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

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.

When a Pak scribe said Modi has 'proved' Jinnah’s two nation theory right...

By Zafar Agha*
It was around nine in the morning on May 24, 2019, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed the Lok Sabha with 300-plus MPs. It was a call from a journalist friend, Muzamal Suhrawardy, from Lahore, Pakistan. I ignored the call. We liberals had a depressing day the previous evening as the opposition to Modi and BJP collapsed. The results belied reports from the ground and even assessments made by colleagues.

It's now official: Akshay Kumar has not been conferred honorary Canadian citizenship

By Our Representative
It is now official. Super-star Akshay Kumar has not been conferred any honorary citizenship by Canadian authorities, as claimed by him ahead of the 2019 elections. In reply to a query by Roshan Shah, who is a Canadian citizen living in Waterloo, Ontario, and belongs to Ahmedabad, the country’s authorities dealing with issues related with immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada have said that only six persons have so far been granted honorary citizenship.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Govt of India overestimated GDP by 2.5%, must restore reputational damage: Ex-CEA

By Rajiv Shah
Top economist Arvind Subramanian has said that changes brought about by the Government of India in data sources and methodology for estimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 “has led to a significant overestimation of growth”. While official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent, the actual growth may have been 4½ percent, ranging from 3 ½ to 5 ½ percent during the period, he adds.

If EC's credibility is under question, shouldn't one "assume" EVMs might be tampered?

Counterview Desk
Gauhar Raza, scientist, documentary film maker and poet; senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi of the Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD); military veteran Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd); and Sucheta De and Sandeep Saurav of the All India Students' Association (AISA), have asked “individuals, organisations and people's movements” to send their endorsement to an appeal they have prepared on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.

Will minorities in India be 2nd class citizens? Wake up call: Be a 'communicating' Church

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
India today is at a defining moment of her history. There is so much that has taken place in the past five years (and particularly in the last ten days)- that several citizens of the country are genuinely concerned about the future of the country! Will democracy survive? Will key elements of the Constitution be changed?