of Sardar Sarovar Dam had written an open letter to Modi, stating that the villagers would not welcome him when he arrived for inauguration of the statue.
A section of local tribal leaders had announced a boycott of the function, alleging destruction of natural resources due to the construction of the gigantic memorial. Modi inaugurated the 182-metre statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Wednesday morning.
Built at a cost of Rs 2,989 crore, the Statue of Unity stands on an islet called Sadhu Bet near Sardar Sarovar Dam.