Narmada Valley: an unfolding genocide: protests against brutal arrests

Protests in various parts of India against the brutal arrest of Medha Patkar, Pushpa Bahan, Dharmendra Bhai and 7 more people sitting on fast since 27th July.

Bhagwati Bahan and Rukmani Bahan continuing fast along with 10 people at Chikhalda

Medha Patkar hospitalized in Indore Bombay Hospital and rests are kept in Dhar, Police not allowing anybody to stay with Medha.

Chinmay Mishra and Bilal Khan interrogated for half an hour at separate places when tried to meet Medha.

Shivraj Singh Govt. lying again in the name of showing concern for health of fasting people, whereas illegally detained them and not allowed anyone to stay with them.

Submitted petition to National Human Rights Commission, asked to take strict actions against violent attack by Police officials and others involved.

Representation made to Indian Ambassador in Rome and Harare, and representation to UN Rapporteur on Housing

New Delhi | August 08, 2017 : Today people across the country protested against the high handed action of MP Police of the Dhar and Badwani administration which used excessive force leaving 48 people injured, some of them were admitted to ICU in Badwani.

In Delhi, more than 50 protestors marched to the MP Bhavan and submitted the memorandum demanding immediate release of all the people from the hospital and allow them to discuss their next course of action. Also take action against the District Magistrate, SP and other officials responsible for the high handedness of the Police forces and initiate dialogue with the Narmada Bachao Andolan and solve the problems of the 40000 Saradar Sarovar Dam affected families. With this, a delegation of Hannan Mollah (former MP), Yogendra Yadav (Swaraj Abhiyaan), Kavita Krishnan (AIPWA), Satyavan Ji (AIKKMS), Manimala Ji and Snehlata Shukla (DSG) submitted the memorandum to the Deputy Resident Commissioner and Joint Resident Commissioner under signed by more than 30 representatives of people’s organization. Shabnam Hashmi (ANHAD), Rajendra Ravi (NAPM), Sandeep Pandey (Socialist Party of India), Faisal Khan (Khudai Khidmatgar), Bhupendra Singh Rawat (Jan Sangharsh Vahini), Ramesh Sharma (SUCI (C)) and many others were part of the protest.

Madhuresh Kumar, National Convener, NAPM gave a brief account of yesterday incident and said that the Govt. have used these violent tactics before but we will keep our fight on. Since yesterday Medha Patkar and others admitted in Indore and Dhar hospitals respectively, with limited access. The Govt. has maintained that they are concerned about their health and they are only hospitalized. If they are hospitalized then shouldn’t they be treated like a normal patient with visitation rights by their colleagues, friends and, family? Govt. claim that they are concerned about their health would have meant that, all 12 should have been kept in the same hospital at least, but no, 9 of them are in Dhar district hospital and two Rukmani Bahan and Bhagwati Bahan were left at the Dharna site itself where they continue to fast.

Yogendra Yadav, expressed a serious concern and said that the we are asking very basic things, rehabilitation of all the affected people and on the issues, MP Govt. is lying all over and using forces on peaceful protestors. The movement has exposed the development model and given us courage to ask what development means for us?

Sandeep Pandey said that Govt. is not acting for the benefits of the people but as Gujarat Govt. destroyed the Sabarmati River, now the MP Govt. and Govt. of India are doing the same with people of Narmada Valley.

Kavita Krishnan extended her full solidarity to the people of Narmada Valley and said that she believes that the movement will fight out the atrocious govt and win the battle for the rights of people.

Satyavan Ji, Bhupendra Singh Rawat and many others also extended their solidarity to the Narmada Bachao Andolan and the people and asked strict actions against the brutal attack on the people happened yesterday evening.

We believe the whole use of force was to break their peaceful protest and there was no concern for their well being, otherwise Govt would have initiated dialogue much before this. Shivraj Singh’s claim to be a sensitive CM but it is not visible in your actions. Words don’t mean anything to us. We condemn the high handed action of police forces who came with baton fixed with nails. This is a serious violation of human rights of the people sitting on peaceful fast fighting against the illegal drowning of more than 40000 families in Narmada Valley.

