NBA Press Release
  06 November 2008
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Massive Demonstration by the People Displaced by Narmada Dams

2, Sai nagar, Mata Chowk,
Khandwa,
Madhya Pradesh
Tel/FAX: 0733-2228418, 9425394606, 9425928007
Email: nobigdams[at]sancharnet.in

Declaration of Struggle until the Last Breath

Candidates in M.P. State Election will have to answer to the Concerns of the Displaced

A massive demonstration was held in Khandwa by thousands of people affected by dams in the Narmada valley. In the "Displaced Peoples' Right and Dignity Maha-Rally" (Visthapit Adhikar aur Swabhiman Maharally) organized under the banner of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), around 20,000 people affected by Indira Sagar, Onkareshwar, Maan, Upper Veda, Bargi and other dams marched in Khandwa. The people declared that they will fight till the last breath and demanded that all candidates standing in the upcoming state assembly elections in the Narmada valley regions will have to clarify their stand about the rights of the displaced people. Representatives from many peoples' organizations from different parts of the state and country participated in this Maha-Rally.

Charul and Vinay, activists and celebrated singers from Gujarat, and Amit bhai and the adivasi children of Adharshila Shala of Sendhwa rocked the entire assembly with their songs of struggle and peace.

The rally passed through the main streets and the city of Khandwa reverberated with its resonance. The sea of affected women, men and children raised slogans about their rights with blue flags in their hands. A huge public meeting was held in the city stadium after the rally.

Addressing the public meeting, Alok Agarwal of NBA said that the entire Narmada valley has come together in a single chain. He said that the displaced people from the valley have pledged that they will no longer tolerate falsehood, oppression and injustice, and will fight for and take their due rights. The force of this uprising of people in the Narmada valley will prove to be a milestone in the history of peoples' fight for human rights.

Chittraroopa Palit, activist of NBA, said that the rights of farmers over land and of labourers over the fishing and draw-down rights in the reservoirs will have to be given otherwise the affected people will go back and reclaim their original lands and prevent private contractors from fishing in the reservoirs. She said that the affected people are determined to stop the arbitrariness, tyranny and oppression of the Madhya Pradesh Government, Narmada Hydro Development Corporation, and establish the rule of justice in the Narmada valley. This way the people will challenge corporate rule in this country, whether it is Union Carbide or NHDC or S. Kumars. The companies are exploiting and destroying the waters and lands of this country and subordinating human survival to their super profits. But everywhere the ordinary people of this country are challenging them. Activists of the Anti-Coca Cola struggle and Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan also expressed their solidarity in this struggle against the corporate rule.

Shri Anil Trivedi, a senior advocate of the High Court, said that this extraordinary power of the ordinary people will produce significant results. The affected people who came from different districts of the state said that the requirement of law and the constitution have been grossly violated in the Narmada valley due to which the affected families have been pushed to the brink of pauperisation. The government itself admits that 90 percent of affected families have not been able to purchase any land and have also been deprived of most of the other rehabilitation and resettlement rights. But now the affected people are prepared to unite and fight for their rights till the end.

Sudha Bharadwaj of Chattisgarh Mukti Morcha, Madhuri of Jagrut Dalit Adiwasi Sangathan, and Shamim of Samajwadi Jan Parishad said that the struggling people of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh are united in their struggle for justice.

Candidates in election must raise the issue of displaced peoples' rights

Ramkunwar and Bhagwanbhai of NBA stated that the affected people demand that the candidates in the Narmada valley standing in the upcoming state assembly elections must make their stand for the rights of the displaced clear. They said that the incumbent M.P. state government will have to pay the price for not granting the basic livelihood rights to the affected people of the valley. It may be noted that about 25 Vidhan Sabha seats fall in the affected areas of Narmada valley.

Numerous peoples' organizations from different parts of the state and country came in support of the displaced people

Many representatives from various organizations from M.P. and other parts of India participated in this rally and declared their whole-hearted support for the struggle of the displaced people in the valley. The representatives who participated were senior members of the following organizations: Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila udyog Sangathan, Abhivyakti (Maharashtra), Jagrit Adiwasi Dalit Sangathan, Kisan Adiwasi Sangathan, Shramik Adiwasi Sangathan, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Loknaad (Gujarat), Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangathan, Adharshila, Chattisgarh Mukti Morcha, Adiwasi Mukti Sangathan, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, Loksamiti (U.P.), Sandarbh, Tarashi, Muskaan, Baghelkhand Adiwasi Morcha Sangathan, Bargi Baandh Visthapit Evam Prabhavit Sangathan, Adivasi Ekta Sanghthan and several others.

Ramkunwar Rawat, Bhagwan Mukati, Sangeeta Kanera, Shruti Jain,Gajraj Singh