Skip to main content

Rally for Valley begins along Narmada to protest "failure" to develop rehab sites, will visit MP, Maharashtra, Gujarat

By Rahul Yadav*
"We are not on any government's mercy and those in power must understand this. We are cultivating our fields and living in the villages on the banks of Maa Narmada for centuries. She gave us life, and we preserved and nurtured her”, thundered Shyama Bai of Pichodi village during the public meeting at Khalghat, Madhya Pradesh, from where the Rally for the Valley began on the World Environment Day.
Insisting that “nobody can separate us by force or any threat”, Shyama Bai declared, “Doobenge par hatenge nahin (We will choose to drown but not leave Narmada valley), we have said this for three decades, and will continue on our stand".
She was one of the thousands of people who gathered at the rally, whose call was given by the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA). Also participated by about 200 supporters from 15 states as a response to complete failure of the Madhya Pradesh government in completing any resettlement sites, the rally saw participants point towards the officialdom threatening people over the past one month with forced eviction.
The villagers were determined: They would not leave their villages till their demands were met. If they had held on to their ground for three decades then they were ready to hold on and fight for their rights for the next three decades.
NBA leader Medha Patkar said, the government has failed to build 88 resettlement sites in three decades, wondering, whether the government had a magic wand that it would provide all the basic amenities and completely developed settlement sites before July 31, the deadline set by the Supreme Court to resettle the oustees.
Dr Sunilam, a senior activist, said the situation today was similar to war and one couldn’t be silent witness to the “mass murder” planned by the government. “We are talking of two lakh people, which is not a small number”, he said, adding, “It’s a battle for everyone and not for only those affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam.”
Dr Sunilam asked chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan to personally visit the 88 resettlement sites to see for himself whether the sites were ready.
Environmentalists Dr Soumya Dutta and Chinmay Mishra said, disaster were awaiting to happen in the Valley as it is only people but lakhs of trees and pristine forests which would drown. “The scourge of sand mining and series of dams have already killed the river Narmada”, they underlined.
Others who spoke included Krishna Prasad of the All India Kisaan Sabha, former MP Raju Kheri and MLA Surendra Singh Baghel (Kukshi). Senior activists present on the occasion were Nita Mahadev, Ashok Shrimali, Hansmukhbhai, Jiku Bhai, all from Gujarat; advocate Shiva Kumar from Chennai; Sainaba Teacher from Kerala; Rajendra Ravi, Bhupender Singh Rawat, Nanhu Gupta and Madhuresh Kumar from National Alliance of Movements, Delhi; Sanjeev Kumar and Aashima from Delhi Solidarity, among others.
Participants also included students from Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Film and Television Institute of India, Hyderabad Central University, Jamia Milia Islamia, and Indian Institute of Technology.
The yatra will travel through different villages of Dhar, Kukshi, Badwani, Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh, Nandurbar district of Maharashtra and Narmada district of Gujarat.
---
*With Narmada Bachao Andolan

Comments

TRENDING

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Violent 'Ajodhya' campaign in 1840s after British captured Kabul, destroyed Jama Masjid

Counterview Desk  Irfan Ahmad, professor at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany, and author of “Islamism and Democracy in India” (Princeton University Press, 2009), short-listed for the 2011 International Convention of Asian Scholars Book Prize for the best study in Social Sciences, in his "initial thoughts" on the Supreme Court judgment on the Babri-Jam Janmaboomi dispute has said, while order was “lawful”, it was also “awful.”

Visually challenged lady seeks appointment with Gujarat CM, is 'unofficially' detained

By Pankti Jog*
It was a usual noon of November 10. I got a phone call on our Right to Information (RTI) helpline No 9924085000 from Ranjanben of Khambhat, narrating her “disgraceful” experience after she had requested for an appointment with Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani. She wanted to meet Rupani, on tour of the Khambhat area in Central Gujarat as part of his Janvikas Jumbesh (Campaign for Development).

There may have been Buddhist stupa at Babri site during Gupta period: Archeologist

By Rajiv Shah
A top-notch archeologist, Prof Supriya Varma, who served as an observer during the excavation of the Babri Masjid site in early 2000s along with another archeologist, Jaya Menon, has controversially stated that not only was there "no temple under the Babri Masjid”, if one goes “beyond” the 12th century to 4th to 6th century, i.e. the Gupta period, “there seems to be a Buddhist stupa.”

VHP doesn't represent all Hindus, Sunni Waqf Board all Muslims: NAPM on SC ruling

Counterview Desk
India's top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), even as describing the Supreme Court's Ayodhya judgement unjust, has said, it is an "assault on the secular fabric of the Constitution". In a statement signed by top social workers and activists, NAPM said, "The judgement conveys an impression to Muslims that, despite being equal citizens of the country, their rights are not equal before the law."

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says: