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The Hindu on indiaserver.com : Desperate attempts

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Monday, September 04, 2000


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Desperate attempts

Sir, - I was deeply disturbed by reports describing the Gujarat Government's attempts to curb the non-violent ``Saga of Narmada'' satyagraha in Domkhedi and Jalsindhi. The news items regarding the arrest of 5 activists on August 24 and 34 activists on August 25 that appeared in The Hinduindicate desperate attempts by the State Government to suppress the constitutional and democratic rights of the citizens.

More and more Indians from across different States and prominent personalities are beginning to espouse the cause of the people in the Narmada valley. Questions are being raised about the paradigm of development and the need for large dams given the cost-benefit analyses and the States' poor track record of relocating displaced people.

Fundamental questions are being asked about the legitimacy of displacement whatever its benefits may be to society. In raising these questions and congregating to show solidarity with the people in the valley, concerned citizens are only exercising their fundamental rights of movement and speech. Given the commitment that the activists have made to non-violent resistance, the detention of the activists under the garb of ``keeping peace and tranquillity'' amounts to a gross misuse of state powers.

Vijay Madhavan,

Virginia (U.S.)

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