Narmada activists allege police brutality
NEW DELHI, April 30
The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has demanded
immediate suspension of the Superintendent of Police and
Collector in the Narmada valley area in connection with the
alleged police brutalities on the protesters on April 22.
An independent enquiry into the matter has also been sought.
They have also demanded that the work on the Maheshwari
dam be immediately stopped besides urging the Madhya
Pradesh Government to carry on with the review process.
The NBA activists in a Press conference here today stated
that despite police brutalities, the people of the valley will
continue their protests unabated.
Describing the alleged police action on the peaceful
protesters, Mr Sanjay Sanvaai, an activist said that in the
early hours of April 22, over 5,000 men and women
descended on the dam site to protest against the
Without any provocation, the police and the administration
descended upon the area and the people were lathi-charged
and the mounted police caused severe injuries to the
demonstrators, he said. "The police beat the men mercilessly
while the women were molested, people were dragged into
the police vans and several of them have been detained by
the police unconstitutionally," Mr Sanvaai alleged. He said
that more than 30 people have been admitted in various
hospitals while 500 people have been arrested.
The Maheshwari project, the first privatised hydro-power
project in India has been given to M/s S. Kumars who-are
executing it in collaboration with multinational companies like
Asean Brown Boveri, Siemens and Pac-Gen.
The people in the Narmada valley have been opposing the
construction of the dam on the grounds that more than
25,000 peopIe will be displaced.
The NBA said that the people of the valley have been
betrayed as the government has gone back on its word to
review the construction of the dam. The review of the dam
was announced on Jan. 30 this year. The government did a
volte face in March and allowed the work on the dam to be
restarted, it said.
Mr Sanvaai said that the heavy police bandobast on the dam
site clearly shows that the state machinery is meant for
serving the purpose of private companies only.
"How long can they deter us by these heavy-handed tactics?
It is our land and we will continue to agitate against the move
to throw us out of it," he added.