Series of action protest demonstration all over the country and internationally:

1. Rome, Italy : Representation made to Indian Ambassador

2. Harare, Zimbabwe : Representation made to Indian Ambassador

3. Representation made to UN Rapporteur on Housing

4. Bengaluru, Karnataka : Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) and Green Brigade announced full pledged solidarity to Narmada Bachao Andolan and Medha Patkar.

5. Tumkur, Karnataka : Protest demonstration by people of various organisations in support of NBA.

6. Hyderabad, Telangana : Protest demonstration by Human Rights Forum and other organisations.

7. Pune, Maharashtra : Rally by people in support to NBA by Lokayat, Rashtriya Seva Dal and other supporters.

8. Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh : Silent Protest and Human Chain by sensitive people against the brutal attack of police forces on people of Narmada Valley.

9. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh : Solidarity fast against the arrest of Medha Patkar and people of Narmada Valley by NAPM and Joint Action committee, Varanasi.

10. Bhubneshwar, Odisha : Protest in support of Narmada Valley by Lok Shakti Abhiyaan and NAPM, Odisha.

11. Chikhalda, Dhar, Madhya Pradesh : Protest by students of Salsabeel Green School against arrest of Medha Patkar and others.

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A Modern-Day Genocide is Unfolding in the Narmada Valley.

Nearly 40,000 Families are Still Living in Thriving Narmada Villages :: Rehabilitation Sites are in Shambles.

Yet the Madhya Pradesh Govt Prepares to Evict or Drown these Villages based on Falsehoods, Even Before Rehabilitation is Done, Even When Many Deserving Affected Families are Yet to be Compensated.

Today is the 12th day of their indefinite fast, demanding complete and just rehabilitation for all affected people.

New Delhi | August 07, 2017 : Today, National Alliance of People’s Movements and Bhumi Adhikar Andolan together organised a press conference in Delhi to expose the lies of Madhya Pradesh Govt regarding the status of rehabilitation of more than 40000 families in Narmada Valley and Rehabilitation sites. Hannan Mollah, Former MP and Gen. Secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, Soumya Dutta, Environmentalist and Energy Expert, Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha, and Annie Raja, Gen. Secretary at National Federation of Indian Women together briefed the journalists about the present situation of Narmada Valley and exposed the lies of Madhya Pradesh Govt.

The Madhya Pradesh government is going ahead with its preparations for a state-engineered modern-day genocide in the Narmada valley. The waters of the Sardar Sarovar Dam reservoir is rising after the closing of the dam-gates, as more rain water flows in. There are about 191 villages and the small town of Dharampuri which are threatened with submergence, mostly in Nimad region – some completely, some in large parts. The Narmada Bachao Andolan estimates that about 40,000 families are still living in these villages, who have either not been given rehabilitation entitlements, or given in part. The government estimates a far lower 18,000+ families that still needs to be rehabilitated.

Hundreds of temples-mosques-adivasi religious places, schools, health centers, thousands of shops, small business places, very well developed fruits & vegetable farms which are still being actively used…….. are all to be drowned latest by 1st or 2nd week of October, as per the schedule issues by the Govt.

Some of the villages have yielded rich archaeological evidences of pre-historic human habitations. From times very ancient to the present day, innovative farming communities have made this valley a treasure house of productivity. And yet, today we are witnessing its insane destruction, just for a few MW of electricity and the elusive irrigation that is still a mirage.

The MP govt also have attempted condemnable acts of demolishing Mahatma Gandhi Samadhi by the banks of Narmada in Badwani district, in the dead of night, using construction machinery!.

The Honourable Supreme Court had – in its 2000 and 2005 orders, made it clear that every project affected family losing land will have to be rehabilitated based on land for land principle, six-months before their displacement, along with house plots in fully developed rehabilitation sites, containing a minimum of 17 listed facilities. Other oustees were also to be rehabilitated in terms of their livelihoods lost. These were also the original awards of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT), in its 1979 order.

