Skip to main content

Attempts to implicate Medha Patkar, others in false allegations widely condemned

By Bharat Dogra

Social activists who devote their life selflessly to advancing the cause of justice and environment protection in peaceful and democratic ways are a source of great strength for any genuine democracy and any such country would take great pride in their achievements.
Medha Patkar and her close colleagues in the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) are such activists whose achievements in this context have been widely recognized nationally and internationally. She has received, with her close and equally brave colleagues, many prestigious awards including the Right Livelihood Award, the Goldman Environment Award and Human Rights Defender Award. More precious has been the great love and respect she has received from people.
Millions of persons have derived inspiration from her and her close colleagues. Movements like the NBA (for protecting the rights of dam affected people and for reconsideration of decisions on destructive projects with incredibly high adverse social and ecological impacts) and the Ghar Bachao, Ghar Banao Andolan (for protecting housing rights of slum dwellers in Mumbai) are considered very important milestones in the history of social movements. Apart from being associated very closely with these movements in leading roles, Medha and her close colleagues have played an important role in the coming together of social organizations and social movements in India in the form of the National Alliance of People’s Movements ( NAPM).
Medha Patkar was also a commissioner in the World Commission on Dams and played an important role in formulating policies on several issues of crucial interest to weaker sections and protection of environment.
It was increasingly realized by several social activists that it was important to combine activism with constructive activities, and the Narmada Nav Nirman Abhiyan (NNNA) was started to initiate innovative schools and various activities which will help to find an alternative development path.
It is highly regrettable that powerful forces have been again and again making efforts to implicate Medha Patkar and her close colleagues in false allegations. To give an example, one such such effort was made about 15 years back in 2007 in the form of a legal case which was dismissed by the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court judgment delivered on 10 July 2007 had criticized this ill-motivated litigation calling it a private interest case and imposing costs, adding also that the work of Medha Patkar was in the interests of rehabilitation of dam oustees.
Exactly 15 years after this judgment of the Supreme Court of India, a FIR has sought to implicate Medha Patkar and close colleagues in NNNA in several false allegations. Within a short time hundreds of activists, academics, journalists and others have rallied to the support of Medha and her close colleagues. In a statement titled ‘Withdraw the trumped up FIR filed against Medha Patkar and other trustees of NNNA’, the NAPM has stated, “ It is indeed atrocious that a public-spirited trust like NNNA which has been working for over two decades in the interests of the displacement affected adivasis and rural communities in the Narmada valley in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, is having to face such bizarre allegations from vested interests.”
The NAPM has recalled that following such ill-motivated acts in the past, the NNNA in a statement dated 6 April, 2022 has already replied to issues relating to some old transactions. The NAPM has called for immediate withdrawal of FIR against Medha and all trustees of NNNA while also calling upon the government to refrain from any coercive action.The NAPM has stated, “ We assert the constitutional right to organize and right to liberty of all activists who are facing state repression for their public-spirited work.”
---
The writer is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include ‘A Day in 2071’, ‘Planet in Peril', ‘Man over Machine' and ‘When the Two Streams Met'

Comments

TRENDING

'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

Misleading ads 'manipulate, seduce, lure' to market unhealthy harmful food

By Our Representative  The Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPI) in its new report “50 Shades of Food Advertising” has sought to expose how seductive, luring, manipulative or deceptive these advertisements can be. Consequences of such advertising are increased intake of unhealthy food products that is associated with obesity and diabetes, it says. 

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. 

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.

'Failure of governance': India, China account for 54% pollution-related deaths globally

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram*   A recent report jointly prepared by UNICEF and the independent research organization Health Effects Institute has been released, and the statistics within it are alarming. It states that in 2021, air pollution caused the deaths of 2.1 million Indians, including 169,000 children who hadn't yet fully experienced life. These figures are indeed distressing and raise questions about why there hasn't been more serious effort in this direction, putting policymakers to shame. 

August 9 to be observed as Corporates Quit India day: Top farmers' group

By Our Representative A recent general body meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), the top farmers' organisation, stated hat "there is no need for any illusion of change in the pro-corporate policies of the BJP-NDA government" following the recent elections in which BJP failed to achieve even simple majority. It insisted,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi "is hell bent" to continue 'business as usual' policies.

Over 3.8 billion animals at risk: India on crossroad in animal welfare practices

By Rupali Soni*  In a collaborative effort, the India Animal Fund and Dasra have unveiled their report , "Our Shared Future | Securing Animal Welfare, Human Wellbeing, and Sustainability in India." This landscape report provides a thorough overview of animal welfare and underscores its indispensable role within India's socio-economic and ecological frameworks. It also illustrates how animal welfare is intricately intertwined with public health, labor welfare, and climate resilience.

Belgian report alleges MNC Etex responsible for asbestos pollution in Madhya Pradesh town Kymore: COP's Geneva meet

By Our Representative A comprehensive Belgian report has held MNC Etex , into construction business and one of the richest, responsible for asbestos pollution in Kymore, an industrial town in in Katni district of Madhya Pradesh. The report provides evidence from the ground on how Kymore’s dust even today is “annoying… it creeps into your clothes, you have to cough it”, saying “It can be deadly.”

Women's emancipated under Mao: Girl completed primary school, began working in farm collective

By Harsh Thakor*  The book “New Women in New China”, a collection of articles projecting dramatic transformation -- political and economic -- in the status of Chinese women after liberation, originally published in 1972, and reprinted in 2023 by the Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, encompasses the period between 1949 and 1972, seeking to give justice to the subject of women’s emancipation in China after the 1949 revolution.