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PUCL, April 2006

PUCL, Gujarat appeal for an amicable solution to the ongoing Narmada Dam debate

People's Union for Civil Liberties
13, Pratap Kunj Society, Karelibaug, Vadodara - 390 018
Phone: Kiritbhai Bhatt 2464210, Rohit Prajapati 2320399

Press release
16th April 2005

In the absence of due priority to rehabilitation of the affected people by the states concerned, political parties at the States and Centre these issues have embroiled themselves into futile political conflict and have entered into competitive showpiece populism and one-upmanship in trying to show that they are "patriots" of Gujarat.

People's Union for Civil Liberties, Gujarat Appeal for an amicable solution to the ongoing Narmada Dam debate We the citizens of Gujarat appeal for a peaceful and democratic solution to the recent Narmada Dam controversy.

The issues of rehabilitation of people, drinking water and the provision of water for irrigation are crucial for the growth and development of the people of Gujarat. There is an urgent need to address these issues in a democratic and peaceful ways on a priority basis. In this contest we condemn the ransacking of the NBA office in Baroda and attempts to intimidate and thwart any democratic dialogue.

The issue here is of right to life for many people, mostly very poor Adivasis, who have lost their homes, land and livelihoods and many thousands more are likely to lose their dwelling places as more villages come under submergence. As of today even people displaced at the 110 m height are not resettled.

It is unfortunate that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has not taken a stand in favour of the poor people displaced and not yet rehabilitated.

In the absence of due priority to rehabilitation of the affected people by the states concerned, political parties at the States and Centre these issues have embroiled themselves into futile political conflict and have entered into competitive showpiece populism and one-upmanship in trying to show that they are "patriots" of Gujarat. And in the same breadth painting everybody asking for rehabilitation as "traitors."

We also appeal to Ms Medha Patkar, Ms. Bhagwatiben Patidam and Shri Jamsingh Nargave fasting activists of the Narmada Bachao Andolan to end their fast so that the issues can be taken up on the table on the basis of hard evidence of the extent of rehabilitation that needs to be carried out further.

There is need to have a comprehensive rehabilitation policy for all people displaced by development projects.

PUCL has also filed a written complain to police commissioner and the Collector of Vadodara to protect the office of NBA. Copy is attached with press release.

Kirit Bhatt, Trupti Shah, Renu Khanna, Amrish Brahmbhatt, Kantibhai Mistry, Rohit Prajapati, Chinu Srinivasan, Naginbhai Patel, Raj Kumar Hans, Dipti Bhatt, Manzoor Saleri

MOST URGENT -- BY FAX
16th April 2005
To,
The Police Commissioner
Vadodara

The Collector
Vadodara
Sub: Regarding the Fresh Attack on the Office of the Narmada Bachao Andolan.

Dear Sir,

This is with regard to the attack on the Narmada Bachao Andolan office in Vadodara on 15th April at around 7 pm by some people belonging to the leading political party. We anticipated this and had informed the Police Commissioner personally at around 6.30 pm. Around 4.30 pm we had warned the Police Control room of such an eventuality.

In spite of such prior notice, the attack took place and in the presence of police personnel. We are surprised that no arrests have taken place till now the video footage of the attack and ransacking is available with the leading city cable channels.

A similar kind of attack had taken place on the NBA office on March 20, 1994 in the Dandia Bazar area of the city. While a complaint had been launched after the 1994 attack, no action was taken.

We wish to state that we fear yet another attack will take place if proper precautions are not taken at the earliest to protect the office of the NBA. This kind of incident should not recur as it has larger repercussions on society at large. We are concerned at these sorts of repeated attacks, which are extremely undemocratic in nature apart from giving the State of Gujarat a bad name, as a place where dissent from the dominant opinion is not tolerated.

It is also expected that personal attacks are going to be launched on those who are questioning the degree of rehabilitation undertaken in reality.

Sincerely,

Kirit Bhatt, Rohit Prajapati, Chinu Srinivasan
People's Union for Civil Liberties, Gujarat


People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014