The fast of Ms. Medha Patkar under the “Narmada Challan Satyagraha” continued for the sixth day. The Chief Minister of the State urged Ms. Patkar to end the fast, which was rejected in the absence of a concrete plan to rehabilitate the affected.
On the fifth day, 10 affected people of Bhavati, Bijasan, Ganpur, Chhota Badda, Rajghat and Gangli have also started indefinite fast, to strengthen the ongoing struggle. The indefinite satyagraha began on the August 25 in Chhota Badda in Barwani district against rehabilitation illegal drowning.
Due to the insensitivity of the Center and the Government of Gujarat, thousands of families in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat are forced to face drowning without policy-driven rehabilitation. The Narmada Control Authority (NCA), a central government agency, is deliberately trying to drown the peasant-tribal, Kewat-Kahar, cattle herders, potters, landless laborers without rehabilitation by increasing the water level.
At present, rehabilitation of 32 thousand affected people is remaining in Madhya Pradesh itself. Hundreds of families in Maharashtra and Gujarat are also waiting to be rehabilitated. In this way, it is unacceptable to risk the lives of millions of people living in the submerged area.
Although the Kamal Nath government of Madhya Pradesh has started a process of dialogue with the movement, the Gujarat government and the NCA – who ordered to raise the water level – have not responded to the clear mass-killing effort being done in this planned manner.
The State Home Minister Shri Bala Bachchan had reached Chhota Barda, urging Ms. Patkar to end her fast and promised to take action on the demands of the satyagrahis.
After this late in the evening, Chief Minister Kamal Nath himself spoke to Ms. Patkar and requested her to end the hunger strike. Ms. Patkar refused both requests as both leaders did not make a firm point of controlling the water level to a certain level so that the affected families could reside safely in their villages till rehabilitation.
She deplored that both the central and Gujarat governments remain silent on this humanitarian tragedy. She accused that the Prime Minister has also crossed all limits of decency and tweeted that Sardar Sarovar’s water level reached 134 meters and asked the countrymen to enjoy the beautiful view. She lamented that this tweet of the Prime Minister is like sprinkling salt on the wounds of 32 thousand families of Narmada Valley without being rehabilitated.