An Year Of Continued Denial Of Justice For Rohith Vemula

januaryphotoAn Year Of Continued Denial Of Justice For Rohith Vemula

Caste Based Discrimination Must End Now In Educational Institutions Towards Equitable Democratic Spaces 

Hyderabad / New Delhi, January 17th 2016 : It’s a year since Rohith Vemula gave up his life in the struggle against caste discrimination and Brahminical prejudices and practices dominating spaces of Higher education in the country. His death caused a major uproar in the country and gave strength to students coming forward resisting the same and to various ongoing agitations across the country in different universities. His words still continue to haunt and remind us of the complex social structures and deep fissures and inherent inequality in the society. He said, “… the value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote. To a number. To a thing…. My birth is my fatal accident….

If we look back, nothing seems to have changed in last year, Najeeb Ahmed remains missing from JNU for more than two months; eleven students remain suspended for raising voice against the administration and teachers are facing action too for supporting students and their voices; in another central university in Hyderabad, EFLU, five Dalit students have been suspended for raising issues of caste based discrimination; in BHU seven students have been rusticated for demanding 24×7 library facilities; women students continue to face restrictive measures across the country in various universities; and the doors for commercialization of the higher education is being opened through the allowing of corporate investments and the dismal status of the primary and secondary education in the country shows no signs of improvement. The rise and growth of ABVP is being supported and facilitated by the government in Centre and State and the agenda of saffornisation of the education and educational institutions is gaining strength everyday. However, the year has also seen an increase in resistance from the progressive forces and students community at large, and Rohith’s sacrifice has united the students community from various varsities resisting the discrimination and brahminical prejudices and practices.

Our collective struggle for #JusticeForRohith remains unfulfilled since past one year as none of the culprits have been punished and in fact government appointed committees continue to peddle lies and half truth about Rohith’s caste and what happened preceding to his death. These are not going to deter the students and Dalits community in their resolve for an equal space within the university campuses and in the society at large. The heightened consciousness and realization today has helped coming together of the students community, dalit struggles and other identity and issue based struggles together to work for annihilation of caste and fight the caste based discrimination. The hidden discrimination in the ‘merit’ based institutions of the higher education, media, other professional bodies, civil society spaces, are constantly being exposed and challenged.

Government on its own part have done and reacted with violence, vengeance and vilification of the struggle and bestowing of rewards on the perpetrators. In HCU, Radhika Vemula, Rohit’s mother, till date hasn’t been able to visit the ‘Rohith Smarak’ inside the campus; Rohith’s friends continue to be persecuted;  and on the other hand VC Prof Appa Rao was recently felicitated. These practices are similar to what’s happening in other universities. Smriti Irani, former minister of HRD was shunted to another Ministry but that hasn’t changed the nefarious design of those in the power. We condemn every such attempt of this government and vow to continue fighting along with others.

We want to reiterate our support for the call of enactment of the ‘Rohith Act’ for ending caste based discrimination within the educational institutions and fasten the investigation into the circumstances which led to his suicide and punish those responsible for it.

National Team of Advisors, Convenors and Special Invitees of NAPM

NAPM : Advisors and Special Invitees

Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy,  Prafulla Samantara, Binayak Sen, Sandeep Pandey, Sudhir Vombatkere, Gabriele Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan, CR Neelakandan, Anand Mazgaonkar,  P. Chennaiah, Ramakrishnam Raju,  Sister Celia,  Suniti S R, Gautam Bandopadhyay, Anjali Bharadwaj, Kavita Srivastava, Arundhati Dhuru, Kaladas Dahariya.

