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Narmada oustees' Rally for Valley stopped, Gujarat cops detain Medha Patkar, Prafulla Samantara, Nita Mahadev

By Our Representative
Senior leaders of Rally for the Valley, organized by India’s well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) led by top social activist Medha Patkar, were detained at Gujarat border’s Kavta checkpost near Kavta village in Chhotaudaipur district of Gujarat, as they tried to enter the state from Madhya Pradesh, on Wednesday afternoon.
Among those who were detained included top Patkar, Prafulla Samantara, winner of this year's prestigious environmental Nobel, Goldman Award, and top Gujarat Gandhian Nita Mahadev. They were stopped and detained by the police, which has refused to grant to Rally for the Valley a permission to enter Gujarat and take the rally to the state's villages. It rally was scheduled to pass through the Narmada district to reach Maharashtra.
Calling it an attack on the “constitutional rights of citizens of this country”, NBA in a statement said, the Rally for the Valley, which consists of hundreds of activists and Narmada dam oustees, was to pass through Gujarat and reach Jeevanshala, a school run by Narmada Navnirmaan Abhiyan of Chimalkhedi, Maharashtra.
“The police officials failed to produce any written order. Even the vehicles with Gujarat number plate and local buses were stopped from crossing the border”, NBA alleged in a statement, adding, this is nothing but “rampant suppressing people’s voices and their constitutional rights.”
Earlier, the police imposed Section 144 in the area where the NBA rally was to pass from Gujarat, prohibiting more than four persons to gather at one place. Apart from detaining Patkar and other activists, police also detained students, who had come from all over India to participate in the Rally of the Valley
In its last leg, the Rally for the Valley, which began on June 5, World Environment Day, did not face any such problem in Madhya Pradesh. On June 6, thousands of Narmada dam oustees gathered for a public meeting in the submergence zone village of Nisarpur, Madhyya Pradesh as part of the three-day campaign, which was kicked off in Indore.
Addressing the mass meeting, Mahadev, who heads Gujarat Lok Samiti, said, the Modi government has been “pressing for completion for the Narmada dam by closing its gates just to reap political benefit before the Gujarat assembly elections.”
Pointing out that it is impossible to rehabilitate thousands of the oustees before July 31, as desired by the Madhya Pradesh government, Mahadev the government has been seeking to use force to show that all the people had been adequately rehabilitated.
“Water that is currently being diverted from the dam to Gujarat is not reaching farmers but is being sold to corporations and cities”, she alleged, even as Gujarat’s revolutionary songwriter and singer Vinay Mahajan infused sang songs on the need to use non-violent ways in the face of brutal state terror.
Speaking at the public meeting, a class 6 child and a resident of the submergence zone village, Nisarpur, Ankita Soni Pankaj, asked the Prime Minister: “You live in bungalows, wear suits worth lakhs, travel abroad… What do you have for us?”
Those who spoke included Surendra Singh Baghel, MLA, Kukshi, Gajendra Singh, ex-MP, Congress, Patkar, Samantara, Jaswinder Singh Kaur of the All India Kisan Sabha, Dr Sunilam, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti’s Aradhana Bhargav, National Alliance of People’s Movement’s Madhuresh Kumar, and others.

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