Sunday, July 25, 2010

Shaken by Jethava’s killing, senior activist gives up fight

Shaken by Jethava's killing, senior activist gives up fight
Indian Express

Bharat Jethva, who was opposing Girnar Ropeway Project in Junagadh, says he will choose life over death, 'shattered' peers say it's abject surrender

Days after prominent wildlife and RTI activist Amit Jethava was shot dead, a senior activist from Gandhinagar opposing the Girnar Ropeway Project in Junagadh has called off his campaign saying he fears for his life.

Bharat Jethva, who runs a community website, posted a message on Saturday saying he would no longer opposed any development project in Gujarat. "Many of us have learnt today that we need to choose between our own Life or Wildlife..." Jethva says while 'pledging' he is no more involved in opposing the Girnar Ropeway Project.

"Dear all, I have no words to express what has happened to Amit Jethava !! I withdraw myself from an emotionally driven opposition to the Girnar Ropeway Project due to my passion for wildlife. I request concerned people to take note of this. I have 'pledged' I would not be involved in opposing any of the developmental projects that affect wildlife/biodiversity/environment by anyone, anywhere throughout my life, unless it affects or threatens my personal life !! I choose safe life with my family !!"

"Simultaneously, I also have requested many of my friends not to approach or involve me in opposition of Girnar Ropeway Project or any such project now onwards. I request you to take this positively in favour of my survival and safe life. Looking forward to working positively with many of you for great land of Garvi Gujarat !!"

The post created ripples among wildlife activists, many of whom say this is not the way to call it a day.

Kishore Kotecha of Wildlife Conservation Trust, Rajkot, who urged the activists to carry on with their activities in his post, told The Sunday Express, "Why should we take it as a hurdle? In fact, I would like to fight with double intensity. The opinions about Amit Jethava who was killed might differ but we all must unite and fight with double spirits."

Arun Mani Dixit from Centre for Environment and Social Concerns (CESC), Ahmedabad, was more critical. "It is highly demoralising reading your 'pledge', especially when we need to strengthen and regroup our energies. Resistances and hurdles are always there in life. So you should be ready for taking pledges on daily basis on different issues. Even if you wanted to withdraw your support on the issue of Girnar Ropeway, you need not 'advertise' like this. You may not be knowing but there are many young naturalists who admire you and look up to you for guidance. Forget youngsters, even I admire you a lot, but this shatters me."

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