New Delhi, Apr 2 (UNI) Criticising the “callous” attitude of the UPA Government to pleas of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) to stop construction work on the Sardar Sarovar Dam, NBA convenor Medha Patkar today said the time had come to launch a ”decisive struggle to achieve our objectives”.
Expressing her shock over the Government’s ‘silence’ over the pleas of the NBA activists, who have been on an indefinite dharna here since March 17 to protest a decision by the Narmada Control Authority to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam to 121.92 m, Ms Patkar, addressing reporters here, said, ”despite our repeated pleas to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to stop construction on the Sardar Sarovar Dam and ensure proper rehabilitation of the oustees, the Government has been maintaining a queer silence in the matter.” ”This is nothing but a mockery of the Democracy. So the time has come to intensify our struggle for the fulfilment of our objectives,” she noted.
Lending support to the struggle of the NBA, at a public hearing of the grievances of the Narmada oustees, were noted writer Arundhati Roy, actress Nandita Das, Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande, social activist Surendra Mohan and Professor Iftikhar Gilani.
Giving a two-day ultimatum to the UPA Government and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to respond to its demands, including scrapping work on the Sardar Sarovar Dam and full rehabilitation of the displaced families, the NBA said all its activists would go on a 12 hour hunger strike from 0800 hours on April 4, in a bid to force the Government to listen to its pleas.
The activists would be joined in the hunger strike by Arundhati Roy, social activist Surendra Mohan and several others.
Three activists of the NBA, including Medha Patkar, are already on an indefinite fast since March 29.
”Today is the fifth day of their fast and their condition has deteriorated,”NBA activist Jayasen said.
Speaking on the occasion, professor Iftikhar Gilani said the need of the hour was for all those who had been at the recieving end of the government’s policies to ”unitedly fight to obtain our rights”.
”Till all the oppressed fight unitedly to obtain their rights, it is impossible for a movement to achieve its objectives in the modern scenario,”Mr Gilani said.
Endorsing his views, Arundhati Roy said,”In today’s scenario where corporates are increasingly influencing media content, it is foolhardy to depend on the media to take up cudgels on your behalf.” ”In such a scenario, all of us have to recognise our own power to achieve our objectives,”she said.