Eight years after the proposal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently unveiled the Statue of Unity. However, this vanity project of the Prime Minister has displace several thousand tribals.
The tribals who are protesting claimed that many families who got displaced because of the development of the Sardar Sarovar Dam near which the statue did not receive a proper rehabilitation package by the government. They have also alleged that many trees have been cut surrounding Sardar's statue for at least 3 km causing environmental damage in tribal areas.
Local organisations claimed that almost 72,000 tribal families have been affected by the statue project. "A Rs. 3000-crore statue in one of the most backward districts of Gujarat is a farce. We are not against Sardar Patel, but we want schools and hospitals," said Praful Vasava, a tribal leader who is among the many protestors who got arrested before they could take out the rally in protest of the inauguration.
Earlier on October 31, Monday, headmen of 22 villages situated near the Sardar Sarovar Dam, on the day of inauguration had written a letter to the PM Modi stating that they would not welcome the PM for the inauguration ceremony.
The villagers claimed that their protest is because the construction of statue has destructed the environment. They also boycotted the event. "These forests, rivers, waterfalls, land and agriculture supported us for generations. We survived on them. But, everything is being destroyed now, and celebrations are also planned" said the letter.