Nationwide support to NBA's Indefinite protest fast against atrocities of Madhya Pradesh government
Medha Patkar slams M.P. Govt: Charges contempt of Court
Thousands of displaced gathered today as well in Khandwa to lend solidarity and support to the jailed activists of Narmada Bachao Andolan and to condemn the malicious and brazen attempts of the Government of Madhya Pradesh to scuttle their lawful attempts to enforce the directives of the High Court. The displaced of Maheshwar, Upper Veda, Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar dams were joined by representatives of various people’s organizations from within and outside the state.
Even as the protest fast of activists Chittaroopa Palit and Ramkuwar Rawat inside the jail continued undaunted on the second day, the Government seemed to be investing all its energies and resources in hounding the activists, instead of respecting the High Court’s orders and speedily rehabilitating the displaced.
The NBA office was again searched today and shockingly, the police officials (instead of electricity officials!!!) slapped an additional bill of Rs. 15,149/- on the Andolan for electricity charges, terming it a ‘commercial establishment’, even though it is well-known that NBA is a people’s organization, working for the realization of the constitutional and human rights of the displaced. It is clear that the office is being targeted. While it was told that activist Alok Agrawal was being taken for interrogation; he was detained all through the night and was then framed in old cases. NBA is contemplating legal action against such annoying tactics of the State.
Citizens groups and eminent persons from across the country have extended support to the ongoing ‘sangharsh’ in the valley. Major Genl. (Retd). Sudhir Vombatkere wrote to the Prime Minister and Chief Minister, terming the arrests as repulsive to democratic resistance and demanded urgent release of the activists and justice to the displaced. Veteran Gandhian ideologue Raha Bhatt and Vasant Pandey of Uttarakhand Nadi Bachao Abhiyan, in a separate letter to the CM, demanded him re-establish the rule of law in the state. Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy,of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi also wrote to the District Collector and sought the release of the illegally detained NBA activists who are genuinely demanding for court-ordered rehabilitation.
Yesterday, activists Yogesh Diwam, Azam Khan, Sarika Sinha and others of Jan Pehal met the Chairperson of the State Human Rights Commission, Justice (Retd) Shri D.P. Dharmadhikary, in person and expressed serious concern on the erosion of democratic space in the state. The Chairperson later issued notices to the District Collector and Superintendent of Police and demanded a Report on the incident within 3 days.
The Government also drew flak from citizen’s groups in Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, Badwani and Harda where protetsts are taking place. The Indore Solidarity Group and People’s Union or Democratic Rights as well expressed vocal condemnation of the arrests in seperate releases and expressed solidarity with the Andolan. An online petition has also been circulated and more than 500 sensitive citizens and organizations have already expressed their support. The Asian Human Rights Commission also came down heavily upon the State Government and has issued an action alert for global support.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference in Khandwa, today evening, Medha Patkar along with Rajkumar Sinha of Bagri Dam Displaced and Affected Organiation and others stated that the actions of the State Government tantamount to contempt of Court, which it will have to answer. She said that the administration is tarnishing its own image by leveling false allegations against the activists.
Yesterday, a delegation along with Medha Patkar met the Collector Mr. Singh and pressed for the immediate and unconditional release of the activists and enforcement of the Court’s directives. He was also warned that any inaction from the administration will not be brooked anymore and all the displaced are even ready for a ‘Jail Bharo Andolan’, if their demands are not met.
Interestingly, the Staff Union at the Collector’s office also submitted a letter of solidarity with the displaced. Respecting their gesture, Medha Patkar conveyed that the struggle was not against the staff, but against the thick-skinned administration that has such disrespect towards the Constitution and the Court.
The struggle continues with some other activists joining in the fast today.
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