KEVADIYA: A tribal leader from Gujarat on Tuesday sought the intervention of US President Donald Trump to stop "destruction" of the environment and "forced eviction" of Adivasis from near the Statue of Unity in Narmada district in the name of development.
In a letter addressed to Trump, who will be in Ahmedabad on February 24, tribal leader Praful Vasava has urged him to "meditate" on the issue between the agitating tribals living near the Statue of Unity and BJP-led governments in Gujarat and at the Centre.
In the letter, which Vasava tweeted and tagged Trump, he said though indigenous people had made several representations to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind, no solution has been found to problems being faced by local tribal residents.
The social activist-cum-Adivasi leader alleged tribals are being driven away from their ancestral land without any proper compensation.
Alleging that tribals living near the world's tallest statue are being "forced" to vacate their homes and agriculture fields to make way for government projects, Vasava urged Trump to raise the issue in the United Nations, claiming the Centre is violating UN guidelines on indigenous people.
Not just tribal culture, the environment near the statue is also being "destroyed" by the government, he claimed.
Vasava, a resident of Kevadiya village, has been detained and arrested several times in the past for staging protests over the issue of "destruction" of the environment and "forced eviction" of Adivasis.
The 182-metre tall statue, dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31, 2018.
The towering monument, located at Sadhu Bet island on the Narmada river, has emerged as a major attraction for tourists, both from India and abroad.
Since then, the state government has announced several tourism-related projects near the statue, a move which is being fiercely opposed by the local tribals.
The tribals have alleged the state government was "snatching their ancestral land" for these projects.