National Conveners : 2016-2018

Amitava Mitra, West Bengal; Arul Doss, Tamil Nadu; Ashish Ranjan, Bihar; Dayamani Barla, Jharkhand; Dr. Sunilam, Madhya Pradesh; Faisal Khan, NCR & Haryana; Kailash Meena, Rajasthan; Krishnakant, Gujarat; Lingraj Azad, Orissa; Madhuresh Kumar, Delhi; Manesh Gupta, Uttar Pradesh; Mahendra Yadav, Bihar; Meera Sanghamitra, Telangana; Nanhu Prasad, Delhi; Rajendra Ravi, Delhi; Richa Singh, Uttar Pradesh; Sister  Dorothy, Bihar; Suhas Kolhekar, Mahasrashtra; Vilayodi Venugopal, Kerala; Vimal Bhai, Uttarakhand.

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Prominent Indian Groups Support Struggle against Rampal Project

Press Release

Prominent Indian Groups Support Struggle against Rampal Project

 January 6, 2017: New Delhi

Prominent people’s movements and other civil society organisations from India today extended their support and solidarity to the struggle against the India supported Rampal power project in Bangladesh, coinciding the Global Day of Protest called by the National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources Power and Port, which spearhead the struggle.

Urging the Government of India to withdraw from the project, the statement said, “With India’s NTPC jointly owning the project, BHEL supplying equipments and Indian ExIm Bank providing finances, India’s footprint in this project is too large which has the potential to perpetuate discontent between the two neighbouring countries.”

Signatories of the Letter of Solidarity include, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, National Alliance of People’s Movements, All India Union of Forest Working People, Indian Social Action Forum –  INSAF, Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Greenpeace India, Environment Support Group, Bangalore, Matu Jan Sangathan, Uttrakhand and others.

The statement said, “Sundarbans is part of the culture and ethos of both Bangladesh and India, supporting the livelihood of millions and protecting them from natural calamities. Any damage to it either side of the borders will result in monumental disaster.”

While urging the Government of India to withdraw from the project, the groups also urged the government to “extend financial & technical help to its commendable decentralized solar energy program, in line with India’s own commitment to renewables and in spirit of the Paris Agreement.”

Full text of the Letter of Solidarity:

Letter of solidarity to

National Committee to Protect Oil-Gas-Mineral Resources Power and Port, Bangladesh

On the Global Day of Protest for the Sundarbans, January 7, 2017

We, people’s movements and other civil society organisations from India, extend our support and solidarity to the National Committee in their struggle against the Rampal power project and to protect the Sundarbans.

Sundarbans is part of the culture and ethos of both Bangladesh and India, supporting the livelihood of millions and protecting them from natural calamities. Any damage to it either side of the borders will result in monumental disaster.

With India’s NTPC jointly owning the project, BHEL supplying equipments and Indian ExIm Bank providing finances, India’s footprint in this project is too large which has the potential to perpetuate discontent between the two neighbouring countries. India’s pronounced commitment to renewable energy and its investment in coal based Rampal project in such a eco-sensitive terrain do not match. We urge the Government of India to withdraw from this project and extend financial & technical help to its commendable decentralized solar energy program, in line with India’s own commitment to renewables and in spirit of the Paris Agreement.

We commend the sustained non-violent struggle of the National Committee against this disastrous project and extend all support and solidarity to it. We will do all at our disposal to urge the Government of India to withdraw from this project.

Signed by:

