Demand Unconditional Release of Medha Patkar, Santu, Vijay and Dhurji


Badwani, Madhya Pradesh | August 21, 2017: A letter writing campaign to Prime Minister was undertaken in numerous villages of Narmada Valley demanding withdrawal of all criminal cases and unconditional release of Medha Patkar, Santu, Vijay, and Dhurji, NBA activists lodged in jail since August 9th. They gave detailed picture of the incomplete and unjust rehabilitation work and asked, “will the lakhs of people be drowned without complete and just rehabilitation? Will the lives of lakhs of people be sacrificed to pay the price of Development? Will you accept the drowning of lakhs of trees and cattle in independent India ?”

Along with these critical questions, they also requested the prime minister to take a serious note of the demands raised by the 32-year-long struggle, Narmada Bachao Andolan, and direct the Madhya Pradesh government to accept the ground-reality and complete just rehabilitation as per the NWDT Award and Supreme Court judgements of the 192 villages and one township affected from Sardar Sarovar Dam in Madhya Pradesh. Kisan Sangharsh Samit and many other organisations held demonstrations and also wrote letters to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan with similar demands.

Administrations delaying tactics, keeping Medha Patkar and other activists in jail

NBA condemns the Madhya Pradesh government’s attempts to keep Medha Patkar in prison through various delaying tactics. She has been in prison since August 9th. She was jailed after her release from the Indore Bombay Hospital same day. Since that day, administration has wilfully delayed and also imposed a number of false charges aganst her including that of kidnapping government officials on Day 7th of her indefinite fast. Last week, she was produced in the Kukshi court through video conferencing after a days delay on account of link failure where she was denied bail. Even today, the government delayed the bail proceedings in the Indore High Court by not producing the case diary. The bail application will now be heard later this week sometime, as we write there is no clarity on this.

NBA intensifies struggle

On August 19, 2017, approximately 5000 people marched to the office of the SDM, Kukshi, and submitted a memorandum detailing about the illegal arrest of Medha Patkar, Santu, Vijay, and Dhurji, and asked for their unconditional release immediately. The march was organised as part of jail bharo andolan by the NBA, challenging the numerous false cases filed by the Badwani and Dhar police against 2500 people from different villages. These are nothing but the intimidation and an attempt at muzzling the dissent and provoking the non-violent struggle of the people. NBA demands that State immediately withdraws these cases otherwise whole valley is ready to voluntarily go to jail. The Andolan remains committed to the struggle for justice and warns the government of non-cooperation in rehabilitation work if it does not release the arrested people immediately and withdraws cases. The project affected people have already started to refuse any assistance in the official work unless there is concrete dialogue on the demands raise by the Andolan. Yesterday, people politely asked the rehabilitation survey team to go back as MP government has still not acted on the people’s demands.

In High Court Today

Today, on August 21, 2017, the case regarding the arrest of Medha Patkar under section 365 was scheduled for the hearing. However, the office of Advocate General deliberately misinformed the Kukshi police station to produce the case diary (case no. 9029/17) on 22nd August, and not on August 21 – the day of the hearing. Thus police failed to produce the case diary on time and thereby delaying any decision on the case. Senior advocate Anand Mohan Mathur brought to notice this delay to the court at 10:30 AM and requested to proceed with the trial, the Honourable Justice then asked the government lawyer to arrange the case dairy by afternoon and adjourned the hearing till then. But till 4 PM, government lawyers didn’t produce the case diary in a clear attempt to delay the hearing in the matter. As per the latest reports, the hearing of the case has now been rescheduled to August 23, 2017. This only shows the desperation of the government and every attempt at keeping Medha Patkar in jail. NBA would like to make it clear that the governments delaying tactics is not going to dampen the spirit of struggle. They can delay proceedings but can’t defeat us.

Case in Indore High Court on the R&R

The Indore High Court has now given another date in the ongoing SLP filed by the Oustees of Narmada Valley, with regard to incomplete R&R as per the orders of Supreme Court and NWDT Award. The next hearing will be on September 7, 2017. The question on our minds is, can the lives of lakhs of people be sacrificed in the name of development? Will the people of Narmada Valley get justice before the government fills the Sardar Sarovar Reservoir to its full capacity by October 10, 2017 ? Can we silently allow the drowning of the age old Narmada Valley civilization, with lakhs of people, centuries-old villages, millions of trees, livestock, sites of religious and archaeological importance this easily ?

Narmada Bachao Andolan remains steadfast in its resolve to fight this injustice and is not going to allow the governments to perpetrate this injustice. Our struggle has inspired many across the word and we know that they are all with us in this time of crisis.

We request you all to take action and sign this petition and spread the word

Bhagirath Dhangar, Deven Tomar, Sanobar Bi Mansoori, Kailash Yadav, Surbhan Bhai, Rohit Thakur, Kamla Yadav, Ranveer Bhai
Contact: 9179617513 | 9867348307

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