NBA Press Release
  20 August 2001
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Submergence Water Enters Narmada Satyagraha Hut on August 16
Satyagrahis Firm for 6 Hours: People Chase Away Police

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The rising Narmada waters due to the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) entered in the Satyagraha house for the first time this year at Domkhedi on the 16th of August, 2001 at midnight. But the Satyagrahis including Medha Patkar, Dadlya Karbhari, Ulyabhai and other activists and village leaders did not move out and stayed firm for over six hours in the knee-deep water, as a mark of the resolve to oppose the unjust dam and displacement.

The Narmada waters were rising from 16th morning, due to the increased construction upto 90 meters of the dam, which was further aggravated by the release of large amount of water from upstream Bargi dam. The people in the valley had already resolved not to move but to face the water and they stayed firmly in the Satyagraha hut. The people also stopped the police barges near Domkhedi and made them to retreat as they declared their opposition to any sham act of ^A'rescuing and arresting' the satyagrahis, without addressing the basic issues that led to the people to face the submergence water.

The Submergence also wrecked destruction of houses and fields in the tribal villages of Maharashtra and M.P.

Many people from adjacent villages joined the Satyagrahis at Domkhedi in solidarity of their determination by singing songs and shouting slogans. On the following day, August 17th, the water stopped rising and slowly started receding. However, it is likely to rise again and an early submergence is expected in the valley as more water is to be released from the Bargi dam, as is learnt from the sources. According to the people in the plains of Nimad (M.P) an alert had been sounded in the villages on the banks of the Narmada in M.P, regarding such a possibility.

During the course of the rising of water the people, at the leadership of headman, Dadlya Karbhari, Ulyabhai, the police patel and all the locals resolved again not to move but to stand still if submergence were to come, to protest against the injustice inflicted upon them.

Police Barges Stopped

In continuation of their August 14th declaration of 'Adivasi Self Rule' (Hamare Gaum mein hamara Raj) in the valley, the people of the valley confronted and turned away the police force, which had come in two huge barges in the Khad river (a tributary of Narmada). Sensing that the police were likely to arrest the Satyagrahis, the Adivasis decided to prevent the police or any officials into their villages, unless they had something new to talk regarding the Justice Daud Committee Report on Maharashtra displacement which was released recently. The people blocked way of police barges with their small boats (dungis) and two motorboats on 16th afternoon. People were carrying mashals (torches) and were shouting slogans. The Jeevan Shala children from Nimgavhan shouted at the police from opposite bank, asking them to go back.

During the Satyagraha in the monsoon of 1999, the satyagrahis confronted the submergence water three times. They were determined to face the unjust submergence and were unmoved even in neck-deep water. The Maharashtra police entered through barges in the villages and after much resistance, arrested the Satyagrahis and kept them in the jail for over fifteen days.

This year, the Satyagrahis were determined to prevent the police and arrests as it is used by the government to sidetrack the basic issues of life and rights of the people.

Clifton D'Rozario
Joe Athialy
Sanjay Sangvai