Day 2: Narmada Jeevan Adhikar Satyagraha
Landless, Fisherwomen of Semalda, Dhanora and Bajrikheda condemn Modi Govt’s massacre of Narmada valley
“Fishing is our agriculture”: We will live and die for Narmada
13th August: The second day of the indefinite Jeevan Adhikar Satyagraha at Rajghat, Badwani, witnessed the participation of a large number of women and men from the Sardar Sarovar affected villages, especially a large number of landless women and fish workers from Dhanora (Tehsil Badwani), Semalda (Tehsil Manavar) and Bajrikheda (Tehsil Kukshi), who resolved to resolved to intensify the struggle.
“Can Modi live with Rs. 20,000 and a house plot? Each suit of his costs more than Rs. 20,000. How then can he expect an entire family to live on a 20,000 rehabilitation grant” ? roared Sudhabai of Village Semala, who stated that she would not relent from the Satyagraha until all dispalced fish workers obtain right to fishing in the reservoir. Pointing to the rampant corruption at the Rehabilitation Office of NVDA, Pemalbhai of Village Dhanora challenged the claims of the Govt that her house and houses of many others of Dhanora would “not be affected by submergence”, since waters had come close to her house during the submergence of 2012-13.
Speaking on behalf of the generations-old potter community, Ramesh Prajapati stated that a few hundred families of potters living along the river banks in Villages Rajghat, Nisarpur, Sala etc have also been given meagre cash grants, without any livelihood security. “Potters also require land as livelihood on the river bank, and our struggle is for that right, not for breadcrumbs”, he said.
Rulsing, an adivasi from the hilly tribal villages Kharya Bhadal acknowledged that it was due to relentless struggle by his family, village and the entire Andolan that the Govt. finally admitted that the land from the land bank was encroached / uncultivable and finally the State had to give cultivable land worth 2.5 crores to his mother. “However, the struggle for land to 5 adult sons in the family continues”. Sardiya from hilly village Kakrana stated that despite multiple rounds to the GRA, he and 13 members of Kakrana and Sugat villages ahve eben denied land at Khajuri. Their struggle also continues.
Ganpat from Village Rajghat, whose old father Gopal baba died a few days ago, without land begin given, stated that along with his deceased father, he and his 2 brother have been denied land. “We have a right of 20 acres of land, NVDA has not given us a cent of land. How then can they submerge our lands, he asked” ?
Vijay Valvi from Maharashtra stated that even as on date more than 1200 hilly tribal oustees, who are yet to be given 5 acres of land or other R&R entitlements and there can be no submergence, even during the present monsoon, until all these oustees are rehabilitated. Children from the Jeevanshalas of hilly villages Bhadal (Badwani) and Bhitada (Alirajpur dist.) sang various songs, too out a march along the river bank declared, “Jeevanshala ki kya hai baat, ladhai padhai saath, saath”. A morning Prathana at the satyagraha sthal and an evening Prarthana, on the Narmada bank at the Gandhi Samadhi, Rajghat, strengthen the spirits of all those present.
Speaking to the oustees, Medha Patkar stated that the Govt. cannot snatch away or submerge the land and livelihood rights of thousands of farmers and landless oustees in the valley, without recognizing their right to rehabilitation as well as rights as “land / house owners as per the new Land Acquisition Act, 2013. Talking to the press on the status of rehabilitation in the three affected states senior social activists; Dr. Sunilam (Madhya Pradesh), Lakhan Musafir(Gujarat) and Suniti S.R. (Maharashtra), expressed grave concern on the serious state of denial of legal and human rights to the lakhs of oustees and open violation of the orders of the Supreme Courts and GRA. They committed that they shall strive to draw in support from all quarters for the Satyagraha, which has reached a critical phase, in the 30thyear of the Andolan. The satyagraha and the struggle continues…
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