New Delhi, September 13 : National Alliance of People’s Movements, Delhi Solidarity Group, Khudai Khidmatgar, Shahri Mahila Kaamgar Union, Domestic Workers’s Union, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Domestic Worker’s Forum, Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace, Jan Sangharsh Vahini members today protested against the complete apathy of the Madhya Pradesh government and police attrocities on the jalsatyagrahis in Khandwa, Dewas and Harda.
Protesters stood in support of the demands of the Indira Sagar Oustees who have been observing jalsatyagraha since September 1st at six places in three districts of Madhya Pradesh. Last year, oustees from Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar dams had stood in water for 17 days and then MP government had constituted a ministerial committee to look in to various issues. Yet, after a year, nothing has changed on ground, people have not got their due resettlement and rehabilitation benefits yet. These groups had protested against these injustices and denial of entitlements to projected affected people, at the same time last year at Madhya Pradesh Bhawan.
Bhupender Singh Rawat, National Convener, NAPM said over 40 years now nearly 30 big dams and many small and medium size dams have been built by Madhya Pradesh government. Together these dams have affected nearly 5 million farmers, workers, artisans, fisherfolks, adivasis and others. However, the dismal condition of project affected family either in Bargi dam, Tawa dam, Sardar Sarovar, Maheswar dam, Omkareshwar Dam, Mann dam, Jobat Dam or Indira Sagar dam stands exposed today. Narmada Bachao Andolan in last thirty years have constantly exposed the inefficiency of not only Madhya Pradesh government but also of the previous regimes, who have promised much but failed to deliver them on most of the occasions.
Sanjeev Kumar of Delhi Solidarity Group said, Narmada Valley has witnessed one of the worst flood in many decades submerging land, houses, crops, cattle and so on, yet MP government did nothing, except for making false claims of normalcy and providing relief. Narmada Valley Development Authority continues to shirk any responsibility whatsoever and has violated not only Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal Award, High Court and Supreme Court orders but the Madhya Pradesh Resettlement and Rehabilitation policy too.
Madhuresh Kumar, NAPM said that we are shocked and deeply anguished at this continued apathy from your government, Mr. Chuahan has Prime Ministerial ambitions has been portraying an image of one of the benevolent democrat, but about his rajdharma as the custodian of a welfare and democratic government. We feel ashamed at the fact that even after 11 days, CM has not taken action on any of this. Health of Satygrahis have been deteriorating, some of them are already in hospital, old men and women, young children who should have been taken care of the by the state are forced to stand in water for demanding their due share.
Meanwhile, Medha Patkar, NBA-NAPM, from Narmada valley said that projects affected people of Narmada dams have been observing jalsatyagrah since 1992 in the Narmada valley. Our resolve to fight for justice not only in Narmada valley but everywhere in the country gets strengthened everyday, since people have not moved even when police has beaten them up and locked them up. Even today when most of the dams on Narmada river have been built we have stood our ground and will continue to fight for the rights of project affected people. We secured fishijng rights of people in bargi, land for 11,000 oustees in Sardar Sarovar and will continue to fight for the right of everyone in the Narmada valley. Narmada Bachao Andolan is for protecting life and livelihood and for protecting precious natural resources.
In the memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister, Shri Shivraj Singh Chauhan, protesters said that left with no other option, people affected by the Indira Sagar Dam underttok to water and started their Jal Satyagraha fromSeptember 1, which continues even on its 12th today with full resolve. Men and women from Malud, Nandana, Pipalani and Lachhora of Khandwa district, Hanifabad Tola of the Harada district, and Mel Pipaliya village of the Devas district continue to protest in large numbers.
Rather than engaging in meaningful dialogue with project affected people your government arrested them, imposed Section 144 and harassed them time and again. Are we living in a democratic country still ? Is this the independent India for whose progress people have given their land and livelihood. If these oustees have been deprived of their livelihood for public purpose then why is their share in larger public purpose denied, why is justice not being done to them ?
Jalsatyagraha continued in Narmada valley even on twelfth day, despite failing health of some of the men and women. Vimal Bhai, Matu Jan Sangathan, Uttrakhand also joined them today morning.