NBA Press Release
  03 September 2001
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

Unprovoked, M.P. Police Beaten Narmada Villagers In Badwani:
Many Injured, Hospitalized: Hundreds of People Protest Against Unjust Displacement

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Without any provocation, the Madhya Pradesh police has severely beaten the peaceful protestors in Badwani in the Narmada valley, injuring scores of people, at the office of Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA), on Monday (September 3). The people affected by the controversial Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) were protesting against the illegal distribution of cash and was demanding the details of land, which the govt. is entitled to give them, in lieu of the land to be submerged in SSP. Eight villagers and activists received grievous injuries on head, ear; three were hospitalized. Fifteen more were injured during the unprovoked lathi-charge on the peaceful dharna, including the women protestors who were manhandled and beaten by the men police. There was not a single lady police. Many activists and villagers were seen bleeding.

As per the perviously announced programme, around 800 people, including 500 women, were protesting against the displacement by the Government of Madhya Pradesh when the state government itself declared that there was no land for resettlement. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate Mr. Nilkhand Tikam, bad mouthing the senior activists and promising to teach them a lesson, ordered the lathi-charge without any prior announcement. He and the Town Police Inspector, Mr. Sisodiya, along with other policemen, manhandled and verbally abused the men and women villagers and activists including Medha Patkar, Clifton, Giridhar Patidar, Lokesh Patidar and others. Giridhar, Clifton, Kamala Yadav, Lokesh , Sukumar and others are hospitalized for their grievous injuries.

Senior political leaders of Badwani have condemned this inhuman action of the police. Congress party leaders Kashiram Kaka and Lakshi Narayan Gupta have said that all these years the government couldn't give land and mercilessly beating the ones who demand proper rehabilitation is shameful. Senior BJP leader, Nanak Singh Gandhi has condemned the attack on women by men police.

Undeterred by the police attack, the people regrouped and continued the dharna and held public meeting at the NVDA office. The District Collector was said to be busy elsewhere. It is pertinent to note that the NBA delegation just returned from a meeting with the Chief Minister in the evening of September 2. The Chief Minister has again pleaded the inability of the state to give land for the land for the resettlement of the SSP affected people in Madhya Pradesh.

NBA demand immediate suspension of the SDM and the TI-police and take stern action against all the officials who were a part of this undemocratic attempt to suppress the people's voice.

The people made it clear that they could not be cowed down to accept the displacement and the government would have to face the fierce resistance from the valley.

Ashish Mandloi
Joe Athialy