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Updated 02:00 IST[Late CityMonday, August 2, 1999, New Delhi
 

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Gujarat bans Arundhati, others' entry
HT Correspondent (Ahmedabad, August 1)

Booker prize winner Arundhati Roy being greeted as she visits Parthrad village in M-P on Saturday. She is opposing the Narmada project which is likely to displace 60 villages. Photo: AP
HARDENING ITS stand against the anti-Narmada activists, the Gujarat Government has banned the Booker prize winner author Arundhati Roy and nearly 250 other artists and scholars from entering the State at Hapeshwar, where the mighty river is now flowing at high level.

Ms Arundhati Roy, who has almost hijacked the Narmada Bachao Andolan from the noted environmentalist Medha Patkar, is currently leading a march called “Rally for the Valley” in protest against the construction of the multi-purpose dam on the river Narmada. Starting from Indore in Madhya Pradesh, the “Rally for the Valley” is on its way to Jalsindhi and Domkhedi villages that would be submerged in the Narmada waters following raising of the dam height under a Supreme Court order.

The Gujarat Government has banned the entry of the rallyists on the plea that the river is swollen at this time of the year and crossing the river by boat could be detrimental to their safety. Several pro-dam NGOs of Gujarat have also assembled at the Chhotaudepur Taluka of Vadodara district in a bid to counter the high pitch campaign against the dam by the Narmada Bachao Andolan. The authorities in Gujarat do not rule out a confrontation between the pro and anti-Narmada Dam activists once the celebrity author led “Rally for the Valley” crossed the Narmada river to enter Gujarat territory.

Meanwhile, in a comic relief to a serious episode, former Chief Minister Chabildas Mehta has said that he would host a feast for 1,001 Brahmins if Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar indeed attains her “Jal Samadhi” as threatened.

In a statement, he has said that the feast for the 1,001 Brahmins would ensure that she would not get rebirth as human being to oppose human development projects like the Narmada Dam.


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