Badwani | June 09, 2017: The statement issued and published today by the Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Nitin Patel, followed the totally undemocratic and unexpected arrest and attack on the children participating in the peaceful rally of Sardar Sarovar oustees with supporters from across the country, on the border of MP and Gujrat (on 7th June 2017). One may say, it is either to be totally ignored or blasted. However, it is an indicator of Gujarat‘s plan with the support from the centre, getting ready with its statutory force, to stop and supress people’s power. The same state, on the other hand, seems to be expressing its cowardice by raising a false alarm that NBA is out to create a stir in Gujarat since they are opposed to Sardar Sarovar and Gujarat’s development!
This is absolutely a hyper-reaction to the movement of the organised oustees, the adivasis from Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and other farmer and labourers’ communities in Madhya Pradesh. A deliberately misleading statement clearly brings out as to how much of respect Gujarat has for those who sacrifice for any development project including Sardar Sarovar. While Gujarat oustees have been on a relay fast and Dharna (sit in) since last one year, the government of Gujarat has still not responded positively, except making promises, unfulfilled.
There are a few hundred adivasi families still living in the original villages of Gujarat, hundreds are those whose land allotted decades ago is under threat to be taken back for no genuine reason and large number of resettled oustees suffering due to lack of amenities including water, at the resettlement sites. Gujarat has no doubt resettled almost 10000 families during last 30 years when the struggle was on. Yet this government is scared to let any outside activist or even a petitioner at the Supreme Court tries to assess the ground reality in the villages on the river bank, now to face huge watery grave but still not rehabilitated and those others who are to be evicted for Garudeshwar Weir Project, tourism, infrastructure, the Sardar Patel statue and what not, all in the name of development. Gujarat government cannot blame them for fighting for their rights. Nor can it blame NBA for supporting them and questioning bad, illegal impacts of the official plans and demand equitable and sustainable development with just rehabilitation.
The deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat very well knows that his government has been filing false affidavits before the court showing best and complete rehabilitation being achieved. It therefore does not wish to let the truth under the carpet, to be out. It was due to fear in their minds which was that Gujarat oustees who feel cheated would meet the participants from all over the country, raise issues and narrate their stories. Deputy CM must realise that the oustees before from Madhya Pradesh, numbering more than 40000 whose houses, farms, trees and forest, sources of livelihood, centuries old religious sites are being submerged; have the right to get together and express their demands. It was an absolutely anti-constitutional move by Gujarat Police and government, detaining and arresting senior activists including Dr.Sunilam, Prafulla Samantara, comrade Jaswinder Singh, Ashok Patel, Hasmukh Patel, Advocate Aradhna Bhargava, Taru Lata, Madhuresh Kumar, Suniti SR, Medha Patkar and many young students as well as villagers who hailed from various states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, has taken the message far and wide. They were not even permitted to pass a few kilometres through Gujarat for attending a meeting planned at village Chimalkhedi, Maharashtra, one of the Sardar Sarovar Project affected hilly adivasi village.
The students from Salsabeel Green School, Thrissur, 4 of who were minors, were dragged out of the government jeep and beaten up, fracturing one of the kid’s arm, trying to force them to get down at a barren place, near Nanpur, district Alirajpur, MP.
The Gujarat government is known for its distorted propaganda since years, they seem to be at it again since they wish to close the gates of the dam pushing it illegally. All the judgements of the apex court including the latest one of 08.02.2017 have endorsed peoples’ right to rehabilitation as a part of right to life. The fact is that Gujarat’s own people cannot be easily mesmerised without the details. The huge sea ingress due to Sardar Sarovar and the farmer’s struggle against water diversion to the corporates is a reality now.
We wish to assert our right to freedom of movement across the country. It is just fear that led the Deputy CM to give such a statement, because peoples’ movement had gained its ground and their false claims were going to be unmasked especially by the oustees of Gujarat. They, therefore, arrested Jiku bhai Tadvi and Balu bhai Tadvi along with Lakhan bhai, a Sarvodayi Activist, a supporter of the oustees and others from Gujarat from their houses with 50 others. Lakhan bhai is still in jail, who has been refused to give bail. The police administration that is SP and ASP of district Chhota Udaipur, had informed us of a notification issued on the 5th of June or before, preventing the activists from entering Gujarat. They could not show though, the copy of the same in spite of repeated demands. About 700 of Gujarat’s own Sardar Sarovar oustees were stopped on every route to Kevadiya Colony, near the dam, where a peaceful agitation by them has been on for the last 11 months. All this was no doubt to hide the Gujarat’s balance in rehabilitation works against their affidavits before the apex court.
The politics and games towards the upcoming election in Gujarat and to close the gates of Sardar Sarovar and fill waters up to 138.68 meters, drowning lakhs of people has commenced.
Bhagirath Dhangar, Suresh Pradhan, Kailash Awasya
for more details, contact:
Madhuresh Kumar: 9818905316