BADWANI, MADHYA PRADESH:The day Medha Patkar and others broke their 17 day indefinite fast (August 12), Madhya Pradesh police slapped cases under various sections of disturbing peace, kidnapping and on 55 named and 2,500 unnamed activists of the Narmada Bachao Andolan.

Ironically most of the cases are related to the incident on August 7 when a strong police force violently attacked the fasting protesters, injured 42 and forcibly hospitalised 10 of them in Dhar and Indore Hospitals, according to the Narmada Andolan. This the protestors said was a brutal display of the terror and oppression being unleashed in Narmada Valley today’

Medha Patkar, Dhurji Bhai, Vijay Bhai, Santu Bhai have completed five days in different jails of Madhya Pradesh. All these cases have been imposed so that movement against the illegal and unjust forced eviction of 40,000 families in the Narmada Valley can be crushed.

Police vehicles are roaming around the villages all day and creating fear in the minds of the people fighting for their rights.

According to Narmada Andolan, FIRs have been registered against 72 people in 9 cases in Barwani, and FIRs have been filed against 94 people in 12 cases in Kukshi, District Dhar. There are also many other serious charges and non-bailable warrants pending. While, the government maintains stoic silence on the demands of the people, the police are busy in naming activists and displaced persons in false cases.

In a statement Narmada Bachao Andolan wrote, “today the world recognizes the 32 years of non-violent struggle and Satyagraha of the Narmada Bachao Andolan. But the Madhya Pradesh Police, at the behest of the Government is charging them in cases, such as under section 307, accusing them of being involved in murder and kidnapping. This is highly condemnable and can only be termed as actions aimed at hiding the failures of the government. The police should be working to protect the public and implementing the laws, not to suppress the people struggling for the rights. Unfortunately, what we see is the same old tactics of the government, where they have resorted to such tactics to suppress the democratic voice of different movements across the country.”

Narmada Bachao Andolan is determined to keep the struggle non-violent, resist terror adding, “We consider the attempted submergence of the 40,000 families in the Narmada Valley, also an act of state violence, which will kill many dreams and livelihoods.”

And added, “On Independence Day, as we greet all the countrymen, we also ask, is this freedom not for people of Narmada Valley ? Is this freedom not for the falsely implicated non-violent movement activists like, Medha Patkar and three others, who are lodged in the prison? Does struggle for rights of people, enable government to take our freedom ? Can we remain quiet, when we see so much repression and inequity in this society ? We can’t. We in Narmada Valley are struggling with these questions today and invite our fellow countrymen and women to join us in struggle for true independence.

It is rightly said that, when injustice becomes law, then the struggle becomes duty. We in Narmada Valley believe it’s our duty to continue to fight for the ideals enshrined in the Constitution and for freedom and justice through non-violent means and Satyagraha. Our fight is not only for the Narmada Valley but for the humanity and well being of mother earth. We remain committed to this struggle.”

(Song by Medha Patkar)