A National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) account of the three-day Chetavni Upvas (Warning Fast) by Narmada Bachao Andolan in Bhopal against refusal to make public the Jha Commission report, which “exposes” corruption in allocation of land to Madhya Pradesh’s Narmada dam oustees:
People from Narmada Valley observed three day fast from 27-29 April in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh with a nationwide support and solidarity from people and other movements through protests, Peaceful demonstration and fast in their region against the corruption in Resettlement and Rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar Dam oustees, demanding to make Justice Jha Commission report public and accessible to the people as well as to Narmada Bachao Andolan and Narmada Control Authority (NCA), the petitioners in the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
Around 35 people observed three day continuous fast while others were on sequential fast along with around 500 representatives of farmers, workers, fishworkers. Many other people affected from flawed developmental projects in their area, movements, civil society organisations, and individuals came strongly in support of the movement and equivocally demanded to make Jha Commission report public and expose the corruption.
It has been claimed by the people and members of Narmada Bachao Andolan that a large scale corruption has taken place in the name of Resettlement and Rehabilitation for which High Court of Madhya Pradesh had appointed Justice Jha Commission. The Report was submitted to the High Court but the government tried each and everything to stop the report from getting public or going into hands of the petitioner, NBA.
Whereas at the other end the construction for raising the height of the dam, which will again submerge more than 40,000 families in Madhya Pradesh only, is going on rapidly. It was mandated that before submergence the govt. must rehabilitate the project affected people following which the Govt. declared ‘Zero Balance’ [i.e. No one is left for rehabilitation], which was proved wrong with earlier fact finding report. Now the Jha commission report was going to expose the govt. claims and make the corruption public. It is still in the hands of Govt. and they fears from making it public.
Representatives of Communist Party of India; AITUC; All India Bank Employees Union; Akhil Bhartiya Siksha Adhikaar Manch; BHEL, Bhopal; Madhya Praesh Kisaan Sabha; Swaraj Abhiyan; Bhu-Adhikaar Abhiyaan; Peace; Asli Azaadi; Saili, came strongly in support and to express solidarity with the demands of Narmada Bachao Andolan and the people to make Jha Commission report public and punish the guilty.
In solidarity with Chetavani Upvaas, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) and Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG) has protested on 28th April in Delhi, and submitted a memorandum to Commissioner of M.P. Bhavan.
Supporters of Narmada Bachao Andolan along with Sham Patil from Dhule and 15 other supporters from Salsabil Green School, Kerala conducted Signature Campaign and made aware the people of Pune about the illegal construction to raise the dam height without complete rehabilitation. They are going to send the signatures and the appeal to the CM of Maharashtra through the Collector of Pune.
Representatives of Toko-Roko-Thoko Kranitkari Morcha, Seedhi, M.P. also protested in solidarity with the Chetavani Upvaas and submitted memorandum to the Governor of M.P. State.
Representatives of Kisaan Sangharsh Samiti and NAPM, Madhya Pradesh along with people observed fast at Chicholigarh on 28th April in solidarity to the Narmada Bachao Andolan and the people struggling against the threat of submergence and alleged corruption in rehabilitation by officials.
Representatives of Lok Shakti Abhiyaan, and NAPM, Odisha and concerned citizens also demonstrated standing protest at Master Canteen Square, Bhubaneswar in solidarity to people struggling against the raising of dam height and alleged corruption.
Representatives of Mumbai Solidarity Group and people in Mumbai and people in Hyderabad along with NAPM, came out in support to Narmada Bachao Andolan and staged a peaceful demonstration against increase of dam height which will submerge more than 40,000 families.
As again no Govt. Officials have come to hear the demands of people affected, it was decided with the end of Chetavani Upvaas that the people and NBA will travel nationwide in June month with the slogan of “Narmada Bachao Desh Bachao” to aware the whole country about the social injustice happening with the people, How the people are being forced to submergence and brutality of development? The Yatra will also be aimed to bring people together against social injustice happening in the different parts of the country.
An open letter has also been submitted by Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and the affected people, to the Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh and Chief Secretary, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Please find the open letter attached.