1  South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People

2  National Alliance of People’s Movements

3  All India Union of Forest Working People

4  Indian Social Action Forum –  INSAF

5  Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha

6  All India Forum of Forest Movements

7  Mines, Minerals & People

8  North East Peoples Alliance

9  Narmada Bachao Andolan

10           Greenpeace India

11           Environment Support Group, Bangalore

12           Matu Jan Sangathan, Uttrakhand

13           Environics Trust, New Delhi

14           Society for Rural Urban and Tribal Initiative, New Delhi

15           Institute for Democracy and Sustainability, New Delhi

16           Delhi Forum, New Delhi

17           Intercultural Resources, New Delhi

18           Equations, Bangalore

19           Mahan Sangharsh Samiti, Madhya Pradesh

20           Srijan Lokhit Samiti, Madhya Pradesh

21           Khan Kaneej Aur ADHIKAR, Jharkhand

22           Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Gujarat

23           Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan, Gujarat

24           Teeradesha Mahila Vedi, Kerala

25           Indigenous Perspectives, Manipur

26           Manipur Cycle Club, Manipur

27           Public Finance Public Accountability Collective, New Delhi

28           Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Mumbai

29           Centre for Financial Accountability, New Delhi

30           The Research Collective, New Delhi

31           Tarini Manchanda, filmmaker

32           Benny Kuruvilla, Researcher, Delhi

33           Kiran Shaheen, New Delhi

Press Release: Delhi Citizens join in solidarity with the Chetawani Upwas in Bhopal

Press Release

Delhi citizens come together to extend solidarity with the Chetawani Upwas in Bhopal by the people from the Narmada Valley

New Delhi, April 28: A group of more than 50 protestors under the banner of Delhi solidarity Group and National Alliance of People’s movements gathered in front of Madhya Pradesh Bhawan today to provide solidarity to the ongoing Chetawani Upwas (27-29th April) by Narmada Bachao Aandolan in Bhopal. The people, who wanted to submit a memorandum to the Resident Commissioner, had to confront a strong police barricade in front of MP Bhawan. They spoke about the current situation of the people already displaced by the dams and lack of implementation of rehabilitation to them. People also raised concerns about the apathy shown by the Government of Madhya Pradesh in insisting on raising the height of Sardar Sarovar without having any plans to safeguard the lives and livelihood of the people. They also strongly demanded the release of the Justice Jha Commission report withheld by the state government. Linking it with the current issue of water shortage, they demanded that the government is losing its priorities when it is drowning people on one side and killing others due to drought on other side.

It’s been three decades since the people of the Narmada valley have been struggling against the unjust displacement due to the construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam. The construction of the dam was restarted in June 2014 and now the dam height is nearing completion. As we approach the Monsoon, two hundred thousand people are faced with the threat of submergence. These families are still living in the submergence zone, they will lose their villages with schools, temples, mosques, houses, farms with prime agriculture and horticulture panchayats and one township partly submerged before, will be further affected.

The Narmada Bachao Andolan has challenged the government’s false affidavits on the question of complete R&R and exposed the massive corruption involved in the process. The petition of NBA to the Madhya Pradesh High Court constituted a commission of Enquiry under Justice S. S. Jha (referred as Jha Commission). The Jha commission submitted its report after nearly 7 years of detailed investigation into cases of corruption involving government employees and accepted the massive fraud to tune of 1000 crores. The Justice Jha Commission report has the numbers – 1500, 2000 or may be more and details of all fake registries, the amount of money wasted, and all the agents and officials involved in the scam.

But the State of Madhya Pradesh has refused to grant NBA access to the report! Furthermore, even the MLA’s have not been given access to the report. All this has been done citing privilege of the State Assembly. The corruption in the Narmada Valley Development Authority (N.V.D.A) must be uncovered.

In addition, the question of the quality of resettlement sites cannot be ignored. All culprits involved must be punished regardless of being an officer or an agent.

During decades of struggle NBA could succeed in getting 14,000 Adivasis, Dalit farmers and their families could receive land and due to R&R especially in Gujarat and Maharashtra. But Madhya Pradesh is a different story, only 40 to 50 displaced families have been allotted land. Even today, 40,000 families live in the submergence zone.

The Madhya Pradesh government has constantly fudged the number of oustees even changing Back Water Level data, and thereby excluded many people from the submergence area and lists of Project Affected People thereby denying them their due R&R share – initially 4,374 families and then another 15,900 families. Such action affecting about 20,000 families is both unscientific and illegal.

These villages that lie in the submergence zone are full of life and activity, with its houses, panchayats, temples, masjids, shops, markets and lakhs of trees, which cannot be submerged without proper resettlement violating the Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal and Supreme court judgments of 1992, 2000 and 2005.

