BABA AMTE INVITES PRESIDENT OF INDIA TO VISIT NARMADA VALLEY TO
UNDERSTAND DISPLACEMENT AND SUBMERGENCE: KASARAVAD SATYAGRAHA LAUNCHED
People Lambast Vilification Campaign By Jamuna Devi and NCCL-Challenge to
Veteran social activist, Baba Amte launched the Narmada Satyagraha on
Monday, July 9 against the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) with an
invitation to the President Mr. K.R. Narayanan to visit Narmada valley
and see the abysmal situation of submergence and displacement. He was
addressing over 2500 representatives of villagers and supporters of the
Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) gathered near his house Nijbal on the
Narmada banks in Madhya Pradesh. Earlier, similar Satyagraha was launched
in the downstream villages of Domkhedi-Jalsindhi on July 5.
Baba Amte made it clear that this year's monsoon will be devastating due
to the illegalities by the vested interests and due to the distorted
vision of the development. He expressed the resolve that the people will
not be intimidated by such submergence and they would confront the
situation bravely. It should be noted that the submergence waters reached
upto Baba Amte's house in the monsoon of 1994, when the height of the
dam was 69 meters. Now the dam stands at 93 meters.
"The people in the Narmada valley will not allow the basic rights to be
submerged. They have fought for that for last 16 years and will stake
their lives to protect their life and rights", said Medha Patkar,
braving the torrential rains. "The issues raised by the NBA have been
for the equality and sustainable development and are a part of the
movements throughout the nation for an alternative and people-centered
politics of development". She explained the crass illegalities and
injustice done by the authorities to take up the work on the dam upto 93
meters and displace the people with the threat of submergence. She also
criticized the role of the Indian Supreme Court for condoning and
encouraging such injustice and illegal acts.
Booker Prize winner litterateur, Arundhati Roy declared that she is fully
with the people's movement.
Senior Gandhian activist, Siddharaj Dhadda said that, "The Satyagraha is
not confined to only a dam, but it is a struggle against the injustice,
corruption and destruction- both at the hands of government and
judiciary. It is against the forces of globalization". Socialist
ideologue Surendra Mohan, senior educationist Jyotibhai Desai, renowned
crusader and critique from Maharashtra, Ms. Pushpa Bhave, feminist
journalist Ms. Vidya Bal, Sanjay M.G. ( National Coordinator, NAPM), Mr.
Vijay Asher from Saurashtra (Gujarat) and number of activists from
Kerala, Maharashtra, M.P. , Bengal and other parts participated in the
meeting. Kamla Patidar ( Maheshwar), Banabai ( Veda) and others also
The people and activists in the Narmada valley at this juncture
challenged the defamation campaign being carried out by the pro-dam
elements. Nimad leaders, Kashiram Kaka, Nanaksingh Gandhi, octogenarian
Mangilal Vyas and senior activist, Alok Agrawal lambasted the Madhya
Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Ms. Jamuna Devi and NGOs like National
Committee for Civil Liberties (NCCL) for making baseless allegations on
NBA and challenged to prove them. They asserted that the people^Òs
movement has been thriving on the door-to-door contributions from the
people in the valley and the supporters in India. Incidentally, the fund
collection drive is currently on in the nearby towns of Badwani, Anjad
and other areas in the valley.
Despite the torrential rains in the Nimad region, villagers from the
plains of Nimad and from the tribal villages, alongwith the
representatibves of the dam-affected people in Veda, Man, Goi and
Maheshwar attended Monday's programme. Earlier, another leg of the
Satyagraha against the submergence and displacement in Mann dam in the
Narmada valley was launched on July 2.