NBA Press Release
  01 August 2003
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Adivasis get Jail Instead of Rehabilitation; NBA Condemns Police high handedness; Demands Unconditional And Immediate Release

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-22464

Forty people, adivasis and activists, of NBA & PSS were arrested forcefully by Maharashtra police of Nandurbar district and sent to Dhule Jail. They are all being charged with offences committed under Sections 353 (obstructing public servant from performing his duty), 143 (member of an unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), etc. of Indian Penal Code. Earlier last night police misbehaved with the adivasis and activists by beating and harassing them and arrested all male members along with Pratibha Shinde the only woman among them.

All those people along with supporters and sympathizers were on a peaceful dharna-demonstration in front of the Nandurbar Collector office in protest against the callous attitude of Maharashtra government. The whereabouts of women and children numbering about 38 who were also with them, are yet to be known. Among the arrested include Sanjay Mahajan, Shyam Sonar, Chetan Salve, Pratibha Shinde, etc. It may be noted that in the name of rescuing from the rising waters, police arrested 74 people from the Village Chimalkhedi on 28th of July and later dumped them in Akkalkua tehsil of Nandurbar district of Maharashtra

Noorji Padvi, young adivasi activist from Chimmalkhedi is on an indefinite hunger strike from the very first day he was arrested from his village on 28th, demanding proper rehabilitation and the latest news is that his health is deteriorating. But the administration, instead of fulfilling his genuine grievance, resorted to use of force and used police to take him to hospital, in Dhule. He has refused to take any food even in the hospital.

The recent flood waters, which are due to human factors like dams, reached 108.3 meters at dam site and entered villages Manibeli, Dhankhedi, Dhanale, Mokhdi, Chimalkhedi, Bharad, Domkhedi, Nimgavan and other villages, and submerged thousands of acres of land with standing crops, exposing the false claim of the Maharashtra government and the NVDA that all affected persons at 100 meters had been rehabilitated.

On the opposite bank, waters have entered the fully adivasi villages of Alirajpur in M.P. submerging atleast two houses in Jalsindhi and one in Sugat and hundreds of acres of standing crops in villages Jalsindhi, Anjanwada, Kakrana, Jhadana, Bhitada, Dubkheda and Bada Amba. The water submerged many houses in both Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and the level at dam site is 107 m at present as there is no rain and release of water from upstream Tawa dam has stopped for the past two days.

Narmada Bachao Andolan strongly condemns the irresponsible and inhuman attitude of Maharashtra government and demands an immediate and unconditional release of everyone arrested. It also demands the government to direct the local administration to behave properly with affected people and fulfil their demands of properand just rehabilitation according to the report brought out by the government Task Force in Maharashtra.

Sanjay Sangvai