NBA Press Release
  01 November 2009
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

NBA’s peaceful protest receives over-whelming civil society support on fourth day

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

Even as the Madhya Pradesh Government continues in its attempts to hound activists and the displaced who are lawfully asserting the rights of thousands of farmers, adivasis and others for just and fair rehabilitation, as ordered by the Jabalpur High Court, there has been an air of over-whelming disdain of the undemocratic attitude of the State from various quarters of the civil society. On the fourth day today, while hundreds of protestors continue to sit in Khandwa demanding the unconditional release of the activists against whom false cases have been foisted by the police, various people’s organizations have stated that the Government’s actions is not only violative of people’s fundamental rights but is shattering the faith of common citizens in the democratic values.

In yet another malicious attempt, the police registered a case under Sec 333 IPC against the activists accusing them of causing ‘grievous hurt’ to the Government employees. This is nothing short of wrongful use of law, while on the other hand the State itself is feely indulging in contempt of Court. By such attempts the people are losing their faith in the Government. Interestingly the District Collector Office Employees Union, had submitted a memorandum to Medha Patkar and others on 31-10-2009 stating that neither did the activists enter any room in the Collector’s premises nor did they indulge in any destruction of property. The leader of the Union Giriraj Singh Senar stated that a group of 100-150 men and women keep trying to enter the office from the southern side and there arose an altercation with the some employees and attempt to cause hurt was alleged. The Andolan’s lawyers Adv Vikas Jain and Adv Jitendra Jain clarified that the memo by the employees clearly shows that no offence has been committed by the activists and displaced, who were only peacefully demonstrating. This proves that the Government version is a conspired move only to deflect focus from the real issue of providing land and livelihood based rehabilitation.

Many activists of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties who assembled at the National Executive Meet in Ranchi yesterday passed a resolution condemning the arrests as unwarranted and called for the immediate release other peacefully-resisting activists. Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy,of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi also wrote to the District Collector, Khandwa and sought the release of the illegally detained NBA activists who are genuinely demanding for court-ordered rehabilitation. There have been different protest actions in various parts of the state today as well. Samajwadi Jan Parishad and Kranti Hammal Union gave a dharna in Harda at Narayan Takies Chowk in support of the activists and submitted a representation in the name of the Chief Minister to the Collector. General Secretary of SJP and senior activist Sunil termed the arrest of activists demanding enforcement of the Court’s orders as nothing less than gross judicial contempt and came down heavily upon the Government’s callous approach.

Similarly, a delegation comprising veteran educationalist Prof. R.D. Prasad, artist Saroj Kumar, Chinmay Mishra of Sarvoday Press Service, Amlya Nidhi of Shilpi Kendra and Rakesh Chandore of Jhuggi Basti Sanghasrh Morcha, representing many concerned citizens and organizations of Indore met the Commissioner and conveyed their strong condemnation of the attitude of the Khandwa administration, which is not only against the Court’s orders but also violates the constitutional rights of people. The citizens of Jabalpur included Satyam from Nagrik Adhikar Manch, activists of Bargi Bandh Visthapait evam Prabhavit Sangh and others submitted a memo to the Chief Minister in the name of the Jabalpur Collector and registered their protest.

A delegation from Jan Pehal including Yogesh Diwan, Ms. Sarika Sinha, Sushma, Deepak Bhatt and Sunil of Kisan Adivasi Sanghatan who had participated in the Dharna in Khandwa yesterday met the State Human Rights Commission once again today afternoon and provided the latest information on the continuing persecution by the State. Calling it a matter of serious concern, the SHRC assured them that it would initiate action based on the Reports they receive from the district administration by Wednesday.

In Badwani, a 300-strong motor-cycle rally was taken out through the main streets by many persons affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project and a memorandum was handed over to the Tehsildar, in the name of the Chief Minister. Activists of Jagrut Adivasi Dalit Sanghatan also sent a letter to the Chief Minister through the Badwani Collector and expressed full solidarity with the struggle of the displaced. Today evening the Chattisgarh Mukti Morcha took out a mass ‘mashaal juloos’ to express solidarity with the struggle of the displaced in the Narmada valley. Notably, 500 more citizens have signed the online petition in the last 24 hours and demanded release of the jailed activists. Women and children, in large numbers at the dharna sthal are conveying a strong message to the Chouhan Government that they will not brook violation of their rights. Cultural activists also performed skits depicting the anti-people ways of the Government today.

Sangita Kanera Gajraj Singh Ashish Mandloi