Lucknow: The Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday lashed out at the BJP government alleging that it was misusing provisions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to harass people of Nishad (fishermen) community who make a living out of rivers.
Priyanka met members of the Nishad (boatmen) community in Baswar village, Prayagraj on Sunday and assured them that the party will raise their issues in the parliament. She spent about two hours with them. It was Priyanka’s second visit to Prayagraj in ten days.
Earlier, she came here on May 11 to take a holy dip at Sangam on Mauni Amavasya. During that visit she enjoyed a boat ride and the boatman had requested her to visit their village to listen to their grievances. Nishads are a strong backward caste having a sizable population in the state.
On February 4, police had raided Baswar village to nab sand mafias. During the raid, the police had found that sand was being ferried illegally through boats. When boatmen resisted the move to seize their boats, police lathicharged them and destroyed many of their boats. Since then fishermen and boatmen are on agitation charging the police with destroying their boats and burning their houses.
Interestingly, a day before the Congress leader's visit, district administration had sent carpenters to Baswar village and fixed the damaged boats.
"The BJP governments at the Centre and Uttar Pradesh are supporting industrialists and mafias only. They have no ears to hear the voices of poor people. Nishad community members are making a living out of the river. But they are harassed by misuse of NGT provisions," she said while addressing community members.
"Like the three Farm Laws are anti-farmer, the new NGT rules on the riverfront are anti-poor and will snatch away livelihood of fishermen and boatmen all over the country," she alleged.
She assured agitated community members that the Congress, if voted back to power, will repeal these anti-people laws which are largely benefitting capitalists.