|People’s resistance to ‘displacement without rehabilitation’ is challenging the corrupt practices of Madhya Pradesh and Indian state and administration.
They tried to remove us with false hopes and assurances. They tried to remove us by submitting false affidavits in contempt of court. They tried to remove us using police force and violence in contempt of democracy. ‘No displacement without rehabilitation’ is a constitutional right guaranteed to each and every citizen of this nation. Narmada Nyay Yatra will claim that right through legal, constitutional and non-violent satyagrah.
After the succesful uprising of the people of the Narmada Valley against evictions before rehabilitation is completed, CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan announced a package relief of 900 crores. But those 900 crores have gotten lost in the bureaucratic muddle and due to lack of executive orders. On hand the Chief Minister of the state is announcing measures of relief for the media and on ground they are shamelessly arresting Narmada Bachao Andolan activists on fabricated charges and carrying out reign of repression across the state. While PM Narendra Modi is busy planning the inauguration of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on his birthday on 17 July, we want to ask him if he is dedicating the dam to the ‘nation’ or to the ‘corporates’? Why is Shivraj Singh Chauhan more loyal to the state of Gujarat instead of focusing on the welfare of his own state Madhya Pradesh?
On the first day of Narmada Nyay Yatra, thousands of oustees tied black bands around their mouths as a silent protest and demonstrated outside the Badwani Jail with the symbolic ‘balance of justice’ demanding the release of their saathis, Vijay Marola (Village Kaparkheda), Santu Patidar (Nisarpur) and Dhurji Patidar (Nisarpur). They were released at 6.30 in the evening.
Badal Saroj, leader of Communist Party of India (Marxist) flagged off the march further and compared the arrest of comrades with Nelson Mandela’s incarceration while struggling against apartheid. Everyone agreed that the powerful participation of women has forced the Shivraj regime to back off. The most burning issue of our times, ‘resource loot’ was discussed in the Yatra in the context of selling off the waters of river Narmada to Coca Cola or Ultratech cement facories. It was declared that while claiming ‘development’ they are actually distorting the river and our planet.
Narmada Nyay Yatra covered villages and met altogether atleast 25000 persons living on the bank of Narmada Yatra has explained how the state government of M.P. and the centre commenced its brutal battle against the people of Narmada Valley. The false criminal cases filed as well as the force and intimidation used to try and suppress, oppress and vacate the villages faced the challenge of people’s power.
People especially the landless in villages like Pichhodi and Bhavti, narrated the story of those few who signed the official affidavits to receive the package of 5.80 lakhs for house construction and left their own old house however didn’t receive the same. Some received the amount without asking for any package. The government has now started allotting house plots, only 1/3 of the area offered by Tribunal Award as a legal right. They have also at a few places asked the oustees to give back 2/4 of the plot they are already allotted, years ago. All this is obviously to show falsely, that people are ready and willing to take whatever is offered, even against the law and leave their house. All this is illegal and thousands and thousands of families, realising the cunning strategy has refused to sign any such affidavit and denied vacating their houses. The fisherpeople, the boatsmen as well as the potters have not yet received the rights which are recently promised.
On the legal front, the next hearing on R & R sites is to be held on 7 September and Narmada Bachao Andolan with its advocates including Adv. Anand Mohan Mathur and Pratyush Mishra as also Medha Patkar, the intervener in person will be before the court to represent the serious situation at R & R sites, in violation of the SC order of 8.2.2017.
Shantu, Vijay and Dhurji who had been arrested on 9 August by M.P. police on false charges got bail from Indore High Court on 28 August and released on 29 August on 21st day of their arrest. But false charges on many activists still remain and the fight for withdrawing these allegations is on. The fight and non-violent struggle goes on till the valley people don't get their dues and just rehabilitation as per the NWDT Award.