Chief Justice (Retd.), High Court of Delhi, New Delhi
UN Special Rappoerteur on Housing,
Member, U.N. Sub-Commission on Prevention of
Discrimination and Protection of Minorities (Ex.),
President, Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) India (Ex.)
23rd August 2000
I have come here today on the invitation of Medha Patkar and others on behalf of the Narmada Bachao Andolan. I have been invited to attend the "Saga of Narmada" organized by activists and victims of displacement, due to the Sardar Sarovar Dam, on August 24 morning at Domkhedi (Maharashtra), to share their agony and pain of the inhuman displacement violating the internationally recognized Human Rights Covenants and to which India is a ratifying party.
I am given to understand that the police here have been given orders to detain my colleagues and me when we leave Baroda for Domkhedi tomorrow morning. No law has been shown under which this action is proposed. We are not breaking any law. We are only exercising our fundamental right of movement and free speech, inspite of the police warning not to do so. If inspite of our wanting to exercise our basic rights peacefully and within law, any of us are detained, arrested or prevented from moving, it will amount to criminal offence of restraint and wrongful confinement. In that case we make it clear that we shall bring criminal complaint against the highest of political personnel and of the police administration in a Court of Law.
Threat of arrest will not deter us. That strength we reiterate, more so in the state of father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi.Rajindar Sachar