Skip to main content

BJP-inspired? Withdraw 'trumped-up' FIRs against Medha Patkar, others: NAPM

Counterview Desk 

Top civil society network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), has sought immediate withdrawal of what it has termed "trumped-up FIR" filed against Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar and 11 others, who along with Patkar, are trustees of the Narmada Nav Nirman Abhiyan (NNNA).
NNNA claims to be working for over two decades "in the interest of the displacement-affected adivasi and rural communities in the Narmada valley in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh."
Seeking wider endorsement, the NAPM statement says the "false cases, allegations and media trial" against Patkar and others "are part of a continuing spree of persecution against rights defenders, civil liberties activists, fact-checkers, students etc. who have been speaking truth to power, exposing the anti-people nature of this government and questioning the injustice being meted out to marginalized sections of our society."

Text:

National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) strongly condemns the FIR filed against social activist Medha Patkar and 11 other trustees of Narmada Nav Nirman Abhiyan (NNNA), under Sec 420 IPC at the Badwani Police Station in MP, as widely reported in the media.
It is indeed atrocious that a public-spirited Trust like NNNA (registered in Mumbai) which has been working for over two decades in the interest of the displacement-affected adivasi and rural communities in the Narmada valley in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, especially children, is having to face such bizarre allegations from vested interests.
It is learnt that the complaint alleging ‘misuse of funds’, ‘cheating’, 'financial irregularities’, ’anti-national activities’ etc. has been filed by one Mr Pritam Raj Badole, who, as per his public profile on Koo social media is an activist of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), student wing of the ruling BJP in Khargone, MP.
It may be noted that a few months back, a similar false allegation was leveled against Medha Patkar and NNNA by one Mr Sanjeev Jha, resident of Ghaziabad. Although sections of the media reported that an FIR was filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), no notice has been issued so far.
Through a clarification dated 6th April, 2022, NNNA already countered those allegations pertaining to 17-year-old financial transactions. NNNA has stated that all their accounts are up-to-date and the Trust is willing to co-operate in any process of inquiry. It is, however, clear that the BJP government is on an all-out attempt to vilify Medha Patkar and the organizations she is associated with.
All the persons named in the FIR dated 9th July, 2022 have been associated with people’s issues in Narmada valley for long. They include families affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project who have struggled for decades against unjust displacement, seeking fair rehabilitation, as per judicial orders. Other trustees have been supporters of the people’s movement for rights and justice in the valley and have facilitated constructive work on education, health etc.
It needs to be pointed out that there has been a long history to the persecution and vilification that people from Narmada valley and their supporters have faced from the Governments and vested interests.
Way back in 2007, the Hon’ble Supreme Court dismissed an ill-motivated petition filed by one Mr VK Saxena (current LG of Delhi), calling it a ‘private interest litigation’, imposing costs on him for the same and stating that the work of Medha Patkar was in the interest of rehabilitation of the dam oustees. (Judgement[1] dated 10 July, 2007 in National Council for Civil Liberties vs Union of India & Ors).
Despite many challenges from the state, Narmada Bachao Andolan has been working relentlessly for the past 37 years, within the framework of the law of the land and Constitution, through peaceful struggle and constructive means to organize the farmers, adivasis, fisher people and other communities for their rights, while also undertaking educational and other initiatives for the children in the interior adivasi regions, where the governments have miserably failed in extending basic entitlements.
Medha Patkar has always supported and strengthened people’s struggles across the country, over three decades. It is a matter of utter shame that the government chooses to criminalize well-meaning people working for the oppressed sections, instead of enabling their efforts.
There is no doubt that these false cases, allegations and media trial are part of a continuing spree of persecution against rights defenders, civil liberties activists, fact-checkers, students etc. who have been speaking truth to power, exposing the anti-people nature of this government and questioning the injustice being meted out to marginalized sections of our society.
NAPM condemns these vengeful actions of the BJP Government against persons working in public interest.
  • We call for immediate withdrawal of the FIR against Medha Patkar and all trustees of NNNA.
  •  We also warn the government to refrain from undertaking any coercive action through its investigative and law enforcement agencies.
  • We assert the constitutional rights to organize and the right to liberty of all activists who are facing state repression for their public-spirited work.

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. 

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

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).

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. 

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. .

Will Budget 2024 help empower city govts, make them India's growth engines?

By Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Arjun Kumar* Cities in India are envisioned as engines of growth. Any meaningful long-term vision for India would be incomplete without planning for the cities and quite rightly, urbanization is considered as one of the country’s top developmental challenges. Realization of full potential of cities depends crucially on their ability to provide ‘enabling’ environment especially in terms of sustained provision of a wide range of urban infrastructure and services.

Interpreting UAPA bail provisions: Is Supreme Court setting the clock back?

By Kavita Srivastava*, Dr V Suresh** The Supreme Court in its ruling on 7th February, 2024 in   `Gurvinder Singh v State of Punjab’ held that its own well-developed jurisprudence that "Bail is the rule and jail the exception" will not apply to those charged under the UAPA.

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.