CACIM DELHI DEMOS BULLETIN 11 : Central ministers' team tastes Narmada valley's anger; growing solidarity across country

From New Delhi, Saturday, April 8 – Sunday, April 9, 2006
PLEASE NOTE that the link for the back issues of the CACIM Delhi Demos Bulletins is as follows, and NOT as given in Bulletin 10 :
In a Press Release issued today, April 8, the NBA argues that “the three member team of the central ministers got the perfect taste of the Narmada valley, as thousands of people compelled it to visit the villages, presented the real picture of the displacement and rehabilitation [to them], and reiterated their demand to stop the construction work on the dam” and that “As the indefinite hunger strike by Medha Patkar, Jamsinghbhai, and Bhagwatibai from the Narmada valley entered into the 10th day on Friday (April 7), there is increasing support” from all over the country and world.
For instance, in Kerala, poet Sugathakumari, environmentalist RVG Menon, and social activists observed a fast before the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday April 7, expressing their solidarity with NBA leader Medha Patkar who is continuing her fast in New Delhi against the move to increase the level of the Narmada reservoir.
And in Washington DC:
AID EVENT: Protest in Solidarity of the Indefinite Hunger Strike by Narmada activists
Venue: Mahatma Gandhi Statue, Opposite Indian Embassy,
2107 Mass Ave., Washington DC
Time: Noon to 2pm
Date: Saturday, April 8th 2006
The Narmada Control Authority (NCA)’s has decided to increase the Sardar Sarovar dam height from 110.64 mts to 121 mts. This is in violation of the Supreme Court rulings of Oct 2000 and March 2005 that unambiguously state that further construction cannot happen until rehabilitation of temporarily and permanently affected families is completed as per the Narmada Tribunal Award.
Medha didi and 4 others from the valley on a hunger strike in Delhi. Their health is deteriorating while the government is not accepting the fact that more than 35,000 families have to be properly rehabilitated.
Come join us in the protest on Saturday! Spread the word!
Tentative program [for protest]:
Brief background about the issue
Statements of solidarity by those present
Read names of those joining solidarity fast
Read memorandum to Government of India, signing and presentation to consulate.
Note: The demonstration is intended to be and will be managed as a civil, lawful, and peaceful event through a personal commitment of all participants. Also participants will help each other to maintain this commitment.
For further information:
Contact: Rajasekhar (301)717-1059, Kiran: (240)485-8404
Current sponsors:
Association for India’s Development & Friends of River Narmada
—— Forwarded Message——
From: Initiative India
Date: Sat, 08 Apr 2006 03:51:05 -0700
To: Initiative India
* C/o B-13 Shivam Flats, Bhagwan Mahaveer Marg, Ellora Park,
Vadodara – 390023, Gujarat
Telefax: 0265-2282232,
* 62 M.G Marg, Badwani, M.P. 451551
Telefax: T/fx: 07290-222464,
* Maitri Niwas, Tembewadi, Behind Kakawadi, Dhadgaon, Dist.
Nandurbar, Maharashtra 425414
Phone: 02595-220620
Press Note / April 7, 2006
As the indefinite hunger strike by Medha Patkar, Jamsinghbhai and
Bhagwatibai from the Narmada valley entered into the 10th day on Friday(April 7), there is increasing support from the nook and corners of India and from international arena for the demand to stop the
construction on the Sardar Sarovar dam.
Meanwhile, on Friday the three member team of the central ministers got the perfect taste of the Narmada valley, as thousands of people
compelled it to visit the villages, presented the real picture of the
displacement and rehabilitation and reiterated their demand to stop the construction work on the dam. The three Union ministers – Minister
for Water resources, Mr. Saifuddin Soz, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Smt. Meira Kumar, Minister of state in PMO Mr. Prithviraj Chavan – were compelled to break their official itiniery and visit the villages where people exposed the government’s claims, regarding the resettlement. The Ministers’ team had to go to Avalda, Piplud, Avali and Nisarpur. The police mercilessly beat the activists and villagers at Avalda.
The people pointed out that the Madhya Pradesh government tried to force the cash compensation with police intimidation and they refused and made the police and officials retreat. They proved that the state government had prepared totally false and ex-parte’ reports of resettlement, even when they refused to accept the cash compensation. Even the lone supporter of the dam, an old BJP worker, called for immediate stoppage of the construction work, as he sees no possibility of resettlement. Barring this isolated incident, the people made it clear that they were not ready to move out, without any credible evidence that they would be resettled with equally fertile and productive land, in a community and with all the resources necessary for living, as was put in the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal’s Award. The voluble ex-Minister Smt. Jamuna Devi invited the ire of the people in Nisarpur by her intemperate remarks.
