50 years ago, when the Sardar Sarovar Dam was conceived by the government of India on the river Narmada, there was little or no knowledge about the widespread ecological crisis that it would bring about and disrupt the lives of lakhs of people living on its banks, forests and valleys since thousands of years. Narmada Bachao Andolan has been on the forefront of the struggle of the people of the Narmada against forceful and unjust displacement. Once again, in the year 2017, the government is on a warpath to uproot people by increasing the height of the dam without giving compensation or rehabilitation.

Reign of Terror! 12 day non violent fast of satyagrahis broken by brutal lathi charge. Medha and other protestors lifted by force from dharna sthal. Many injured.

Around 2000 strong police force surrounded the satyagrah venue from all sides. The police wore bullet proof vests and carried batons with nails fixed on them. This was Madhya Pradesh administration’s way of dealing with a 32 year old non violent Gandhian people’s movement that has set the basis of modern methods of peaceful resistance and environmental activism across the globe. 

This was the 12 day of the fast, the health condition of protestors was deteriorating. The government was under extreme pressure. As they are trying to forcibly evict people from their lands without rehabilitating them. Earlier, some half-hearted initiatives taken by the BJP government to put an end to this non violent people’s struggle has been ‘online tweets’ and sending non authorized people to convince Medha Patkar to break her fast. The governments only initiative so far in dealing the Narmada Bachao Andolan has been lies, lies and more lies.

Narmada Bachao Andolan
The police surrounded the venue of protest in Chikkalda village from all sides. They started tearing down the pandal and threatening people. They lathi-charged the venue with batons fitted with nails and forcibly lifted Medha Patkar and 5 others out of the 11 who were sitting on an indefinite hunger strike against forcible eviction without rehabilitation in the Narmada Valley to be caused due to illegally closing the gates of the Sardar Sarovar Dam. 
The police took them away and kept Medha Patkar in isolation at the Bombay Hospital, Indore while other protestors were kept in a government hospital. To dream about equality from this government is far fetched. People were not allowed to meet Medha. Chinmay Mishra and Bilal who were on a constant vigil at the hospital and trying to meet Medha were interrogated and harassed by the police. And yet, the MP government kept lying to media that Medha Patkar is not arrested and merely put into hospital as they are worried for their health.
The struggle must go on
Medha Patkar issued a statement minutes before she was brutally picked up from the dharna sthal.”Today, after 12 days of fast, the Madhya Pradesh government is repying to our indefinite strike only through police action. This is not a reply you give to a non-violent movement. In the reign of Modi, the regime of Shivraj Singh Chauhan, not a single dialogue has been initiated, they have only been playing with figures, only breaking laws, only use of force. Today they are here with police and tomorrow they plan to use water canons to disperse us.
This is the murder of Gandhi’s dreams in our country. They sitting on their thrones, they don’t follow Baba Saheb’s Constitution. They don’t care about communities, farmers, fisherfolk, farm workers, nobody. It is clear now. Wielding weapons, they threaten us a watery death, and we the protestors are coming between them and their plan. Now they’re saying break the fast and only then will talk, but we have sought dialogue so many times before and they never spoke, and so we are forced to sit on a fast. The non violent movement must go to its peak now. The society must answer. They are planning to unleash unparalleled destruction on the Narmada Valley. If Prime Minister Modi actually plans to inaugurate the Sardar Sarovar dam with thousands of pundits and pujaris and Chief Ministers of 12 states, it will only give weight to our fears of how they are trying to push development at huge human and environmental costs. People’s struggles against displacement happening around the country must draw new energy from the Narmada Bachao Andolan. Displacement is not acceptable anymore. The proponents of development must find alternatives.”
– Medha Patkar
Leader of Narmada Bachao Andolan and National Alliance of People’s Movements, speaking minutes before her arrest by Madhya Pradesh police who came to break her 12 day indefinite fast by force.

Pic: The batons fixed with nails which the police brought to disperse protestors.

Supreme Court to Not Interfere in The Ongoing Proceedings at Indore High Court, Monitoring Compliance of its February 8, 2017 Order.

NBA will continue its legal and ground fight till full justice is achieved to all in Narmada Valley

NBA will decide on continued indefinite fast of Medha Patkar and 21 others only after she is allowed full access in hospital. As of now she remains arrested in a Hospital in Indore.

New Delhi, August 8 :  The SLP filed by Bhagirath Dhangar and ors Vs State of MP came today for hearing. The matter was argued by Sh Fali Nariman, Sanjay Parikh and Prashant Bhushan. By order dated 08.02.2017, the Supreme Court had directed rehabilitation of the oustees; SC had also said that the oustees have to vacate, by 31.07.2017, otherwise forcible eviction will take place. As per the said order, entire R&R and work at the rehabilitation sites was to be completed. As R&R was not done as per SC judgments of 2000 and 2005 and the order dated 08.02.2017, some of the oustees had filed writ petition along with 602 interveners in HC Indore.

Against the interim order passed by the High Court, the oustees had filed the special leave petition. The SLP was filed against the orders dated 19.06.2017 and 13.07.2017. in the order dated 13.07.2017, the High Court had sought a report on status of rehabilitation, rehabilitation sites and had adjouned the matter to 01.08.2017.

