Heads of 22 villages divided over Statue of Unity, write open letter to PM, say, he is unwelcome

statue of liberty

Touted to be the tallest statue in the world with 182 metres, the memorial has come under criticism from the local villagers

The Hush Post| 13:12 pm| three-minute-read

The sarpanches of 22 villages located in the vicinity of Sardar Sarovar Dam on Monday wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi telling that villagers will not welcome him at the inauguration of the Statue of Unity on October 31.

Local leaders have announced boycott of the function. They have said that there is going to be the destruction of natural resources due to the memorial. The Statue of Unity, a Sardar Patel memorial, is located on an islet. It is the world’s tallest statue now at 182 metres.

“These forests, rivers, waterfalls, land and agriculture supported us for generations. We survived on them. But, everything has been reduced to rubble now and celebrations are being planned. Don’t you think it’s akin to celebrating someone’s death? We feel so,” the letter, having common content and signed by sarpanches of 22 villages, stated.

“We all villagers want to tell you with extreme grief that we will not welcome you on October 31. Even if you come here like an unwanted guest, you are not welcome here,” it added.

Unknown persons tore and defaced posters of Modi and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in several parts of the district during the last few days

People of these villages allege that hard-earned money of people is being wasted on projects like Statue of Unity, though, several villages of the area still do not have basic facilities like schools, hospitals, dispensaries and drinking water.

“If Sardar Patel could see the mass destruction of natural resources and injustice done to us, he would cry. When we are raising our issues, we are persecuted by police. Why you are not ready to listen to our plight?” the letter said.

Earlier this month, tribal activists had announced that people living in 72 villages near the dam will join the protest on October 31 by not cooking food. “We have also urged tribals of the eastern belt of Gujarat, from Dang till Ambaji, to join our protest by observing bandh that day. We are confident that the entire tribal population will stand up against the injustice” said tribal leader Anand Mazgaokar.

Meanwhile, as per reports in News 18, unknown persons tore and defaced posters of Modi and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in several parts of the district during the last few days.

Gujarat Chief Secretary J N Singh Monday visited the site to take stock of ongoing preparations. “We have invited dance troupes from across the country to perform here during the inauguration. Air Force planes and helicopters would shower flowers on the statue during unveiling. I am here today to see how we can synchronise them” Singh told reporters.

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