HC reprimands State Govt

View Point: HC reprimands State Govt

Central Chronicle

Madhya Pradesh

27 September 2007

The Jabalpur High Court reprimanded the Madhya Pradesh State Government on 25 September 2007, for illegally arresting and detaining 91 people in jail, who were peacefully demonstrating for their land rights at Taloon on 25 July 2007.

The court orders the State Government to pay Rs 10,000 to each of the above 91 people as compensation for violating their fundamental rights on the basis of Article 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. A total of Rs 9,10,000 should be paid to the anti-dam agitators.

The 25 page above order of the court states that the State government may recover the total compensation from officials found responsible, after conducting a special enquiry, or pay the amount directly. The bench consisted of Chief Justice AK Patnaik and Justice Ajit Singh.

Earlier on the evening of 25 July 2007, a huge police force came down on the adivasis, fishworkers and farmers who were peacefully agitating as part of the "Zameen Hak Satyagraha", demanding land-for-land rehabilitation instead of cash compensation. "Today's verdict is yet another victory for the Narmada Bachao Andolan and people's movements at large. The verdict affirms the rights of the affected people to agitate peacefully and assert their right to land and livelihood. The peaceful and legitimate agitation by the Sardar Sarovar Dam affected people of the Narmada valley, for right to life and livelihood, continues irrespective of efforts by the authorities to sabotage and suppress the movement of the people" said frontline leader of NBA Medha Patkar.

"The Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award, The Supreme Court orders, Constitutional rights of citizens, all stand violated as submergence without rehabilitation continue to happen in the valley, year after year. 22 years of persistent struggle by NBA has achieved much in terms of rehabilitation and without struggle, the remaining populations will not get their due, especially in MP" stressed Arundhati Dhuru, another senior NBA activist.

MP Government had stated earlier that not enough appropriate land is available for land-to-land rehabilitation of every eligible displaced person. Therefore the movement continues to gain ground with water level rising in the valley.