NBA Press Note

October 14, 2000

Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

 

NBA Condemns Police Atrocities on Tribal Youth

The Narmada Bachao Andolan strongly condemns the police atrocities on a tribal youth who has been staying with the NBA since July this year. The tribal youth, Kishore Minj, was forcibly taken by the police in Kevadia Colony yesterday evening at 8 p.m. under the pretext of questioning, was threatened, abused with bad words and beaten up by the DSP. He was kept in the police station, forcibly and illegally till 2.30 a.m. in the morning and only then released. NBA strongly condemns this serious violation of the fundamental rights and demands immediate action against the concerned police officials.

The tribal youth, Kishore Minj has been staying with the NBA with a view to learn about the problems of the tribals in this area and also how the tribals have been fighting for their own rights. He is among the hundreds of youths who visit the NBA for long or short durations to witness and support this non-violent and peaceful struggle of the people of the Narmada Valley from all over the country.

Yesterday evening, as he was sitting in Kothi village, a police jeep came and asked him to come to the police station. He refused, saying that any questions could be asked to him there itself. He was then forcibly taken to the police station where several police officials including one Mr. Rajkumar (DSP Narmada District) and several policemen were there. He was thoroughly abused and severely questioned about the NBA, about NBA programs, the movements of Medha Patkar among other things. Even after he had told all that he knew, he was beaten by lathi by Mr. Rajkumar, and asked to give more details. He was also asked as to why he has come here and was threatened that he should provide all information to the police. He was dropped back only at 2.30 am. He was kept standing most of the time and was not even given water.

This is not a unique incident. Since over a month and half or so, the police have taken up harassment of NBA activists and even visitors in Kevadia colony. Visitors are questioned by police, unnecessarily detained for hours and harassed in other ways. Even the traditional route of the villagers who are affected by the Sardar Sarovar dam has been blocked under the pretext that it passes over the dam site. Since there is no other way for these people to come to the market and access the bazaar, hospital etc. the police has no right to block them from using this road. Mr. Kishore himself has also been targeted before this.

This is nothing but a crude attempt by the police and the Government to intimidate and suppress the non-violent and peaceful agitation of the people of the Narmada Valley. It is also a deliberate attempt to suppress the fundamental rights of the people like Kishore Minj, and the people of the valley of freedom of expression and other rights given to them by the Constitution. The NBA condemns this and will oppose these illegal attempts to suppress the fundamental rights of the people by all means available to it. NBA calls for immediate halt to the police repression and action against the officials responsible.

M.K.Sukumar