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

Hundreds Protest in Badwani Against Repressive Tactics of Madhya
Pradesh Government; People Vow to Resist Unjust Displacement and Face the

Jail Road, Mandleshwar
District Khargone, Madhya Pradesh
Tel: 07283-33162

Over five hundred villagers affected by the controversial Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) in the Narmada valley took out a protest march in Badwani on Monday (June 10) against the intimidatory and illegal tactics of the Madhya Pradesh government to displace them. They also opposed unjust act of forcibly taking possession of the house of the veteran social worker, Baba Amte in Chhoti Kasaravad. The people expressed solidarity with the Bhopal-based dharna of the Maan oustees and with the activists on the 20th day of indefinite fast, condemning the insensitive attitude of M.P. government.

After an impressive march from the main streets of the District headquarters, the villagers held a protest meeting at main square in the town. The village leaders and the activists made it clear that the Digvijay Singh government cannot suppress the people and they will resist the attempts to displace them with force and fraud. The villagers were joined by the 'Adivasi-Dalit Mukti Sangathan' in the area. Ms. Madhuri of the Sangathan made a plea for continued resistance to the attempts to make the tribals and farmers destitute in the name of development.

Medha Patkar made it clear that the oppressive policies in the Narmada valley are a part of Madhya Pradesh government's persecution of the people's struggles - of adivasis, farmers, workers and others - in the state and large-scale human rights violations for the past years. The state government has colluded with the Gujarat government for unjustly increasing the height of the SSP from 90 meters to 95 meters, thereby jeopardizing the lives and resources of 7000-8000 families. Denouncing that the M.P. government has flaunted the Constitutional duties of protecting the people's rights and rule of law, she declared that the people would face the repression and even unjust submergence, as the people will be launching Satyagraha in Domkhedi and Jalsindhi from June 30.

The rally demanded that the house of Baba Amte, 'Nij-Bal' must be handed back to 'Maharogi Seva Samiti', and all encroachments on it be removed. The members of the 'Baba Amte Residence Construction Committee', which was formed in 1990 to construct the house for him in Chhoti Kasaravad, also held a day-long dharna at the office of the District Collector of Badwani. They later met him, under the leadership of Dr. Prakash Yadav and Dilip Singh, to appraise of the illegalities and improprieties in locking the residence of Baba Amte.

Ashish Mandloi
Sanjay Sangvai