It is curious that for what stops the Central Government from making public its stand after the tour of the Narmada valley by the three Union ministers on April 6, while the indefinite fast by Medha Patkar, Jamsinghbhai and Bhagwatibhai from the Narmada valley entered in 14 th day on Tuesday (April 11). Despite the propaganda by the government through the media of the 'stable' condition of Medha Patkar and others on fast, their health has been worsening as the precious time is lost in the Center's indecision.
Though her resolve to stop the injustice in the Narmada valley remains steadfast, Medha Patkar's physical condition is becoming serious. After 14 days of fast, her blood pressure has gone down alarmingly and the potassium level in body has been abnormally fluctuating. She is extremely exhausted and suffering from pains and allergic symptoms have surfaced with vengeance. After whisking her away in the hospital and making her invisible, the Central Government has been spreading the incorrect information about her health. This is being done to trivialize the gravity of the situation and the issue she and her colleagues have been raising.
On the other hand, we are surprised that the Central government has not been able to come up with the report on the visit of the three Union Ministers on April 6, to the Narmada valley, to take the stock of the displacement and resettlement and decide about the work on the dam. Despite the short and truncated visit, thousands of the women, men made the ministers to see the affected villages and the settled and prosperous life there. They exposed the claims regarding the resettlement and brought forth the illegalities, corruption and repression involved into entire displacement process. As the former Commissioner for SC & ST, Dr. B.D. Sharma and renowned lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who accompanied the ministers hoped, " it has become crystal clear that the decision to raise the height of the dam would submerge thousands of oustee families without rehabilitation, the government would take immediate steps to stop the construction of the dam."
However, there is no word yet from the Central government about the visit and its perception of the issue. Is the Union government afraid of the illegal and unconstitutional pressure tactics by the Gujarat politicians? The Union government and Gujarat politicians has to bear in mind that starting the dam-work beyond 110 meters itself was an illegal, unjustified and violation of basic right to life of the people in the Narmada valley. So stopping the work on the dam is just the stopping the illegal, inhuman violation. One cannot blackmail others with that illegality.
Meanwhile, the people and organizations all over India and abroad have been extending support to the struggle of the Narmada Bachao Andolan and its present demand to stop the work on the construction work on the Sardar Sarovar dam. From mKochi, Trivendrum, Chennai, Madurai, Bangalore, Mysore, Hyderabad, to Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Kolhapur, Indore, Bhopal, Raipur, Patna, Ranchi, Varanasi, Kolkata, Himachal Pradesh, to Bangladesh, various places in the US and UK, there have been solidarity dharnas and protest actions. In the Narmada valley, Badwani observed 'bandh' on April 10. Hundreds of more people will join April 12 rally in Delhi. The people are resolute; the Government must show justice and fairplay regarding people's life and death issue.
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