Skip to main content

Medha Patkar "arrested" after Madhya Pradesh cops force their way into pandal, lathi charge Narmada oustees

Patkar surrounded by supporters just ahead of arrest
By Our Representative
Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar, who was fasting for the 12 days to protest against the “failure” of the Government of India to rehabilitate thousands of Narmada dam oustees, apprehending massive submergence in Madhya Pradesh, has been "arrested".
Fasting in village Chikhalda on the banks of Narmada river with 11 of her supporters, Patkar was “removed” in a violent police swoop, which lasted for an hour, said eye-witnesses.
The pandal in which she and her supporters were on indefinite hunger strike was brought down. The police resorted to lathi charge to remove Patkar’s supporters before taking her away. An NBA activist, Shankarlal, was reportedly admitted in ICU after police lathi-charge. Many others sustained injury.
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan denied that Patkar was arrested. He tweeted that he is a "sensitive person", and, considering Patkar's deteriorating health, she has only been admitted in a hospital on advice from doctors. "We wish her long and healthy life", he added.
In a statement ahead of her arrest at 6 pm, Patkar regretted that the only answer to their protest with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Madhya Pradesh chief minister was to put them pick them up and put them in detention.
Patkar being taken away  
“We wanted dialogue. However, they had no reply to the arguments we had put forward to contradict their web of statistical lies. Hence, they are using force”, said. She described the use force against her non-violent movement as running counter to Gandhiji’s and Dr Ambedkar’s vision.
Patkar’s arrest took place amidst news that 21 Goldman Environmental prize – popularly Green Nobel prize – winners and 50 international organizations are learnt to have extended their support to the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), asking Modi to intervene and stop “forced eviction” of 40,000 oustees of the Narmada dam.
The support follows world renowned linguist and social scientist Noam Chomsky, along with 800 people from 30 countries, asking Modi to enter into negotiations with Patkar.
An NBA release said, the Goldman prize winners have written “a collective letter”, urging Modi to “ensure the fundamental rights of life and livelihood of the people in a democratic country.”
Pandal pulled down after arresting Parkar
Key organizations that have sought Modi’s intervention include Asian Peasant Coalition, Association for India’s Development, Earth International, World Rainforest Movement, the Asian Human Rights Commission, Rivers without Boundaries International Coalition, Landless Workers Movement - Brazil, International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs - Copenhagen, among others.
Meanwhile, addressing media in Delhi, India’s land rights movement, Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA) leaders – CPI-M farmers’ leader Hannan Mollah, environmentalist Soumya Dutta, and National Federation of Indian Women general secretary Annie Raja – claimed that 191 villages and a small town, Dharampuri, would face submergence by mid-October once waters fill up to the full reservoir level, 138.68 metres, of the Narmada dam in Gujarat.
21 Goldman Environmental prize – popularly Green Nobel prize – winners and 50 international organizations extend support to Narmada Bachao Andolan, write to Modi 
Even the state government has estimated that 18,000 families still need to be rehabilitated, the BAA leaders said, adding, hundreds of temples, mosques, adivasi religious places, schools, health centres, thousands of shops, small business places, well developed fruits and vegetable farms still being actively used, all will be drowned.
The injured activist being taken to hospital
The leaders said, in its last order dated February 8, 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered the governments to compensate Rs.60 lakh (estimated price of 5 acres of agricultural land there) to all those losing over 25% of the land and who have not taken any compensation yet.
The order had further said, those who took the earlier meagre compensation of 5.58 lakh, but were cheated by the collusion of officers and land-agents, were to be awarded 15 lakhs each family. Even this has still not been done, they pointed out, adding, meanwhile, the state government has amassed large police force, conducting intimidating drills in villages, threatening villagers to vacate or face consequences.

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Union budget 'mum' on relief to marginalised communities facing climate change impact

Counterview Desk  ActionAid, an international advocacy group which claims to work for a world without poverty, patriarchy and injustice, has wondered if the Union budget 2023-24, which is being acclaimed for providing succour to the middle classes, has anything to offer to the India's poor. In a statement, it said, while the budget may have "prioritised inclusive development", the financial outlay for ensuring it "does not show the zeal as hoped." Stating that the Finance Minister said Rs 35,000 crore revenue would have to be "forgone" due to a reduction in personal income taxes, "fiscal prudence is not enough to expand public employment, social security, welfare, education and health expenditures considerably." "The need of the hour is to raise revenues through the reduction of revenues forgone and innovative mechanisms such as wealth tax on super accumulation of wealth", it added. Text: The Union Budget 2023 has given significant

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Lack of welfare schemes, BSF curbs force West Bengal farmers to migrate far away

Counteview Desk  In a representation to the National Human Rights Commission chairperson, a senior West Bengal based activist has complained that villagers living near the border with Bangladesh are forced to migrate to as far away as Mumbai and Kerala because of lack of government sensitivity towards their welfare in original villages. Giving specific instances, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, if the Border Security Force (BSF) had not put any restriction on agricultural activities, and if villages had properly implemented welfare schemes, these people would never migrate to other States. Text: I want to attract your immediate attention to the inhumane condition of the migrated workers of Gobra village, Swarupnagar Block in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal to seek your urgent intervention to protect the rights of these people. Gobra is a village situated near the Indo-Bangladesh Border where the border fencing is about 500 meters i

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen