Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Medha Patkar refuses any out-of-court settlement in the infamous attack on her at Sabarmati Ashram in 2002

By Our Representative 
Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar has refused any compromise with Ahmedabad-based businessman-cum-activist VK Saxena of the National Council for Civil Liberties in the Sabarmati Ashram case, in  which she and other activists were attacked during participation in a protest meeting against the Gujarat riots in 2002. The refusal came in the wake of a suggestion from the judicial magistrate at Saket Court, New Delhi, who  was hearing defamation case filed by her against Saxena, and vice versa.
The issue came up when the judge suggested a compromise be reached between the two parties on defamation cases against each other. According to sources, Saxena appeared ready for compromise if Patkar withdrew the case filed by her in 2002 on the attack against her, being heard in an  Ahmedabad court. In the 2002 case, Saxena is one of the accused along with other three others from the BJP and the Congress. Patkar refused on the ground that the attack at the sadbhavna meeting, post-2002 riots, in Sabarmati Ashram, was "brutal and fatal" and was witnessed by 40 eminent persons.
At the commencement of hearing, Patkar's advocate VK Ohri filed an application on behalf of Patkar to reduce the cost for her absence last time when she was on indefinite fast in Golibar, Mumbai. The plea on her behalf was the context of eviction and demolition of houses in Golibar in order to implement the slum rehabilitation project. As the fast continued for nine days and ended with concrete assurances to stop eviction and enquiry into alleged fraud in slum rehabilitation project, she could not attend the hearing in the defamation cases on April 6 in New Delhi.
"Ohri pleaded that since the fast was for a serious public cause and  Patkar belongs to peoples’ movements with financial crunch, the cost may be waived", sources close to Patkar said, adding, "The judicial magistrate reduced the cost from Rs.15000 to Rs.9000, i.e. Rs.3000 in each of the cases. He expressed his inability to waive the cost as it was passed by another magistrate."
The defamation case filed by Patkar is regarding the allegations in a fake advertisement published in the several dailies in November 2000 wherein NBA and Patkar were accused of receiving funds through hawala transaction. Patkar filed a defamation case, saying the so-called transaction involved a fake cheque from a fake account, yet Saxena published it by siting a letter given by Lok Samiti, Malegaon, a supporter organization of the NBA.

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