It will project Taviyad episode as insult to Gujarat's tribal community

In an apparent tit-for-tat, the Congress intends projecting the alleged police excesses on its Dahod MP Prabha Taviyad as an insult to the entire tribal community in Gujarat.

State Congress leaders said that just as Chief Minister Narendra Modi always equated even personal criticism directed at him with an insult to all Gujaratis and attempt to defame Gujarat, the Congress would highlight the May 1 “police excesses” on Ms. Taviyad as an “attack on the self-respect and rights” of the tribals.

Ms. Taviyad was allegedly prevented from attending the official ceremony to celebrate the 52 Foundation Day of the State — held in her constituency of Dahod, a major tribal-dominated district headquarters. Though she was invited by the government to participate in the celebration, Ms. Taviyad was allegedly picked up by the police as soon as she came out of her residence and detained until after the function was over and the Chief Minister had left Dahod. Ms. Taviyad resisted detention, trying to explain to the police that she was an invitee, and in the scuffle that ensued, sustained injuries.

Even as the issue rocked the Lok Sabha the next day, with senior Congress leader Girija Vyas raising the matter and Ms. Taviyad breaking down, showing the “marks of atrocities by the Gujarat police on her body,” State Cabinet spokesman and Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas attempted to put the Congress MP in the dock. He claimed she had “provoked” the police action by “misbehaving and even attacking” the police women who had requested her to court arrest.

Mr. Vyas claimed the police had definite information that Ms. Taviyad and her supporters wanted to disrupt the ceremony by raising protest slogans as she felt “disturbed” by the ongoing investigation against some of her close relatives into their alleged involvement in land scams.

In view of the Assembly elections by December, the Congress has decided to exploit the May 1 incident to woo tribal voters.

The party would take out a “Rights of the Tribals Yatra” from May 20 to 27 through some 50 tribal-dominated taluks in about a dozen districts.

More In: National | News | States