Adivasi activists arrested
Central Chronicle, 18th January 2001


BHOPAL JANUARY 17: The Jan Sangharsh Morcha Madhya Pradesh-Chahattisgarh activists were jailed while marching on the streets of Bhopal just before noon on Wednesday.

The representatives of people's organisations including tribals and peasants from Narmada Bachao Andolan, Shramik Adivasi Sangathan, Kisan Adivasi angathan, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan and Ekta Parishad among others were arrested while opposing the anti-people policies of the World Bank and Asia Development Bank. Many others were detained at several places outisde Bhopal and prevented from reaching the protest site. The arrested people were detained under Section 151 of CrPC.

According to a release by the Jan Sangharsh Morcha Madhya Pradesh-Chahattisgarh the Madhya Pradesh had invited a one day Development Forum meeting in Bhopal here on Wednesday. The invitees include representatives from the World Bank, Asia Development Bank and various other agnecies from developed countries. The British Development minister Ms Clare Short also attended the meeting.

The people's organisations were opposing the anti-people policies of the World Bank and the Asia Development Bank and various other agencies. Narmada Bachao Andolan representative Alok Agarwal said that it is a matter of deep concern how come international funding organisations are discussing the development of Madhya Pradesh while people of Madhya Pradesh are booked in jails. They said that this repressive action of the government reflected the slavery of Madhya Pradesh government to the mulitnational corporations.

They pointed out that the energy sector policies of the ADB promoting provatisation and corporatisation of the energy sector had led to prohibitively expensive power production by provate corporations. This can only mean darkness for the people of Madhya Pradesh and loot of public money, they alleged. The organisations also opposed the attempt of the multilateral institutions to seek control over the vast natural resources of the state and marginalise and uproot adivasis through the controversial MP Forestry Project.

They alleged that the people of Bhopal and Madhya pradesh have already paid too large a cost for criminal negligence and lack of accountability of multinational corporations such as the genocide caused by Union carbide. The people of the Narmada Valley have already paid a larger cost when the World Bank continued to be involved in the Sardar Sarovar Project from 1985 to 1993, despite clear social and environmental violations, until massive public resistance finally compelled them to withdraw from the project.