Gestures of Solidarity

A few letters of solidarity and support

I appeal to the judicial conscience of the highest court and the equity sense of the Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra cabinets not to put one stone more on the dam until the last and the least human who is rendered homeless, consequence on Narmada Dam is given shelter in dignity. If a review of the judgement is necessary I am sure the judges on the High Bench will unhesitatingly do what the refugees of "Dam Development" need as an aspect of Social Justice. Development is never at the expense of distress inflicted on the poor, as Mahatma Gandhi has taught us and the constitution in its vision cautions us.

Jst. Krishna Iyer
Retired Supreme Court Judge, Kochi, Kerala

The struggle of the people under your leadership will not do in vain. The Supreme Court's judgment dated 18.10.2000 can only be a temporary setback. Ultimately the cause of justice for the oustees and other deprived people for protection of right to life and social justice shall triumph.

Haroo bhai Mehta
Advocate, Gujarat High Court,
Ex Member of Parliament
Ahmedabad, Gujarat

The National Alliance of Peoples Movements (NAPM) expresses its shock and dismay at the Supreme Court Verdict on Sardar Sarovar case. We believe that justice has been denied to the tribal people and the farmers in the Narmada Valley. We had hope in the legal system of this country and that has been shaken and shattered with this verdict. We are dismayed by the callous attitude of the court towards the sufferings of the displaced. Our fight was not just against the dam but also towards a particular ideology of development. We find this verdict as a result of a false understanding of development and justice. We will fight shoulder to shoulder with the people of the valley in their fight against the Narmada project.

Thomas Kocherry
National Coordinator,
National Alliance of Peoples Movements (NAPM)
National Fish Workers' Forum

This must be a very difficult time for you and your comrades and colleagues. I know how hard you have struggled over many years ... Having been involved in a struggle of a different sort for more than 30 years I know that there are times when all seems to be lost, when one is inclined to give up. However one finds the inner strength, based on the belief that what you are doing is right, to continue and fight another day.

Every battle we lost during the dark days of apartheid was met with the slogan: "The struggle continues!". I hope so with you as well.

Kader Asmal
Minister for Education, South Africa
Chairman, World Commission on Dams

The Supreme Court verdict against the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) came as a great shock and I feel especially sorry as this is, perhaps, the first time a movement awakened the world about the next to extinct flora, fauna and tribals on such a big scale. I can only say it has been a crushing blow.

Mahasveta Devi, Jnanpith award recipient, President of Denotified and Nomadic Tribes Right Action Group.

The struggle will go on. The battle must be fought.

Aruna Roy,
Winner of Ramon Magsaysay Award
Mazdoor Kissan Sakthi Sangathan

..... are as shocked as you and every right thinking citizen must be.

Admiral Ramdas
Former Chief, Indian Navy

We all are with you in solidarity

Mohini Giri
Former Chairperson,
National Commission for Women

The decision of Supreme Court is unfortunate. I always believed that our Courts, may be Supreme Court, are incapable of handling the issues of the nature involved in the Narmada case. Courts in India ... talk loudly about constitution and human rights and poverty, but they have no courage to restore "those rights and values" surpassing the government. Ultimately power rest with people and not with judges. With this I hope we all shall raise again as Finix and establish our rights which are now threatened by Power of which our judiciary is inseparable part.

Nirmal Kumar Suryavanshi
Advocate, Dhule

I totally share your distress -- and your disgust. The Supreme Court has let the people down badly yet again. And the media has been obnoxious in the way it has reacted.

Praful Bidwai
Journalist, Columnist, Delhi

My heart goes out to ... all the stalwart people struggling against this stupid, horrible, misguided project. I am so saddened by this unfounded decision against the will and voices of so many thousands (millions?) of people in India.

Deborah Moore
Environment Defense Fund, USA
Member, World Commission on Dams

The judgement delivered on October 18, 2000, is remarkable for its naivete and sinister overtones. The Friends of River Narmada salutes the spirit of the people of the Narmada valley and Narmada Bachao Andolan and stand in solidarity with them.

Friends of the River Narmada, USA

I too was sad and angry at the judgement. I know it looks like a defeat today. I felt closer to NBA ... than ever before. The big dam position always appeared silly to me; tonight it appeared obscene. I know there must be thousands who feel like me. Setbacks like this have become the turning point for many movements.

Yogendra Yadav
Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Delhi

Activists, academics, environmentalist and other concerned people in Oxford University, UK, unanimously condemn the Indian Supreme courts complete failure to take account of the real issues behind the Sardar Sarovar dam. 'The Indian Supreme Court has dealt a deep blow to justice and proved once again that political power needs more urgently than ever before to be given back to the people whose lives it affects. The world supports Narmada Bachao Andolan.'

Keith Hyams
Oxford University, United Kingdom

I'm writing to convey the solidarity, which was so evident during the protest yesterday evening. What was beautiful about the protest was that it was a peaceful, non-violent totally spontaneous expression of sheer anger against the Supreme Court order. Arvind, Bangalore

The judgement of the SC has been disappointing but along expected lines. From Bhopal, Enron, Cogentrix to Havala etc the Court has been consistent in protecting the vested interest. It is not surprising that the public interest has never triumphed on matters involving large sums of public money or human tragedy.

Arun Agrawal

It is one of the saddest thing happened to this country in the recent history.

Manish Varma
National Dairy Develoment Board, Anand, Gujarat

I too am deeply upset at the Supreme Court judgement...its a blow, not just for the Narmada valley residents, but for the rights of all people who have been struggling against such large projects.

Dr. Nandini Sundar
People's Union for Democratic Rights

The verdict and manner of investigation defy balanced rationalization and set a very dangerous precedent for democratic, civil society. We are trying to mobilize letter/email campaigns from our campus.

Prof. Supratik Chakraborty
Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai

This is to express our solidarity with you and the Movement at this time when we are all saddened at the Supreme Court's judgement giving green signal to proceed with the dam construction.

George Mathew
National Council of Churches in India, Kerala

The people at Aurangabad, particularly all those who are deeply concerned about upholding and protecting the democratic values, were shocked to know about the Supreme Court judgement in the Sardar Sarovar case of NBA. In view of all these happenings, the workers of the above organisations in Aurangabad have decided to observe a whole day fast on the Diwali day of 26th October, ... to express solidarity with the oustees of Narmada Valley, who will spend a dark Diwali this year.

Vijay Diwan
Professor, Environmentalist, Aurangabad

In this case, Narmada has been awarded 'Capital Punishment' by the majority judgement. We most humbly entreat your good self (President), ..... to order an immediate cessation of all construction work at Sardar Sarovar, pending a thorough review of all the Human Rights Aspects of Narmada Rehabilitation, as well as the Environment Impacts of the Project

Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad