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Press Release                                 September 21, 1999 (10:30 pm IST)

Hundreds Arrested In Shoulder-Deep Water at Domkhedi
Others Still Standing in Rising Waters

Around 300 people were arrested in Domkhedi after police entered the Maharashtra village around 4pm today. The police dragged Ms Medha Patkar, Mr Sitarambhai Patidar and Mr Devram Kanera out of shoulder-deep water in the satayagrah (struggle) house. The police broke down the wall of the house as the water at the door of the house was too deep to enter. Medha was kicked during her arrest, others were also kicked, slapped and beaten.

The three activists from the Samarpit Dal - the "Dedicated Squad" of the Narmada Bachao Andolan - had spent around 27 hours standing in the steadily rising water of the Sardar Sarovar Reservoir. The other villagers and activists arrested had been gathered near the satayagrah house in support of the Samarpit Dal. Those arrested are being held at higher elevatations in Domkhedi.

People are still facing the rising waters at other villages alongside the Narmada. Villagers in the lowest houses in the Maharashtra villages of Sikka, Bharad and Pipalchop, downstream of Domkhedi, are reported to be in water between knee and waist height. At Jalsindhi in Madhya Pradesh, around 70-80 people are standing together with Luharia Shankaria who lives in the lowest house in the village. Latest reports state that the water in Luharia's house is around 1.5 feet deep.

Nandini Oza

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