M-P villages scared after atrocities on protestors
NEW DELHI, May 29
Villagers of Jalud near Mandleshwar town in Madhya Pradesh are living
under constant fear after the brutal atrocities committed against women
demonstrators at Maheshwar hydel project site last month.
The village is on the river Narmada in the Khagone district and the villagers
were apprehensive that their land was under threat of submersion. They had
been protesting against the project for a long time, under the aegis of
Narmada Bachao Andolan.
As construction worker of the project resumed recently, without having
received the task force report, the affected villagers decided to launch a
satyagraha from April 22. According to the investigation team of the National
Commission for Women (NCW), the villagers led by women protesters sat
in a peaceful satyagraha at the construction site since early morning despite
the fact that Section 144 was imposed there.
Speaking at a Press meet here today, the demonstrators who were caught in
the 'violent exercise of power' by the police and administration, charged the
Collector with using undue repression measures.
Despite the fact that there were women policemen, present although in a very
small number policemen 'manhandled' the women protesters. They resorted
to "ugly and merciless mischieves" of pulling and pushing the women
demonstrators from the site and throwing away their belonging
The demonstrators were also allegedly beaten up and as a consequence in
many cases the sarees and blouses of the women demonstrators tore up.
While they were being pushed inside the buses to be taken to the jail, many
women lost their jewellery during the jostling.
Men and women were housed together in the Maheshwar jail for several
days. As many as 366 women along with 329 men were kept in this jail.
The day after this incident, a fresh batch of men and women collected at the
dam site. As they were entering the area, it is claimed, the police became
aggressive and started beating them up.
Along with the Special Task Force police, the cops started hurling sexual
abuses before using teargas shells and firing in the air to disperse the crowd.
"Finally many men and women were driven into the river and were arrested
from an island where they had taken refuge", said the NCW investigation
The violence on this day was more severe than the previous day Many
demonstrators had to be hospitalised, in all 29 women and 224 men were
kept in Khargone jail.