Intense and Indefinite: Do or Die Jeevan Adhikar Satyagraha
kickstarts in the Narmada Valley
“We shall drown, but not budge”: resolves Narmada valley and declares Second War of Independence against the Indian State
Extensive support for the 2.5 lakh oustees: Modi condemned
12th August: The struggle against the Sardar Sarovar Dam, which is to become a grave for 2.5 lakh people in the 3 states of Narmada Valley had reached its peak. Having concluded a 6-day Padyatra over 25 villages from 6th to 11th August,thousands of oustees converged today in Badwani town, thronging the streets and declared an indefinite peaceful satyagraha on the banks of Narmada, at Rajghat. As thousands of women, men and children walked from Badwani, towards Rajghat, through every lane and at every square with thousands of blue flags, banners and sang and sloganeered against the monstrous decisions of the NDA Govt, Western Nimad witnessed a “new uprising”.
The Jeevan Adhikar Satyagraha began on the Narmada bank, with Medha Patkar, along with a “Samarpit Dal”, followed by thousands of oustees, taking a “Sankalp” in the middle of Narmada. Addressing the people, she said that, “even as we draw strength from the 30 years struggle, we are now facing a litmus test and the Narmada valley, which has redefined the developmental politics around the world, is now facing the worst crisis in its courtyard, but must rise from every farm, home and hamlet” to save itself from the clutches of corporate political control”.
Inaugurating the Satyagraha, Bhagirath Dhangar said that the situation in the Narmada is a “direct face-off between the International Prime Minister and the Gram Sabhas of the Narmada valley, whose constitutional rights are begin encroached”. Fisherwomen from Pichhodi, Sava behan said that “the entire Narmada from Amarkantak to Bharuch is her land, her life and she will fight till death for her traditional right to access to the river” Shantabehan from Pipri village said that “India is know a golden parrot, with its rich natural resources, but this parrot is being slaughtered and the land, forests, rivers, fish, is being doled out to the corporates. We shall fight till our last breath and resist the destruction of Nimad for the companies”, she said.
Remembering an adivasi woman from hilly village Manibeli, who stood in the rising dam water with her 6 days old daughter, in the standing years daughter, Devram Kanera said if such a person can, why can’t the entire Narmada valley, in this darkest hour of crisis?” Shanno bhabhi said that “our relation with Narmada has been since birth and will remain the same till death. We shall and shall take this struggle to its logical end, she said, a statement endorsed by applause by thousands of women present.
Former MP, Bhaktacharan Das who has been at the forefront of the Niyamgiri struggle in Orissa, extended his full solidarity and assured that he would talk to all those leaders who can come to the valley, including the adivasis from Niyamgiri themselves. . Launching a sharp attack on the Modi Govt. he called for a “Satyagraha in every village, every house, by every citizen in the valley”, which alone will force the Govt. to kneel before the Govt. to come to the satyagraha site. Dr. Sunilam, senior socialist leader said that the present Satyagraha is a decisive moment not just for the 30 years struggle, but the entire nation is watching the Narmada valley and Narendra Modi. “Narmada Andolan has been a light house for the struggles across the country and therefore this Do-or Die battle is extremely significant”, he said.
Chinmay Mishra, Sarvoday press Service said that the lakhs of people in the valley are now “owners” of their land and houses as per the New Land Acquisition Act. “The Govt has already lost and the Narmada valley has won. What we need is to launch the final stroke and attain complete victory”. Satish Bhingare, water resource expert exposed the fraud due to the back water levels and the injustice meted out to thousands of oustees by the “politicized bureaucracy”.
More than two hundred oustees from the Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Mumbai, a large number of them women joined the rally and satyagraha and through Anwari behan declared that the oustees of rural India and the urban poor shall wage a united battle against the anti-people policies of the States, the scale of Andolan must increase multi-fold.
Representatives from the 3 states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Lakhanbhai from Gujarat exposed the false claims of rehabilitation not just by Sardar Sarovar Dam, but by allied projects including canals, Garudeshar Weir, Sardar Patel Statue etc. As the mass meeting concluded, thousands of oustees raised both their hands in unision, declaring a “Second Peaceful War of Independence against the Indian State”, which has already declared a Violent War against the adivasis, dalits, farmers and the most marginalized communities. The songs by the students from Pune and Jeevanshalas, brought tears and strength to the eyes of all. As 30 years of a resilient struggle in the Narmada valley, a new phase of the struggle begins…satyagraha shall intensify..
Kailash Yadav Narmada bai Salagram Bhagiram
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