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Thursday , October 12 , 2000
     
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Police wait in vain for Patkar's agitation

EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE


VADODARA, OCT 11: Police remained on their toes on Wednesday following reports that Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar was to lead demonstrations in Dediapada and Sagbara in the Narmada district. Patkar, however, did not turn up.

Only in August, Patkar had turned up all of a sudden in Rajpipla to organise a protest against harassment of villagers by forest officials. The protest was staged despite the bandobast.

To avoid such an embarrassment, since Tuesday afternoon six deputy superintendents of police, eight inspectors, 25 sub-inspectors, over 500 constables, and 150 home guards have been deployed in the Narmada district.

The Sardar Sarovar Dam site has been secured, and police blockades have been set up on all routes to the dam, including those through reserve forest areas. Police said no NBA activist had been arrested till Wednesday night.

Kevadia Police Station sources said bandobast would continue till further orders. Senior officers kept watch in areas from where Patkar had been able draw tribals for the Rajpipla agitation.

NBA sources told Express Newsline late on Wednesday that its sympathisers were being harassed by the police. A group of law students who had come from Bangalore were detained by the police for no reason. NBA said anybody coming from Maharashtra side was being halted and their credentials checked. NBA said there was no law that prevented Patkar's visiting the region and that as such Patkar had no plans to visit the area. However, both the police and NBA refused to give more details.

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