Nagpur’s Adivasi Gowari Shahid Uddanpul, which is popularly known as Sitabuldi flyover, is one of the most popular and oldest flyovers in Nagpur. Completed in December 2000, this flyover eased traffic congestion in Sitabuldi area. While the flyover was completed in 2000, it was on November 23, 2001, that it was officially named as Adivasi Gowari Shahid Uddanpul. The naming of the flyover has a tragic history attached to it. Here’s why Nagpur’s Sitabuldi flyover is called Adivasi Gowari Shahid Uddanpul.
On November 23, 1994, during the winter session of Maharashtra State Assembly at Vidhan Sabha in Nagpur, around 50,000 protestors from the Gowari community gathered and were heading towards Vidhan Bhavan to present their demands to the state government. The community was demanding a ‘Scheduled Tribe’ status to be able to be eligible for benefits of reservations in government jobs and education.
Nagpur Police stopped the massive protest near Vasantrao Naik Government Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (formerly known as Morris College). With no government official turning up to address the demands of the protesters, the protesters grew impatient. When a vehicle with a red beacon arrived, the protesters thought that it must a minister and started approaching the car.
The police, sensing trouble, started pushing the protesters and wielded batons. As the police tried to stop the protesters, it caused panic finally leading to a stampede, in which 114 people, including women and children, were killed.
Sitabuldi flyover was named as Adivasi Gowari Shahid Uddanpul in the memory of those who lost their lives in the tragic incident. There’s also a memorial near Zero Mile. This memorial has a plaque, which has the names of the people, who lost their lives in the 1994 stampede.