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The Hindu on indiaserver.com : Tension mounts as rally takes water route

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Monday, August 02, 1999


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Tension mounts as rally takes water route


By Gargi Parsai

KASRAWAD, (Badwani, MP) AUG. 1. Tension is mounting for the Madhya Pradesh administration here, as the `Rally for the Valley' takes a four- and-a-half hour water route to Jalsindhi, where Ms. Medha Patkar, is on a satyagraha along with people affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project.

The Narmada is in spate due to the monsoon and the water is rising. The rallyists, comprising author Ms. Arundhati Roy and several other prominent people, have not sought the administration's help.

The number of accompanying police vans has grown since Saturday and the women police and the State Intelligence agencies have also been monitoring the rally giving rise to speculation that there might be some arrests.

The extra security is because of the world media attention the rally has been drawing.

The land route to Jalsindhi, about 200 km from here, is not available to the rallyists, as part of it falls in Gujarat, where reportedly Section 144 has been imposed in some areas en route.

`Pied Piper' Arundhati Roy's vehicle was stopped at every single village on its way to Baba Amte's ashram at Kasrawad here. Greeting the author, Baba Amte, said, ``Saraswati has come to Narmada today.'' He reminded Ms. Roy of her role as an architect in a film which he had seen and asked her to carry on the good work in connection with Narmada.

The Baba refrained from commenting on the Supreme Court's observations on contempt in the Narmada matter, and said it is the contempt of people. He said the Narmada movement is about peoples' empowerment. It signifies a change in the lifestyle. ``Victory is his, who even in defeat never surrenders and so victory will be the peoples.''

Asked about the reported decision of Ms. Medha Patkar and others for `jal samarpan' if the Sardar Sarovar Dam project is not reviewed, Baba Amte said: ``As she is the captain of the ship she should not drown.


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