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NBA Press Note                                 3 August, 1999

ARUNDHATI ROY'S "RALLY FOR THE VALLEY" REACHES JALSINDHI

The "Rally for the Valley" organised by noted writer and booker prize winner Arundhati Roy in support of Narmada Bachao Andolan's ongoing Satyagraha, against unjust displacement and submergence, at Jalsindhi (Madhya Pradesh) and Domkhedi (Maharashtra) reached the satyagraha site late yesterday evening. Starting early yesterday morning from Bhavaria (an SSP affected village in M.P. where they spent the night) by buses, trucks and jeeps, numbering not less than 500 people (including some local affected people), all the rallyists passed through Alirajpur, Kakrana, Bhakatgarh and Mathwad (all in Madhya Pradesh) before reaching Jalsindhi.

Arundathi Roy and many others preferred to walk by foot to understand the seriousness of the issue in depth and extend their support to the tribals who always travel by foot, about 4-5 hours from Mathwad and part of the rally including some old people travelled by boat to Jalsindhi. All the rallyists were warmly welcomed by the villagers and satyagrahis including Medha Patkar at Jalsindhi, who were eagerly waiting for the arrival of the rally. There will be public meetings, etc. at both Jalsindhi and Domkhedi till today afternoon before returning to Indore.

It may be noted that for the past two days, Gujarat government had made a big hue and cry by camping about 200 police personnel including the Baroda Rural S.P. and District Collector at various places between Kawant and Hafeshwar. There were also about 70-80 pro-dam vested interests taking out a rally at Kadipani yesterday (2.8.99) evening, shouting slogans against NBA.

The Narmada Bachao Andolan strongly condemn the highhanded and paranoid behaviour of the Gujarat government since there was no plan for the rally to come through Kawant and Hafeshwar. The NBA and the organisers of the rally had announced time and again that their route to Jalsindhi will be through Kakrana in M.P. and not through Hafeshwar. The Gujarat government and the pro-dam vested interests, as usual, have been raising the non-issue and have been trying to whip up frenzy in Gujarat for no reason. That has always been the modus operendi of the vested interests and fascist forces in Gujarat.

M.K.Sukumar for Narmada Bachao Andolan.