NBA Press Release
  10 June 2002
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Baba Amte's House in Chhoti Kasarvad Forcibly Taken Over With Connivance of MP Government: Nimad People Protest in Face of Police

NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
Jail Road, Mandleshwar
District Khargone, Madhya Pradesh
Tel: 07283-33162
Email: nobigdam@sancharnet.in

As a part of intimidating the Sardar Sarovar dam affected people to vacate the villages, the Madhya Pradesh government has now 'locked' the residence of veteran social worker, Baba Amte at Chhoti Kasaravad, in the Nimad area in the Narmada valley. Baba Amte, who is at present in Anandvan, in a letter to the District Collector, termed this act as, "mean, disgusting and unjust" and hoped that there would be no impediments when he returns to his residence in the Narmada valley.

The M.P. and Gujarat government are bent upon raising the height of the SSP upto 95 meters and hundreds of policepersons have already arrived in the villages in the Nimad area of SSP affected region of M.P. to forcibly displace the people, against all the percepts of law and justice. On this backdrop, on June 9, the administration got Baba Amte's residence 'Nij-Bal', forcibly closed. The government acted through one Tulsiram Gilya, a local person working as an agent of the administration, and his band. He threatened with serious consequences if the place was not vacated, forced out the 78-year old caretaker, Gangaram baba Yadav and put his own lock on the premises.

A delegation of eminent citizens of Badwani and members of 'Baba Amte Nivas construction committee' met the Superintendent of Police to protest against this attack and lodged a complaint on the incident. People from the nearby villages of Narmada valley rushed to Nij-Bal and started a Dharna to keep vigil. At evening, eminent citizens condemned the inaction of district administration over such a serious incident and met the District Collector asking him to immediately intervene.

Thousands of people from villages took out a rally in Badwani on Monday (June 10), in protest of the fraudulent displacement and incident at Baba Amte's residence.

Nij-Bal

Nij-Bal (soul force) - the center on the bank of Narmada where Baba stayed for more than 11 years, before going to Anandvan, and stand in solidarity with struggling people affected by Inchampalli Dam (A.P. - Mahahrashtra) - is affected at the height of 95 m. The center came into existence in the year 1990, when citizens of Badwani formed a committee to construct it by voluntary donations from people. On 6th March 1990, Baba moved from his previous ashram to live on Narmada's banks, to lend his presence and his prestige to Andolan. The center was later was handed over to Maharogi Seva Samiti, Warora, Maharashtra. The Samiti has made many developments and greened the area, by investing money and efforts. This place has been a meeting place for the social activists, experts and even the political leaders including the Ministers like Menaka Gandhi and others, state and central officials, leaders, including the Chief Minister Digvijay Singh and Deputy Chief Minister, Subhash Yadav. It has become a inspirational place for initiating many new ideas and

In the monsoon of 1994, the rising waters of Narmada flooded 'Nijbal' and Baba was rescued by boat.. On 4th September 2001, Baba formed a committee to look after the center and run it with an espoused mission of Navnirman. Digvijay Singh was a witness to this when he had come to bid farewell to Baba. People of Nimad and Narmada valley performed Satyagrah against the illegal submergence with their resolve 'Dubenge par Hatenge nahi' at Nijbal last year. Telephone and electricity connection of the center is also on Baba's name till date.

When the notice was served under the clause 9 of Land Acquisition Act, for the acquisition of this land/center, a written complaint against it's acquisition was filed. Without holding any sort of hearing NVDA and local administration passed an award on the name of person who attacked the center yesterday. It is clear from the manner of attack that district administration is acting hands in gloves with the repress that what does this attack and illegal possession of the center aim for, and where the orders are coming from. It is not just an attack on a center, but an attack on the Andolan as such and a desperate attempt of State forces to crush the center of Navnirman and Satyagraha.

Baba Amte's Reaction

Baba Amte is now in Anandvan in Maharashtra, the institution fighting against the scourge of leprosy for many decades. He has been there for last some months mainly because of ill health of his wife, Mrs. Sadhana Amte. He has also got involved there in a struggle against controversial Inchampalli Dam.

In a letter to the Collector of Badwani, from Anandvan, Baba Amte flayed the action as arbitrary, unjust and repressive and hoped that he would face no impediments when he would return to Chhoti Kasaravad.

The Narmada Bachao Andolan condemns this impropriety and repressive action of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister. We appeal to the social, political workers, leaders, parties, organizations and intellectuals to oppose this move and compel the Chief Minster of Madhya Pradesh to stop the intimidatory tactics to displace the people, and to stop unjust submergence of the well-settled villages in Madhya Pradesh.

Devram Kanera
Kamala Yadav
Ashish Mandloi
Medha Patkar