Today, the Supreme Court at this stage decided not to interfere with the proceedings pending before the Indore High Court as it was against interim orders and the High Court is already monitoring the R&R. As a matter of fact when the writ petition came up for hearing on 01.08.2017, the HC adjourned it to 10.08.2017, as the SLP was listed today, on 08.08.2017. Now the High Court will continue to monitor R&R where the petition is listed for hearing on 10.08.2017

Narmada Bachao Andolan has complete faith in that justice will be done by the honourable judges of the Court.

After the violent attack and arrest by the MP govt on fasting protesters yesterday, till today the access to Medha Patkar in Indore hospital and Dharmendra Bhai, Pushpa behan and others at Dhar hospital is still restricted. NBA condemns this and demands immediate access. As of now the indefinite fast continues in hospital and also 10 new people have started fasting at the Chikalda village.

Only when Medha Ji and others are released and allowed full access to her colleagues, a decision on continuing indefinite fast will be undertaken after collective discussions.

We will continue to fight this until justice is done to the 40,000 families in the Narmada Valley.

Pic: Injured protestor at dharna sthal

New Delhi | August 08, 2017 : Today people across the country protested against the high handed action of MP Police of the Dhar and Badwani administration which used excessive force leaving 48 people injured, some of them were admitted to ICU in Badwani.

In Delhi, more than 50 protestors marched to the MP Bhavan and submitted the memorandum demanding immediate release of all the people from the hospital and allow them to discuss their next course of action. Also take action against the District Magistrate, SP and other officials responsible for the high handedness of the Police forces and initiate dialogue with the Narmada Bachao Andolan and solve the problems of the 40000 Saradar  Sarovar Dam affected families. With this, a delegation of Hannan Mollah (former MP), Yogendra Yadav (Swaraj Abhiyaan), Kavita Krishnan (AIPWA), Satyavan Ji (AIKKMS), Manimala Ji and Snehlata Shukla (DSG) submitted the memorandum to the Deputy Resident Commissioner and Joint Resident Commissioner under signed by more than 30 representatives of people’s organization. Shabnam Hashmi (ANHAD), Rajendra Ravi (NAPM), Sandeep Pandey (Socialist Party of India), Faisal Khan (Khudai Khidmatgar), Bhupendra Singh Rawat (Jan Sangharsh Vahini), Ramesh Sharma (SUCI (C)) and many others were part of the protest.

Madhuresh Kumar, National Convener, NAPM gave a brief account of yesterday incident and said that the Govt. have used these violent tactics before but we will keep our fight on. Since yesterday Medha Patkar and others admitted in Indore and Dhar hospitals respectively, with limited access. The Govt. has maintained that they are concerned about their health and they are only hospitalized. If they are hospitalized then shouldn’t they be treated like a normal patient with visitation rights by their colleagues, friends and, family? Govt. claim that they are concerned about their health would have meant that, all 12 should have been kept in the same hospital at least, but no, 9 of them are in Dhar district hospital and two Rukmani Bahan and Bhagwati Bahan were left at the Dharna site itself where they continue to fast.

Yogendra Yadav, expressed a serious concern and said that the we are asking very basic things, rehabilitation of all the affected people and on the issues, MP Govt. is lying all over and using forces on peaceful protestors. The movement has exposed the development model and given us courage to ask what development means for us?

Sandeep Pandey said that Govt. is not acting for the benefits of the people but as Gujarat Govt. destroyed the Sabarmati River, now the MP Govt. and Govt. of India are doing the same with people of Narmada Valley.

Kavita Krishnan extended her full solidarity to the people of Narmada Valley and said that she believes that the movement will fight out the atrocious govt and win the battle for the rights of people.

Satyavan Ji, Bhupendra Singh Rawat and many others also extended their solidarity to the Narmada Bachao Andolan and the people and asked strict actions against the brutal attack on the people happened yesterday evening.

We believe the whole use of force was to break their peaceful protest and there was no concern for their well being, otherwise Govt would have initiated dialogue much before this. Shivraj Singh’s claim to be a sensitive CM but it is not visible in your actions. Words don’t mean anything to us. We condemn the high handed action of police forces who came with baton fixed with nails. This is a serious violation of human rights of the people sitting on peaceful fast fighting against the illegal drowning of more than 40000 families in Narmada Valley.

Series of action protest demonstration all over the country and internationally:

1.      Rome, Italy : Representation made to Indian Ambassador

2.      Harare, Zimbabwe : Representation made to Indian Ambassador

3.      Representation made to UN Rapporteur on Housing

4.      Bengaluru, Karnataka : Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) and Green Brigade announced full pledged solidarity to Narmada Bachao Andolan and Medha Patkar.

5.      Tumkur, Karnataka : Protest demonstration by people of various organisations in support of NBA.

6.      Hyderabad, Telangana : Protest demonstration by Human Rights Forum and other organisations.

7.      Pune, Maharashtra : Rally by people in support to NBA by Lokayat, Rashtriya Seva Dal and other supporters.

8.      Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh : Silent Protest and Human Chain by sensitive people against the brutal attack of police forces on people of Narmada Valley.

9.      Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh : Solidarity fast against the arrest of Medha Patkar and people of Narmada Valley by NAPM and Joint Action committee, Varanasi.

10.  Bhubneshwar, Odisha : Protest in support of Narmada Valley by Lok Shakti Abhiyaan and NAPM, Odisha.

11.  Chikhalda, Dhar, Madhya Pradesh : Protest by students of Salsabeel Green School against arrest of Medha Patkar and others.

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