The MP and Union governments earlier repeatedly lied to the SC, claiming that there is “ZERO BALANCE” for rehabilitation, meaning everyone deserving rehabilitation, have already been rehabilitated. The Narmada Control Authority (NCA) authorized the closing of the 17 meter high dam gates, effectively raising the dam height to 138.68 meters, based on the latest report of the R&R subcommittee, housed in the Social Justice Ministry. This also apparently claims rehabilitation is complete or nearly so !

The Secretary of the same Union Social Welfare Ministry (who heads the R&R sub-committee) later admitted – on June 27 – that “they know” there are still 18,000+ families living in the submergence threatened villages, who needs to be rehabilitated. Tens of thousands of fully grown trees are also standing in these villages, contrary to claims by the MP government.

In the last 4 months, several independent (of NBA) groups and committees have visited the affected area of Narmada valley, and found these govt claims to be largely false. Out of 88 rehab sites, most are not even levelled, not to talk about being provided with the 17 listed facilities, including drinking water, approach and internal roads, drainage, electricity, schools, health care facilities etc.

In its last order dated 8th February 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered the Governments to compensate Rs.60 lakhs (estimated price of 5 Acres of agricultural land there) to all those losing over 25% of land and who have not taken any compensation yet. As per repeatedly clarified orders, these were to include adult children as separate families. Those who took the earlier meagre compensation of 5.58 lakhs, but were cheated by the collusion of officers and land-agents, were awarded 15 lakhs each family.

To know how these massive scams happened with collusion of high govt officials, one can refer to the well investigated report of the Justice Jha Commission, appointed by the MP High Court.

The MP Govt is deliberately mis-interpreting the last SC order, which mentions the right of the state to evict villagers by force, once rehabilitation is done. The moot point is REHABILITATION IS FAR FROM DONE, IN MOST CASES – THIS HAS NOT EVEN BEGUN IN RIGHT EARNEST. BUT – the MP govt has amassed large police forces in the area, conducting intimidating drills in the villages, threatening villagers to vacate or else…….

VACATE, BUT WHERE TO? Many rehab sites are not even approachable by road. Many are undulating rocky terrain, with large ditches as allotted house plots!. Many have deep layers of black cotton soil, on which you cannot place a house foundation without huge investment. Barsaati nallahs run through some sites and house plots. One such site in Dharampuri town is just by the side of a fast flowing hilly stream, which destroys its surroundings every good monsoon! Tales of inhuman treatments to prosperous, hard-working, peaceful farming communities abound in the threatened valley.

After all this, Even the reservoir in Gujarat are already filled and some of the canals are broken which increased the intensity of floods in Gujarat. This proves that the decision of closing Sardar Sarovar Dam gates is not for the water supply to Gujarat or Rajasthan but a mere tool to influence the Gujarat elections. This is a shameless politics of governments, when the same decision can drown lakhs of people in Narmada Valley.

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Shanti Snigdha and Amit Kumar

For details contact, +91 9213763756, +91 8486944483, +91 7042502053

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Jal Satyargaha in Narmada by villagers, Challenged Shivraj Singh to Come and face the questions of people of Narmada Valley

Current Water Levels of Sardar Sarovar Effective in Meeting Irrigation and Power Needs, Why Submerge More ?

Aam Aadmi Party to Launch “Save Narmada Displaced, Save Madhya Pradesh” Yatra from August 1st

Badwani, Madhya Pradesh. 29, July 2017: Today is the third day of indefinite fast in the Narmada Valley. Hundreds of the villagers today entered the Narmada waters and observed jal satyagraha. They challenged the government’s plan to force death upon 40,000 families by closing gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam without any complete rehabilitation in the Narmada Valley. Shyama Behn, Bhagirath Dhangar, Saraswati Behn, Devram Kanera and others posed tough questions from Shivraj Chauhan, whose job as a Chief Minister is to serve people. They demanded that let Shivraj Singh Chauhan come and answer these questions in public ? They said, “are these 40,000 families of Narmada valley, millions of trees, their cattle, farm-barn, temple-mosques, schools and entire ancient civilization not a part of India? Can’t the government, pretending to give water to Gujarat, see the people of Madhya Pradesh, their livelihood, forests and rivers? Will the Narmada Valley be sacrificed by the government for the private profit ?”

