October 06, 1999
JUDICIAL REFORMS NEEDED FOR JUSTICE TO PEOPLE
Impressive Rally In Dhule, Resolve To Continue The Struggle
The entire episode of unwarranted arrest and detention of the hundreds of
adivasis-peasants from the Narmada valley has once again has made it necessary
for the people's movements to strive for reform of the judicial process,
making it free from political influence and pressure with respect for
human and constitutional rights, while struggling against the destructive
projects like Sardar Sarovar and the development policy behind this, declared
the people in Narmada valley, after they were released from the Dhule jail on
Wednesday (Oct. 6).
This was reiterated by Medha Patkar, in an impressive rally after the release
of 376 men and women from Dhule jail, after a 13 days detention, at the time of
ending the indefinite fast by her and six others after four days. The release
of the people came after a decision by the Sessions court of Nandurbar on
October 5. Outside the jail, they received a tumultous welcome by hundreds of people who had come
from the valley. Seven satyagrahis, including Medha Patkar,
Sitaram Patidar, Dadlia Karbhari, Komalbehn, Dhursingh Vasave, Mahadev Patidar
and Naharsingh, who were on the fast for last four days issued a statement from
the jail while being released.
The people were arrested in Dhadgaon ( Dist. Nandurbar) on September 23, when
the people were on dharna demanding discussions on the basic issues
regarding displacement, resettlement and the dam with some senior official of
the Govt. of Maharashtra.
Instead, they have been arrested and detained in jail, without any reason.
After the release the people took out a rally where they
resolved to struggle with renewed vigour. Keshav Vasave, Dadlia Vasave,
Sitarambhai, Pratibha Shinde and other activists expressed their resolve to
carry on the struggle against the unjust development. Adv. Nirmalkumar
Suryavanshi lamented the unwarranted delay in the release of the satyagrahis
arrested under flimsy charges. He wondered why Satish Sharma was exonerated and
a hotel in Mumbai was saved through the court order while the rights of
adivasis and dalits have been under constant threat.
According to Medha Patkar, who was addressing the rally, the government of
Maharashtra must take initiative in reviewing the SSP, as it is not in the
interest of the state. The government must come out with its plans regarding
the rehabilitation and availability of the land as it had claimed.
According to the statement, the recent arrest and the injustice in the
judicial process about the release of the 386 satyagrahis had led to the
indefinite fast. However, while being released after a tedious judicial process
and ending the fast we know that we will have to struggle for the reform of the
entire judicial process, make it free from the political pressure and influence
and induce in it the respect for human and constitutional rights. On the other
hand we will have to continue our struggle against the destructive development
projects like the Sardar Sarovar and the development policy behind it which has
been against 80% of the people.
When the political leaders are busy in the power games and to keep the
people mesmerised in it, our hearts and heads are filled with the life and
death issues of the depressed and downtrodden sections. We all want to bring in
the rule of the village and the community with the rights over natural
and a decentralised decision making process. The struggle against SSP and the
large dams on the Narmada is in its decisive phase.
We are committed to struggle
for the review of the entire Narmada valley project and would not allow an inch
of further construction towards its final height of 138.46 mts of the SSP.
The people have expressed their determination to carry on the struggle along
with the other people's organisations within the country, struggling on the
issues like the displacement, destructive development, communalism-casteism and
for an alternative development.
The people have since returned back to their villages. They would be also
having meetings in Dhadgaon.