Skip to main content

1,500 anti-Narmada dam protesters, leader Medha Patkar detained in Bhopal, released following all-India "pressure"

Women protest while being taken to Bhopal Central Jail
By Our Representative
In a major swoop, the Madhya Pradesh police on Wednesday morning detained approximately 1,500 on protesting Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activists and supporters at the Bhopal railway station soon they got down. The NBA activists were first taken to Habibgunj Railway Station and then to Central Jail, Gandhi Nagar, Bhopal.
Among those who were arrested a little later were NBA leader Medha Patkar and Aam Aadmi Party leader Alok Agrawal, when they were seeking to go and meet chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan. They were also taken to the Central Jail.
The activists and their supporters had planned a protest against the alleged unilateral decision of the inter-state Narmada Control Authority (NCA) to close the Narmada dam’s 30-odd gates in order to fill up waters in the reservoir up to 138.64 metres.
While being detained, they raised anti-dam slogans. The police said, the activists were being detained on “instructions from above.”
Medha Patkar arguing with cops before being detained
The NBA claims, as many as 192 villages and one town would be submerged as a result of the NCA decision, displacing 40,000 families. It cites government figures to say that at least 18,000 families would be displaced and need to be rehabilitated. The rehabilitation sites, it alleges, are still not prepared for them to be livable.
In the evening, at around 4.30 pm they were let off, following “pressure from large sections of people, including activists, politicians, and intellectuals from across India”, NBA said in a communiqué.
Soon after the detention, the NBA issued an open appeal, seeking support from politicians, activists and intellectuals, asking them to approach by phone, fax and email the DGP, Madhya Pradesh, and the Madhya Pradesh chief minister, among others, to build pressure to release them.
Coffin Satyagraha in Delhi on July 18
An NBA communiqué said, “This is the third time in a month time when police detained the people of Narmada Valley and NBA activists without any reasons”, calling it “the worst dictatorship in India.”
Earlier on Tuesday, in Delhi, the police swooped on protesting NBA activists under the leadership of Patkar, who protested in what they called “Coffin Satyagraha”. Narmada dam affected women lied down in front of the Water Resources Ministry building, covering themselves with a white shroud. The police removed them.
When the protesting women, about 100 of them, refused to budge, the police used lathicharge to remove them. A few of the women sustained injuries. Six women were taken to the hospital, while four went unconscious during the melee.
The protest followed NBA leaders’ hour-long meeting with Union water resources secretary Amarjit Singh, telling him about the danger of displacement looming large over tens of thousands of people. Singh, on his part, cited figures to show nothing of the sort would happen, and the protesters’ apprehensions were wrong.

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender

By Kirity Roy*  One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

How GMOs would destroy non-GMO crops: Aruna Rodrigues' key submissions in SC

Counterview Desk The introduction of Bt and HT crops will harm the health of 1 billion Indians and their animals, believes Aruna Rodrigues, who has made some 60 submissions to the Supreme Court (SC) during the last 20 years. As lead petitioner who filed Public Interest Litigation in 2005, during a spate of intense hearings, which ended on 18 January 2024, she fought in the Apex Court to prevent the commercialization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Indian agriculture. 

Social justice day amidst 'official neglect' of salt pan workers in Little Rann of Kutch

By Prerana Pamkar*  In India’s struggle for Independence, the Salt Satyagraha stands as a landmark movement and a powerful symbol of nonviolent resistance. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, countless determined citizens walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat. However, the Gujarat which witnessed the power of the common Indian during the freedom struggle is now in the throes of another significant movement: this time it is seeking to free salt pan workers from untenable working conditions in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).

Corporatizing Indian agriculture 'to enhance' farmer efficiency, market competitiveness

By Shashank Shukla*  Today, amidst the ongoing farmers' protest, one of the key demands raised is for India to withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO). Let us delve into the feasibility of such a move and explore its historical context within India's globalization trajectory.

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Livelihood issues return to national agenda ahead of LS polls: SKM on Bharat Bandh

Counterview Desk  Top farmers' network, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has claimed big success of Grameen Bharat Bandh and industrial /sectoral strikes, stating, the “struggle reflected anger of farmers, workers and rural people across India”, adding, the move on February 16 succeeded in bringing back peoples’ livelihood issues in the national agenda just ahead of the general election to the Lok Sabha.

How retraints were imposed on academic freedom on the IIM-Ahmedabad campus

By Sandeep Pandey*  This is the seventh consecutive academic year when I would have gone as a visiting faculty member to the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad to teach an Elective course on Transformational Social Movements to the second year of Post Graduate Programme students. But the invitation has not come so far and it looks like it is the end of my teaching stint at IIM, at least, so long as the Bhartiya Janata Party remains in power at the centre.

A 'distorted narrative' of Indian politics: Congress failing to look beyond LS polls

By Prem Singh*  About 15 days ago, I told a senior journalist friend that there are not even two   months left for the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi is roaming around on a delectation (tafreeh). The friend probably found my comment exasperating and replied that he is not on a delectation trip. The conversation between us on this topic ended there.