People time and again castigated the Ministers for the Union government’s support to infamous Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, by helping his politics of raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam. They expressed their resolve not to be cowed down by fraud or intimidation and assert their right to life and livelihood.
In Delhi, indefinite fast by Medha Patkar, Jamsingh Nargave and
Bhagwatibai has entered in 10th day on Friday (April 7). Medha and
Jamsingh have continued their fast in the hospital where they have been detained by the Delhi police. On the dharna place Bhagwatibai, was joined by the two villagers-activists from Gujarat. The students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University and other institutions and organizations have been streaming up to express solidarity. The President of JNU students Union and other leaders, along with Prof. Kamal Mitra-Chenoy joined the fast as a mark of protest.
In Maharashtra, protest rallies, demonstrations, token fasts were held at number of places. In Pune, there was day long dharna on April 2, with number of organizations joining in. On April 6, three activists observed token fast and over 30 organizations and progressive parties joined them in dharna. The Communist Party of India, All India Janwadi Mahila Sabha, CITU, Republican Party (Athavale group), Rashtra Seva Dal, Maan Bachao Sangharsha Samiti, Construction workers, Dalit, Adivasi and women’s organizations, environmental groups, organizations working for alternative development and displaced people from various projects joined the dharna. The villagers of Maan, who have led a successful struggle against usurpation of their lands for IT park, observed the Black Day on April 6, as they saw the police brutality in Delhi
Similar protests took place in Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Sangli, Dhule and Mumbai. In Kolhapur, the CPI, Peasants and Workers’ party, Janata Dal joined the protests along with Vigyan Prabodhini and other groups. Everywhere, they demanded the central government to stop the construction on the dam, while calling the Maharashtra to rescind its consent for raising the dam height. In Mumbai the organizations decided to hold demonstration every day at different locality, till the central government team announces its report.
It was after a long struggle, perseverance as well as life and death situations, that the GOI was compelled to send 3 ministers (Water resources, Social Justice and MOS from PMO) to the Narmada Valley to inspect the ground realities against claims made by 3 BJP led state governments as well as by its own officials, who were entrusted the duty of monitoring all aspects of Rehabilitation in the context of the Narmada Tribunal Award. Every one knows by now that the visit of the officials and by the R&R sub-group, that is legally binding and has to be done quarterly, has not taken place for the past 5 years. The visit of the Minister of Water Resources was planned because of the PMO’s directives in November 2004. After the struggle reached its peak, ministers were finally sent, but this only marks the beginning of the governments’ compliance with its own directives as per resettlement and rehabilitation in the Valley.
Medha Patkar and Jamsinghbhai, both hospitalized at AIIMS, are continuing their fast. No I.V. has been given and nimboo pani continues to be their only intake. Both would like to thank all supporters in the country who have expressed their solidarity to the cause of “development with unjust displacement” and warn the Government that “if they betray the people of Narmada, no community in this country will ever have faith in Rehabilitation and no project should be allowed to proceed presuming displacement without facing a radical challenge. If justice is denied after all this struggle, then justice will die.”
Deepti Bhatnagar
Sanjay Sangvai
Kamla Yadav
Yogini Khanolkar
—— End of Forwarded Message
With thanks !
* FORTHCOMING in 2006 :
o Nayi Rajniti (‘New Politics’), Hindi edition of Talking New Politics, Sen and Saini, eds 2005
o Nayi Subah Ki Or (‘Towards A New Dawn’), volume 1 of Hindi edition of World Social Forum : Challenging Empires
o Are Other Worlds Possible ? Books 2 & 3 – ‘Interrogating Empires’ & ‘Imagining Alternatives’
* Open Space Webspace :
* WSFDiscuss – an open discussion listserve on the World Social Forum and cultures of politics in movements : Send an empty email to
* Out in 2005-6 : World Social Forum : Challenging Empires – in German, Japanese, Spanish, and now in Hindi and Urdu !
January 2005 :
‘Are Other Worlds Possible ? Talking NEW Politics’
Preview :
Publishers : Zubaan /
Tel: +91-11-2652 1008, 2686 4497, and 2651 4772
In late 2004 :’Explorations in Open Space : The World Social Forum and Cultures of Politics’
Issue 182 of the International Social Science Journal
Editorial advisers : Chloé Keraghel & Jai Sen
2004 Book :
‘World Social Forum : Challenging Empires’
Edited by Jai Sen, Anita Anand, Arturo Escobar, and Peter Waterman
India / South Asia distribution : Viveka Foundation,,
2005 : NOW OUT also in German, Japanese, Spanish, and forthcoming in Hindi and Urdu
Jai Sen
CACIM – India Institute for Critical Action : Centre in Movement
A-3 Defence Colony, New Delhi 110 024, India
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