Despite a police crackdown, a “jal satyagraha” by those affected by the Indira Sagar Project (ISP) entered the second day on Tuesday as 163 protesters were arrested from Mel Pipaliya village in Dewas district and another 200 were arrested from Bichhola village in Harda district.

In a press release issued in Harda on Tuesday, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) claimed that 163 people, including 63 women arrested from Mel Pipalia village were sent to jail, while 200 arrested from Bichhola village were released later.

However, Harda Collector Rajnish Shrivastava said that about 35 people were arrested and subsequently released from Bichhola for violating prohibitory orders imposed under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The police also confirmed that those arrested from Mel Pipalia village were sent to jail.

Meanwhile, hundreds of displaced people began a “jal satyagraha" in Malud village in Khandwa district, while demonstrations were held in Mandleshwar and Omkareshwar in support of those affected by the project, the release said. They submitted a memorandum addressed to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan demanding that all arrested people including senior NBA leader Chittaroopa should be freed immediately and that the just demands of the project affected people be met with immediate effect.

Condemning the MP government’s repression, NBA leader Alok Agrawal demanded that instead of arresting project affected people, it should work on the demands of rightful rehabilitation of the oustees and give them their legitimate rights.

The NBA demanded that as per Supreme Court and High Court directives, the water level of the ISP project should not cross the 260-metre mark. It also pointed out that a minimum of five acres of land should be given as compensation to those whose lands were submerged due to the project, while Rs 2.5 lakh should be given to laborers.


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