Nationwide condemnation of the shameful act of the Government of arresting
the adivasis affected by the Man project.
All the arrested adivasis fast on the 3rd day in jail.
Big dams like the Man project are the cause of drought
People from all over the country have strongly condemned and criticized the
appalling act of the State government of arresting Man project-affected
adivasis on the 21st of March. A number of people including eminent
personalities have written to the Chief Minister demanding the
unconditional release of the arrested adivasis. They have also demanded
that the government immediately undertake the task of rehabilitating the
affected adivasis as per the policy. Today, the third day in jail, the
adivasis, in condemnation of their arrest and the imminent submergence
being forced on them by the government without any rehabilitation
whatsoever, declared a total fast. In Mandleshwar, hundreds of men and
women affected by the Maheshwar Project took out a rally, expressing their
solidarity with the adivasis and strongly protesting the State government's
callous and irresponsible attitude towards those displaced by large projects.
Today was the third day in jail for the 213 adivasi men and women arrested
from the Man Project site. The callous nature of the State still persists.
Filing false complaints, the government, today, booked new cases against
Sushri Chittaroopa Palit, Bhuwansingh Sarpanch, Bondaribai, Urmila Patidar,
Bhagwan Mukati along with 11 others. The State has also falsely reported
that the adivasis had resorted to stone throwing on the dam site. This is
absolutely false since the Andolan had remained peaceful throughout the
protest. In protest of the harassing nature of the State, its false
accusations and the fact that no rehabilitation has been taken up, the
adivasis in jail decided to observe a day of fast with the warning that if
they were not released unconditionally soon they would be forced to
undertake an indefinite fast.
Protesting the police action on the adivasis and the treatment meted out to
those displaced by the Man Project, hundreds of men and women affected by
the Maheshwar project took out a rally in Mandleshwar and submitted a
strong letter of disapproval to the local government authorities. They have
warned the government that if the adivasis were not unconditionally
released immediately then the entire Narmada Valley will be forced to rise
in struggle against the State's atrocities. A similar protest has been
planned in Kukshi tomorrow by Ekta Parishad and those affected by the
Sardar Sarovar Project.
Eminent people, Peoples organizations and others from different corners of
the country have written protest letters to Shri Digvijay Singh. Retired
Justice Shri. Ravi Kumar Jain, Advocate in the Supreme Court Shri Rajeev
Shukla, Ex-Commissioner of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and
Tribes Shri B.D. Sharma, Socialist leader Shri Surendra Mohan and Shri
Kiskan Patnayak, National Secretary of 'Lok Swatantr Sanghatan' Shri
Rajendra Sayal among others have written to Shri Digvijay Singh condemning
the atrocities on adivasis and demanding their immediate unconditional
release. They have demanded that the Man Project should be immediately
stopped and land based rehabilitation of the affected adivasis be undertaken.
The government claims that the irrigation benefits from the Man Project
will help a large area prosper. However the surveys carried out in the
proposed command area of the Man Project, by the State government appointed
'Task Force' has brought forth surprising findings. The ' Task Force'
comprised of senior government officials and experts and was chaired by
Shri Sharad Chandra Behar, ex-Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh. According
to the official report on Man Project, 54% of the proposed command area is
already irrigated by the efforts of the local farmers themselves, while out
of the remaining 46%, about half of the land is severely undulating and not
suited for irrigation and the remaining 23% can be irrigated by cheaper and
less damaging, de-centralized ways. For the above 'profits' is it
beneficial to submerge 17 villages and their fertile lands and displace
thousands of adivasis besides spending crores of rupees. Instead of
adopting de-centralized projects to make drinking water and irrigational
facilities available, the government insists on getting huge amounts of
money stuck in large ineffectual projects such as the Man Project forcing
the people to face drought.
Narmada Bachao Andolan believes that when it is proven in the world that
large dams are destructive from every point of view, Social, Economic and
Environmental, it is the people with selfish aims, the politicians,
contractors and engineers who are pushing the ideology of big dams forward.
We challenge the government to come on a common public platform to prove
the so-called 'benefits' from the Man Project. If the government refuses to
do so, it is clear that they do not have any facts to back them up.
Narmada Bachao Andolan reiterates its demand that the arrested adivasis
should be immediately released unconditionally, the project should be
stopped and the land based rehabilitation of the adivasis be undertaken
immediately. If this does not happen then the struggle for justice will
have to be intensified.