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Press Release                                 October 04, 1999

THIRD DAY OF INDEFINITE FAST OF MEDHA AND OTHERS IN DHULE JAIL
Taloda Court Rejects NBA Application Again
Dy.CM Munde Keeps Mum
Dharna Continues

The indefinite fast by Medha Patkar and other six Satyagrahis in Dhule jail continued for the third day today (Monday, 4th Oct.) as the junior court in Taloda rejected the application for release of over 386 men and women from Narmada valley on personal bond. They have been remanded for further 14 days judicial custody. Already, the people have undergone 12 days in jail, without being tried.

The learned judge of Taloda court did not give any reason for rejecting the application of release of the detainees under Sec. 144 IPC. The Satyagrahis fasting inside the jail, others who are jailed illegally and the ones who are on indefinite Dharna infront of the jail have decided to further intensify the agitation. Declaration of the actions will be done later. The Andolan would also be approaching the higher courts for appeal on this order. The same judge had rejected the appeal for release on personal bond of the 386 detainees on October 1. The Andolan has challenged the earlier order as unwarranted. It is a normal procedures to get Personal Bond when arrested under Sec. 144. Mr.N.D.Suryavanshi, Advocate of Andolan, today made a strong plea for the unconditional release of all the detainees as they have already undergone detention without trial for over 10 days. It is learned that the court has given another 14 days of detention. The police and administration has been acting illegally, after the Chief Minister Mr. Rane had made uncharitable comments on NBA and Medha Patkar. Mr. Suryavanshi wondered why the normal procedure of releasing the people detained under Sec. 144 on personal bond is not followed in the case of the satyagrahis of NBA.

Curiously, the police did not produce the detainees before the court citing flimsy and false reasons. The detainees, including Medha Patkar insisted on taking them to Taloda for the hearing.

Munde Has No Answers

Meanwhile, a delegation of NBA met the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr.Gopinath Munde today at Dhule. Mr.Munde, who had earlier came to Manibeli and extended support for the cause of the Andolan, had no answers to the questions raised by the delegation. The delegation made it clear that the Maharashtra Government is responsible for the submergence occurred in the Narmada valley, destroying thousands of hectares of agricultural lands and houses. The delegation also challenged him to come forward for a dialogue with facts and details on availability of land for rehabilitation, rather than uttering irresponsible statements from far-off places, particularly by the Chief Minister, Mr. Rane.

All the satyagrahis in jail including Medha Patkar, Sitarambhai Patidar (Kadmal), Doorsingh Vasave (Domkhedi), Naharsingh Pavara (Savariya), Mahadeo Patidar (Chhota Barda) and Dadliya Munda Vasava (Domkhedi) and Ms.Komal Patidar who are on indefinite fast against the illegal detention and the indifference and frigidity of the State are weak physically but high in spirits. They are determined to take this peaceful agitation ahead, and not to yield to the wicked tactics of the State. Five people, who are jailed and 11 of the Satyagrahis outside, observed 24 hours of rely fast. Prominent among them are Tembarya Vasave (Vill.Gaman), Bhimabhai Tadvi (Vill.Waghadia, Gujarat), Narsing Vasave (Amli rehabilitation site) and Nikki Warwick(England). Ms.Mercy Mathew continued her fast for the second day.

As the Dharna entered the 10th day, more and more people are coming down from different parts of Maharashtra and the country to strengthen the hands of the people against the unjust callousness of the State. Students from Delhi, representatives of students unions from Kerala and others organisations have come today. Oustees=92 representatives from Gujarat too have joined the dharna on Monday. Senior activists like Bhaijibhai Tadvi, Kalpanabehn Tadvi and Bhimabhai Tadvi are among those who came in support for the struggling people. Senior economist, Mr. H.M. Desarda today visited the dharna and expressed support.

Joe Athialy
Alok Agrawal
Sanjay Sangvai