FROM VINUTA GOPAL
We had a great rally in Delhi on the 22nd of March which was lead by the activists from Bhopal. What began with 200 odd people (including school students and children from bastis in delhi), soon grew to a really massive rally with Vandana Shiva and the Delhi groups against privatisation of water joining in.
“Bahut Ho Gaya!” rent the air in hindi, tamil, malayalam and oriya! it seemed like parliament street was besieged with protesters that day. The other rallyists caught on to our chant and they were also soon saying Bahut Ho Gaya!
Here is the detailed report on what happened that day (visit www.greenpeaceindia.org for pictures):
The rally took on as many colours as the contaminated water – students in school uniform marched along with the women from Bhopal, Orissa fish-workers tried out slogans in Malayalam and oft-repeated slogans from each community seamlessly merged with impromptu street performances by children from Kutumb Foundation and Prabhaat – groups that joined the rally today to express their solidarity with these communities. The entire gamut of emotions was expressed – from pent-up
rage at apathetic authorities to gusty exhortations and calls to action – all finding expression in the single phrase “Bahut Ho Gaya, Bahut Ho Gaya!”
The words soon became a resounding chant, echoing after slogans in six different languages, as each community marched to the beat of their own oft-repeated battle-cries. These are the communities who have fought long and hard, in groups and as individuals, against the contamination of their community’s resources.
Collective campaigning by these communities has resulted in clear-cut directives from the Honorable Supreme court, adding weight to the communities’ long-standing demands. Nonetheless, there has still been no action from the government to ensure that the Supreme Court directives are implemented and that the pollution of our water, land and air is stopped.
At the end of the rally, a Memorandum was submitted to the President and Prime Minister of India. Endorsed by each of the communities participating in today’s rally, the memorandum summed up the present status eloquently, in the hope that it would elicit a favourable response:
Our fields lie fallow, there are no fish in the river; the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe are all poisoned, there are chemicals racing through our blood, in mother’s breast milk, in the umbilical cord that sustains life.
On this World Water day for us is not about river-linking or water-harvesting or lip-service to Saving Water, but about its life-giving quality, purity and abundance. Both of which are threatened irreversibly, in clear violations of our constitutional rights as Indian Citizens.
We are demanding that the Government should take immediate action and
* Provide piped clean drinking water to the communities whose water resources have been polluted.
Shut down Polluting Factories violating Supreme Court’s directives on Hazardous Waste management (Order and Judgement dated 14 October 2003 in writ petition 687 of 1995)
* Rehabilitate Pollution impacted Workers, Communities and remediate their Environment and ensure that the guilty corporations take full responsibility and bear liability for the costs of the same.
* Revamp the Pollution Control Boards both at the Center and the State level to ensure transparency, rigor and honesty.