They added, “Shivraj Singh Chauhan says he will not allow any sewage to come in the Narmada but will he allow the death of the lakhs of the people ? Does he think that Narmada needs the blood of its children ? No mother wants the blood of its own children then why is MP government so willing to sacrifice their life for the sake of Gujarat ?” Today there is a lot of resentment among the people of Narmada Valley, and by denying every attempt of the administration; the Narmada Valley refuses to leave without full and justified rehabilitation. We will face the flood, but will not yield to this unjust government; with such determination people are sitting firmly and fasting.

Support Continues from Political Parties

Ramesh Patel, MLA, Badwani (Congress) came to the fast venue and extended his full support again to the people. Shailesh ji, a project affected person himself and of the Aam Aadmi Party, came along with 10 other members today. They supported the struggle of the Narmada Valley on behalf of the party and announced that from 1st August ‘Save Project Affected and Save Madhya Pradesh” yatra and reported the coming of the MP Bhagwant Mann on August 1st. Alok Agarwal, Aam Aadmi Party Convener, has come before to the Narmada Valley and exposed the government’s fake claims and the need of the electricity, which is primarily for benefiting the industrialists. The heavy rains in Gujarat have completely exposed the current situation where the branch canals are not ready and not managed, but still the politics over Narmada water is being played over lies and false claims.

NDRF forces arrive in Badwani

Despite all this, the administration and the government are eager to displce the people of the Narmada Valley, without resorting to rehabilitation, and forcibly evicting them from the valley. A large number of NDRF detachments have reached in Badwani today. This clearly shows that despite knowing about the tragedy, the government is deliberately working against the people. As the water level increases, there will be havoc in the valley, but not a natural event, a completely man made disaster.

Flooding in Gujarat, Water Levels in Sardar Sarovar

In Gujarat, all the canals are flooded after rains and due to the excess capacity of electricity in Madhya Pradesh, the government is abusing the public exchequer by purchasing power from private power ventures on expensive prices, by shutting down the government power ventures. There is no need of water from the dam or electricity, then why is the state of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh forcing flooding and submergence in 192 villages of Madhya Pradesh by closing the dam gates? Now, when Gujarat is in the midst of floods, the government is giving compensation of Rs 50,000 to the flood affected people in Gujarat and Rs 2.5 lakh to the dead. Such a situation could have been averted in Gujarat if the government had planned decentralized water planning to manage excess water. At the current level of the dam, there is enough water for the irrigation and drinking purposes. However, the water is being diverted for the coca-cola and car factories located in the command area. All the needs of the Gujarat can be mate at the current level, something which Narmada Bachao Andolan have argued for long, then where is the need to impound the dam to its full reservoir level of 139 mts and force submergence.

Solidarity Programmes Across the country

Support from across the country continues to pour in. Today a number of solidarity programmes were held, starting with Kisan Sangharsh Samiti’s in Tapti Sarovar of Multai, MP; protest demonstration by mass organizations in Bhopal; in Jabalpur a solidarity programme by Mahakaushal support groups (Marxist Communist Party, Aam Aadmi Party, Barghi Dam visthapit sangh, ,Jhanshighat Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Madhya Pradesh Kisan Sabha, Chutka parmanu sanyatr virodhi sangharsh samiti, Janvadi Mahila Samiti, Madhya Pradesh Mahila Sangha, Bhumi Adhikar Andolan, Aadivasi Kisan Mazdoor sangathan, Manav Adhikar Seva Sangh, Dalit Adhikar Sangh, Bundelkhand Mazdoor Kisan Shakti organization and others) in support of the struggle of the Narmada valley and fast against the government.

Many college students have taken to social media to extend their solidarity to the struggle and demanding an intervention from the government to save this catastrophe and do justice.

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