Despite all this, Central government along with the Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat governments, have continued the construction of dam, which is almost complete to the height of 139 metres.

Immediate action must be taken to release the Jha commission report and complete the R&R of the affected people before submergence of adivasi families/villages and township causing devastation & destitution.

The demands raised by the Narmada Bachao Andolan are,

1. Make the Jha Commission Report on massive corruption in rehabilitation public. Send the guilty to Jail. Now!

2. Complete R&R of farmers, labourers, fisher people, and artisans numbering thousands before monsoon. Gates of the dam shouldn’t be closed till R&R is complete and all affected are resettled at new sites, in 3 states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat at the earliest with all entitlements as per law and SC judgments.

For more details, please contact at: 9958797409

Press Release: Take Back the Termination of Sandeep Pandey

PRESS RELEASE

IIT BHU – TAKE BACK THE TERMINATION OF GANDHIAN MAGSAYSAY AWARD WINNER SOCIALIST DR. SANDEEP PANDEY

STOP FOLLOWING THE DICTATES OF RSS IDEOLOGUES

RE – INSTATE HIM WITH HONOUR IMMEDIATELY

New Delhi, January 7 :
Dr. Sandeep Pandey – an engineer, distinguished academic, grassroots activist, peace crusader and a highly esteemed member of the contemporary Indian milieu has been unceremoniously sacked from his post as a guest faculty in the Indian Institute of Technology BHU, Uttar Pradesh. People’s Movements from all across India are extremely angry as well as hurt at this conspiratorial manoeuvre in academic institutions that has become common place after BJP led coalition government has come to power. The progressive professor of Chemical and Mechanical Engineering Department has always been active in both classrooms and in the field as a champion of human rights. The decision to terminate his contract was taken at the Board of Governors meeting and it reeks of the agenda of the NDA government that is keen to silence all voices of opposition from public spaces in India. The VC of BHU, who was made the Chairman of IIT BoG by HRD Ministry, GoI, bypassing the panel of five names recommended by a resolution of BoG, Prof. G.C. Tripathi, and Dean of Faculty Affairs, IIT, BHU, Prof. Dhananjay Pandey, both gentlemen associated with the RSS, primarily forced the decision. The charges against Dr. Pandey is that he is a naxalite, showed a banned documentary on the Nirbhaya case and is involved in anti-national activities.

Dr. Pandey has co-founded a people’s group called Asha for Education in 1991, a non profit organisation dedicated to bring change in India by focusing on basic education in the belief that education is a critical requisite for socio-economic change. In 2002, he received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership. In 2005, he led an Indo-Pak peace march from New Delhi to Multan. In the communal torn Uttar Pradesh, he has worked relentlessly to propagate peace and harmony between communities.

He has also been a founding member of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), been its national convener for nearly a decade and now is Adviser to NAPM Convening Team. In the recent past, he sat on an indefinite fast for implementation of the Right to Education in the City Montessori School and other private schools that refused to extend the benefits of the RTE Act to many underprivileged children.

The decision taken by IIT BHU is not only tragic but also shows the social immaturity of right-wing sympathisers who want to crush dissent at all costs. Even if it means raising a whole new generation of young Indians without the guidance of progressive thinkers and dynamic individuals like Dr. Pandey. After FTII stir, scrapping of Non-Net fellowship, and many others tinkering with educational institutes, this is also in line with their agenda of blatantly obliterating the voices of rational and progressive leaders bringing wider social change in our society.

National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) challenges the decision of IIT-BHU and demands an explanation on the behalf of people of India for this shameful act of removing a highly academically competent individual from an academic post.

