NBA Press Release
  14 April 2002
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Day long dharna and fast at Mandleshwar on Ambedkar Jayanthi

NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
Jail Road, Mandleshwar
District Khargone, Madhya Pradesh
Tel: 07283-33162
Email: nobigdam@sancharnet.in

Today, activists of the Narmada Bachao Andolan and representatives from the villages affected by the Maheshwar dam organized a program of a day long dharna and fast in Mandleshwar on the occasion of the Ambedkar Jayanti. The program began with garlanding the statue of Baba Saheb and with slogans such as Baba Saheb Amar Rahe. Senior activists of the Andolan, Urmila Patidar , Khuman Singh and Jagdishbhai spoke on the occasion. They said that this program organized in the memory of Baba Saheb Ambedkar was being held with two objectives. Baba Saheb was the maker of the Indian Constitution and had worked all his life for the rights and dignity of the Dalits, women and to resolve the problems of this nation.

The other objective of today's program was to condemn the continuing violence in Gujarat where hundreds of innocent people are being killed every day. This is extremely distressing. The Narmada Bachao Andolan held its one day dharna and fast to speak out against this violence and conflict and to give a message of peace, to say that whether we are Hindus or Muslims, Sikhs or Christians, we have to live together with harmony in this country. This is the dream of free India and the Indian Constitution, as well as that of the maker of this constitution- Babasaheb Ambedkar. This is also our dream.

All day there were discussions on various national problems and questions of Dalit affirmation. At five in the evening, the people sitting on fast and dharna read out together "We, the people of India..." and reaffirmed their resolve to stand by the spirit and the letter of the Preamble to the Indian Constitution. Earlier, the Dalit youth from Mandleshwar also joined the one day dharna of the Narmada Bachao Andolan after taking out a rally in Mandleshwar under the leadership of Corporator Kamlesh Bhargava and Vinodbhai from the town.

In the end the gathered people called on all Indian people to uproot communal hatred and disharmony from its very roots, and to struggle to establish and create a society based on equality, secularism, respect for all religions and democratic social values. A society in which the dignity and the Right to Life of every single human being is respected. A resolution was also passed to condemn the recent violence in the Sabarmati ashram in Ahmedabad, home to Mahatma Gandhi, wreaked on members of the media and the senior activist of the Narmada Bachao Andolan Ms. Medha Patkar. In light of the violence that has taken place in Gujarat in the last one month and in the recent incident, the gathering demanded the removal of the Modi government and punitive action against all erring government officials.

Antar Kewat, Village Lepa