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M-P police used 'too much force against women protesters' - [June 18,1998] - The Hindustan Times
June 18,1998
New Delhi


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M-P police used 'too much force against women protesters'
JABALPUR, June 17 (UNI)

The police behaved like a 'private force' when it broke a women's demonstration against construction on the Maheshwar Hydel Dam in Khargone district this April, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has said.

A three-member NCW team led by Dr Saieda Saiyadian Hamid, which probed the alleged use of force and arrest of women demonstrators at the project site, said the private company executing the project should not be required to bear the expenses incurred on deployment of police at the dam site.

"The police should not be allowed to behave like a private force against the people", It said.

Heavy force was used against people staging a peaceful demonstration at the project ate, the report said.

The communion asked the Madhya Pradesh Government to initiate a time-bound judicial probe Plaint officials involved in the April 22 incident and to implement its earlier order suspending construction till a task force reviewing the project submitted its report.

The commission also recommend a compensation of Rs 500 each to demonstrators who were arrested and Rs 5,000 to women who lost their jewellery or were hospitalised.

This was not the first instance of excessive use of force in Khargone district, it noted and said incidents like these are a big setback to empowerment of women.

The commission also urged the government to put into a place an adequate rehabilitation programme, without waiting for an agitation from the displaced people.

Activists from the Narmada Bachao Andolan should be involved in this process, the commission suggested. Affected people in the region held protests throughout last year but met with little success, it said.

Consequently, the protesters took over the dam site in January this year forcing the government to order a review and suspension of construction. However, later this year, the government permitted the private company to build a safety wall, triggering further demonstrations, the report added.