By SHUBHAJIT Chakraborty
Ahmedabad, Feb 25 – A cement project in the state has ran into an iron wall after Kanubhai Kalasariya, a state legislator of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Mahuva constituency, gathered more than 11,000 villagers to took part in the protest rally.
“Around 10,000 to 20,000 people have come from the village to submit a memorandum that those who live near the proposed plant, whose land is getting used and water is getting contaminated, are suffering because of the project. The protest is against Nirma’s cement factory, which is coming up near the water body. This is our last request to the government. If the project is not disapproved then we will do a non-violent satyagraha (peaceful protest march) to stop it,” said Kalsariya.
According to the memorandum, the proposed cement plant snatched the shelter from 50,000 people and nearly 15 villages would be affected. The movement is now gaining momentum after some other organizations have started to support the initiative. Gujarat Loksamiti, a voluntary organization has openly supported the cause led by Kanubhai Kalsariya.
To curb the protest, police several times assailed villagers, though they carried away a peaceful protest. The state government also had witnessed police attack mutely.
“We have come all the way from Mahuva for this protest but were stopped many times in between by the police. Some of us were beaten up; even the women protesters were not spared and beaten up in the absence of women police personnel. The government is also putting us down. They even deployed police personnel here to detain us. We were just trying to carry out a peace rally,” Kalsariya added.
It was reported that the cement plant is carried out by Nirma Group since December 2009. The Gujarat government has allotted 4,000 hectares of land to the organization.