THE STATEMENT BY DR. SANDEEP PANDEY

END OF CONTRACT AT IIT-BHU

My contract at IIT BHU, Varanasi as a visiting faculty has prematurely ended after teaching there for 2.5 years due to a decision of Board of Governors. In a recent Board meeting the Vice Chancellor of BHU, who was made the Chairman of IIT BoG by Minister of HRD, GoI, bypassing the panel of five names recommended by a resolution of BoG, Prof. G.C. Tripathi, and Dean of Faculty Affairs, IIT, BHU, Prof. Dhananjay Pandey, both gentlemen associated with RSS, primarily forced the decision. The charges against me are that I’m a naxalite, showed a banned documentary on Nirbhaya case and am involved in anti-national activities.

I wish to clarify that I’m not a naxalite. The ideology that I would consider myself closest to is Gandhian. But I do identify with the causes taken up by naxalites even though I may not agree with their methods. I also think that it requires a lot of courage and sacrifice to be a naxalite and I certainly don’t have that kind of resolve.

The banned documentary on Nirbhaya made by BBC was to be screened in my Development Studies class during the even semester of academic year 2014-15 but the decision was withdrawn after intervention of Chief Proctor of BHU and S.O. of Lanka Police Station just before the class. However, a discussion on the issue of violence against women in our society was conducted after screening a different documentary.

I don’t believe in the idea of a nation or national boundaries, which I think are responsible for artificial divisions among human beings similar to ones on the basis of caste or religion. Hence I cannot be anti or pro-nation. I am pro-people. I’m not a nationalist but is a Universalist.

I’ve no regrets as the decision to terminate my contract has not been taken based on my academic performance but it is because of my political views and activities. I’ve enjoyed my stay at IIT, BHU and wish the Institute and the University well.

Medha Patkar – Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM); Prafulla Samantara – Lok Shakti Abhiyan & Lingraj Azad – Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM, Odisha; Dr. Sunilam, Aradhna Bhargava – Kisan Sangharsh Samiti & Meera – Narmada Bachao Andolan, NAPM, MP; Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe – NAPM, Maharashtra; Gabriele Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan – Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN; C R Neelkandan – NAPM Kerala; P Chennaiah & Ramakrishnan Raju – NAPM Andhra Pradesh, Arundhati Dhuru, Richa Singh – NAPM, UP; Sister Celia – Domestic Workers Union & Rukmini V P, Garment Labour Union, NAPM, Karnataka; Vimal Bhai – Matu Jan sangathan & Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand; Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant – Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat; Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan – Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan & Mahendra Yadav – Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar; Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, & J S Walia, NAPM Haryana; Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan; Amitava Mitra & Sujato Bhadra, NAPM West Bengal; B S Rawat – Jan Sangharsh Vahini & Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar and Shabnam Shaikh – NAPM, Delhi, Brother Varghese, Hyderabad and Subhash Lomate, Jai Kisan Andolan

For details contact : 9818905316 | email : napmindia@gmail.com

Supreme Court stresses on the Right to Land for the Sardar Sarovar Oustees

PRESS RELEASE 

For Immediate Release                                                                           28th September, 2015

Supreme Court dismisses Govt. of MP’s Application denying right to land to thousands of adult sons of Sardar Sarovar oustees

Right to land of every adult son as per 2000 & 2005 judgement remains intact

NBA welcomes Order: SC Order establishes that large scale pending R&R

New Delhi: In a significant Order, the Social Justice Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Jst. Madan Lokur and Jst. Uday Umesh Lalit today dismissed an Application filed by the Government of Madhya Pradesh (GoMP) / Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) seeking a ‘modification / clarification’ of the Apex Court’s previous judgements of 2000 and 2005, thereby denying right to land of a few thousand adult sons of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) affected farmers.

The Hon’ble Court held among other things that the Application by State of MP suffers from gross delay / laches having being filed many years after the judgements were issued (upholding the right to land of the SSP adult sons) and the rights / entitlements already accrued to the oustees in principle cannot be taken away. The Bench also had to take note of the fact that while the entitlement of most of the adult sons have already been recognized many many years ago, one set of oustees have been offered land / Special Rehabilitation Package (5.5. lakhs for 5 acres) since the judgement of 15/3/2005 of the Apex Court and another set of oustees are being denied the same; this would result in a clear violation of Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees a fundamental right to equality. Terming this “not to be good governance”, the Court summarily dismissed the Application.

