| NBA Press Release
|| 28 December 2001
NCCL MISREPRESENTING EVEN THE COURT ORDER FOR DEFAMING NBA
NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
B-13, Shivam Flats
62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
The vilification campaign against NBA carried on by a so called civil liberties organisation, National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), is a desperate attempt by vested interests associated with the controversial Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), to suppress the NBA. It seems that, for these elements, the NBA has become an indomitable struggle by the project affected people against which they need to spend lakhs of rupees on the vulgarly defamatory advertisements in many national and regional dailies in M.P. and Maharashtra. After failing to convince the people, they are now resorting to unbelievably baseless court action and the false news about the court decision itself.
The recent news spread through the print media, based on the reporting by NCCL, Ahemdabad, says, 'Gujarat High Court has directed the Government of India to ban NBA'. If one reads the news carefully, High Court seems to have dismissed the case (which may be the reason for not issuing any notice to nor hearing NBA) on the ground that it was upto the Central Government decide whether to ban NBA or not. The High Court has not looked into the merits of the petition and has rather left it to GoI to look into the allegations. The Court has categorically referred to the criminal defamatory petition in the case filed by Medha Patkar in Delhi magistrate's court (Medha Patkar Vs. NCCL and Indian Express) as well.
When was the Government of India not free and permitted to use every law of the land including the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act' to ban the NBA or any of its activities? The so called 'allegations' about NBA being 'unregistered' shows the ignorance about the nature of people's movements in any democracy. The Freedom movement of India, led by Mahatma Gandhi too was not registered!
We assert that the NBA functions within the framework of the constitution and is ready to face any charges or action if anything it does is not just 'unlawful' but even 'unconstitutional'. In fact, the NBA has been challenging the state and the vested interests for their illegal, 'unlawful' and unconstitutional acts. Unfortunately for these vested interests, whether they are the government machinery or vested interests, the Constitution of India has granted freedom to form unions and associations and has permitted protest against any unjust decision and action, even by the State, including the judiciary.
The allegations in NCCL's petition, as reported in the news again, are as fake as in the advertisements appeared earlier. We did not receive a copy of that petition or even a simple intimation about the case ever. One particular piece of misinformation is about our 'non-participation' in anti-Enron struggle. According to the newspaper reports, the 'petition' contains allegaion regarding the "donation of the Enron company to NBA which was why the NBA did not fight against the Enron 'Thermal' Power Project"! Firstly, Enron Project was not a 'thermal power project'. Secondly, the NBA, alongwith other organizations in the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) have fought against the project and we were beaten and jailed too by the police and the goons. The NCCL has been indulging in spreading the misinformation and suppressing the facts. Or, it is simply ignorant of the facts. As far as NBA's account, we have always abided by the laws regarding the tax or exchange.
NBA will pursue the defamation petition against NCCL, and will continue to fight the injustice and destruction that will be caused by the SSP and other large dams. Our fight against the Globalisation and centralisation, causing the displacement and destruction through distorted development will also intensify further.Medha Patkar
Order of the High Court disposing NCCL's petition against the NBA