The Narmada Jan Andolan activists, led by Shetkari Shangathana leader Sharad Joshi, this morning succeeded in performing a token 'Kar Sewa' dodging the Gujarat Government's tight security all along the route to the disputed dam site.
Mr Sharad Joshi, former Union Minister Urmilaben Patel, former State Finance Minister Sanat Mehta, former Youth Congress president Satyajit Gaekwad and more than two dozen other pro-dam activists were taken into custody soon afterwards, and whisked away to
the Circuit House at Rajpipla, the headquarters of the newly-created Narmada district.
This is the first time that a government in Gujarat, where the pro-dam sentiments cut across all parties and ideological lines, has opposed an agitation strongly favouring the Dam. Despite the unprecedented police arrangement at and around the dam site,
the Narmada Jan Andolan activists were able to reach near the main canal head by walking through the night via forest land using various means of transport, including jeeps, horses and simple trekking. Later, talking to newsmen Narmada Jan Andolan leader
Sharad Joshi said that their success in reaching near the dam site confirms that it would be possible for any miscreant to reach the dam site and damage it.
He alleged that the estimated two lakh farmers from all over the country could not reach the dam site as the police had ruthlessly crushed the agitation for the dam. At many more places like Devaliya, Tilakwada,and Dabhoi, the agitators were either stopped
or taken into custody. In Dabhoi, Congress MLA Siddhartha Patel along with his supporters was arrested when they tried to proceed to the dam site.
The scene at the dam site resembled a war zone with policemen taking positions on barricades erected at every possible road junction. But the agitators chose a route through the villages to reach the canal head to pour buckets of water into the canal.