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The Hindu on : NBA welcomes SC decision

Online edition of India's National Newspaper on
Sunday, October 17, 1999

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NBA welcomes SC decision

By Our Special Correspondent

BARODA, OCT. 16. Stung by the Supreme Court's severe criticism of Ms. Medha Patkar and Ms. Arundhati Roy, the Narmada Bachao Andolan reacted guardedly, welcoming the apex court's decision against taking up any contempt proceedings against the NBA leaders.

Ms. Patkar, who was in Mumbai, and other NBA leaders only felt hurt at the three-judge Bench's criticism, claiming that they were not heard by the apex court before expressing their anguish over allegedly ``misleading the public''. The NBA leaders denied having made any conscious attempt to mislead the people or project an incorrect picture about the apex court's handling of the case.

The Gujarat Government officials were delighted over the Supreme Court's tongue-lashing of the NBA leaders and hoped the Andolan would learn a lesson from it and henceforth refrain from interfering with the construction of the dam. The Government also urged the apex court to dispose of the case at the earliest to allow resumption of work on the dam.

Satyagraha called off

Meanwhile, the four month-long `satyagraha' by the NBA against the Sardar Sarovar Project was called off with the end of the monsoon.

A spokesperson of the NBA claimed that the satyagraha, during which Ms. Patkar and others had threatened to drown themselves in the swirling backwaters of the Sardar Sarovar dam, had received overwhelming support from the people affected by the project in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, besides receiving international acclaim for the cause.

The satyagraha at Domkhedi and Jalsindhi, the first two villages in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh respectively to be submerged if the dam height were to be increased further, dared the concerned Governments to go ahead with the ``unjust construction'' and concluded with the commitment that the `Samarpit Dal' would return again and again to sacrifice its lives if the construction were not stopped immediately.

Besides representatives from various organisations in Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, West Bengal and other States, Mr. Sergio Oceransky, represented the People's Global Action (PGA) at the satyagraha, expressing solidarity with the cause.

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