NBA moves National Human Rights Commission over Narmada displaced

New Delhi: Calling the displacement of tens of thousands of people by the Sardar Sarovar Dam a “gross violation of human rights”, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar on Thursday took up the matter with NHRC Chairman Justice A S Anand.
An NBA delegation led by Patkar gave a petition to the NHRC Chairman complaining that the displaced had been denied their right to livelihood and housing and urged him to form a special group comprising Commission members as well as civil society representatives to look into the matter.
“We took up with the NHRC Chairman the issue of development-induced displacement. It is an issue of gross violation of human rights. In fact, the NHRC, which has been formed under an Act of Constitution, should have taken suo motu cognisance of the issue,” the NBA leader said.
“It is obvious that displacement of people is happening, be it due to the Sardar Sarovar Dam, the Tehri Dam, the demolitions taking place on the banks of the Yamuna or removal of slums in Mumbai. One cannot close ones eyes to all this,” Patkar said.
She said the NHRC Chairman assured them that their petition will be placed before the full Commission.
Earlier, accusing the Commission of “turning a blind eye” towards their struggle, Patkar along with other NBA activists staged a sit-in in front of the NHRC office in New Delhi.
She said the NBA had earlier also approached the Commission in the matter, but not much had been done by it. “We cannot allow the statutory bodies not to play their role,” Patkar said.
Criticising the decision to constitute a committee by the Prime Minister on the displacement issue without consulting them, Patkar alleged the committee has been given work of “post mortem” as it has to complete the work of survey between May 19 and June 19 and rehabilitate 35,000 families by June 30, 2006.
“It is impossible to rehabilitate such a large number of families in 11 days only (between June 19 and June 30, 2006),” she said.

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