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Press Release                                 September 21, 1999 (5pm IST)

Samarpit Dal in Shoulder deep water
Water enters Luharia's house in Jalsindhi, Madhya Pradesh
Waters continue to rise

In a serious development, the waters in Domkhedi satyagraha house rose to four and a half feet where Medha Patkar, Sitarambhai Patidar and Devram Kanera of the Samarpit Dal - the dedicated squad of the Andolan has been standing in water since 1 pm yesterday. The waters had rising to their shoulder at 10 am today morning. They have been standing in the water for more than 10 hours and waters are steadily rising. The administration has been totally absent from the vicinity. Medha and 135 people were arrested on the 18th from waist deep waters from village Pipalchop and were released on the 19th. From 20th the waters rose again and the Samarpit Dal has been standing in the waters once again. At Domkhedi there are more than 400 people near the satyagraha house singing andolan songs.

At Jalsindhi, Madhya Pradesh, the waters have entered the lowest house of Luharia Shankaria where more than 100 people are in the house ready to face waters including the village leaders, Bawa Muharia, Kailash, etc and NBA activists Alok Agrawal and Chittaroopa Palit.

This is the third time that the waters in the valley have risen - this time it has been almost a meter more than the highest level reached on the previous two occasions and the waters have been flooding the fields, and houses in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh since 17th evening. People, their houses and fields have been under 1 to 4.5 feet water since 4 days suffering serious damage to property and facing extreme hardships. But at the same time, the people of the Narmada Valley and the activists of the Andolan and NBA leader Medha Patkar have stood firm in their resolve that they will drown but not move.

Meanwhile reports are coming in from support groups of protest programs from Delhi, Bombay, Madras, etc. On 20-9-99, the NBA support group in Bombay had a road block where 25 were arrested. At Delhi activists, leaders of people's movements, students and intellectuals confronted the CM of Maharashtra who is on a visit there. The CM, was unable to answer the questions placed before him and rushed away from the scene. Eighty people were arrested from there. At Delhi more than 300 people formed a human chain in protest against the submergence today in front of the ITO.

Moreover, fifteen representatives from the Sahayog Yatra that has reached Delhi consisting of supporters from all over the country met the President and briefed him on the situation in the Narmada Valley, the violation of human rights of the tribals, the flaws of Sardar Sarovar Project and have appealed to him to do the needful urgently. The President and Mrs Usha Narayan also present on the occasion, listened to the delegation patiently and with interest. He has been also invited by the delegation to personally come on a visit to the Narmada valley. At Pune, the NBA support group has planned a demonstration before the collector office - the report is still awaited. At Madras, the National Fishworkers Forum had a public demonstration in support of NBA on 20-9-99.

Stop Press: We have information from press sources who have in turn information from the district administration Nandurbar, that more than 150 people have been arrested including Medha Patkar from Domkhedi at 4.30 pm.

The waters are still rising. The level at the dam site has gone upto 98.59 mts at 4pm. This indicates increase in the water level in houses at Bharad, Sikka, Pipalchop, Jalsindhi, etc where people are ready to face any eventuality.

Nandini Oza

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