His show must go on, says close friend
Amit Jethava's friend Bhaga Dhakan, who was the co-founder and former president of the Gir Nature Youth Club (GNYC), said the club would continue its campaign on issues related to environment and forests with help from its 4,000 volunteers in at least 15 villages.
Dhakan, who was childhood friend of Jethava, said the club just had 15 members when it started five years ago. "I could not give full time to the club due to my family business in gold at Khamba. Just a year after the club started, I handed over the entire management to Jethava," said Dhakhan while carrying Jethava's body to their hometown of Khamba for the last rites.
In the beginning, GNYC activity was restricted to conducting youth camps. It is now active in villages like Mangrol, Jamnagar, Mahuva, Kodinar, Unai, Jafrabad, Rajula, Khamba, Jamagar and many more in Saurashtra. "Jethava showed great vigour in the club. He almost dedicated his life to the issues like environment and forests. His income were used as funds for the club," said Dhakan.
He, however, refused to comment about who could be responsible for Jethava's murder. "He never discussed any issue with us. He never said if someone is threatening him. Most of the issues were legal and his paperwork was always perfect."
His last PIL named Solanki
In his last Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed before the Gujarat High Court, slain activist Amit Jethava had sought directions to the authorities to get the illegal limestone mining in the periphery of Gir Lion Sanctuary and National Park stopped.
Jethava had accused BJP MP from Junagadh, Dinu Solanki, of being actively involved in the illegal mining. The Division Bench of HC headed by the Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhaya is hearing the petition.
Following are the excerpts of the PIL with Jethava making direct allegations against Solanki and one of his cousins: "...All the mining activities in Una and Kodinar taluka are carried out by one political personality, who is presently member of Parliament from Junagadh and is a former MLA from Kodinar, Mr Dinubhai Boghabhai Solanki, and his cousin Mr Shiva @ Pratap Hamirbhai Solanki, who is the president of Kodinar Nagarpalika." "He (Dinu Solanki) is also running illegal blacktrap mines and stone crusher in gauchar land bearing survey no. 131 of Gir border Village Pichhvi."
The court had admitted the petition and even allowed Jethava to implead Dinu and Shiva Solanki as respondents.
"Pendency of this case shall not stand in the way of the state authorities to take immediate measures to stop illegal mining, if going on in the area," the HC said.
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