Arguing for the oustees, Adv. Sanjay Parikh stated that besides being un-maintainable, the Application is based on a gross misinterpretation of the 2011 judgement of the Apex Court, in the Omkareshwar Dam case, which is not applicable to the Sardar Sarovar oustees. He said that as per the Narmada Tribunal Award and the 2005, 2005 judgements, all adult sons are un-disputably entitled to 5 acres of cultivable and irrigable land. He also informed the Court that the NCA, R&R Sub-Group and the GRA, all 3 authorities concerned with the SSP oustees have already taken decisions / issues orders to the effect that the Omkareshwar judgement if not applicable on SSP and the SSP adult sons are entitled to land allotment separately.

NBA and all the SSP oustees welcome the Order of the Hon’ble Court which is not just an affirmation of the judgements of 2000 and 2005 of the Court, but also is a vindication of the rights and struggle of thousands of adivasis and other farmers, who have been waiting for land-based rehabilitation since many years and many of their families have also faced unlawful submergence in the previous years.

The effect of today’s order is that all the adult sons of the Sardar Sarovar Oustees would be entitled to and have to be allotted 5 acres of cultivable land separately. This includes hundreds of farmers who have been entangled in the fake registries scam (almost 2000 + oustees to be finalized by the Jst. Jha Commission), 1,500 oustees who been received only one instalment of cash but could not purchase land and hundreds of those who have been given uncultivable land out of the land bank. About 500 applications pending before the GRA (M.P.) can also now be immediately decided in the favour of the adult sons on the basis of today’s order.

The Respondents in this case were represented by Adv. Sanjay Parikh, assisted by Adv. Clifton Rozario and Adv. Ninni Susan and Medha Patkar, who is a petitioner-in-person in the connected matters. GoMP was represented by ASG Adv. Patwalia and the NCA by ASG Tushar Mehta.

Mukesh              Babu Awasya                      Rahul Yadav                  Contact Ph: 09179148973 

*************************
Narmada Bachao Andolan,
Narmada-Ashish, Off Kasravad Road,

Navalpura, Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh – 451551
Ph: 07290-291464; Fax: 07290-222549
E-mail: medha.narmada@gmail.com ;
nba.medha@gmail.com
Twitter:     @medhanarmada

Press Release: BHUMI ADHIKAR ANDOLAN, ODISHA WILL ORGANISE MASS DHARANA IN FRONT OF GOVERNOR OFFICE ON 14TH OCTOBER,2015.

BHUMI ADHIKAR ANDOLAN, ODISHA WILL ORGANISE MASS DHARANA IN FRONT OF GOVERNOR OFFICE ON 14TH OCTOBER,2015.

Bhubaneswar,18th Sept, 2015: Demanding not to give ascent to ‘Odisha Land Grabbing(Prohibition) Bill-2015, which was undemocratically passed on last session of Odisha Legislative Assembly by the ruling Biju Janata Dal government without debate and in the absence of opposition members, the newly formed ‘BHUMI ADHIKAR ANDOLAN, ODISHA’ will organise a massive Protest Dharana in front of office of the Governor of Odisha on 14th October, 2015.

In an emergency meeting presided by senior journalist Mr. Rabi Das and organised at Bhagabati Bhaban,(State Office of Communist Party of India(CPI), Bhubaneswar on 16th September leaders of different peasants organizations and mass organizations decide to strengthen united mass movements against the anti-people and anti-farmer policy of both centre and state government.

Mr. Asish Kanungo-leader of Akhil Bharat Kisan Sabha, Mr. Abhiram Behera & Jameswar Samantray of Odisha Krusak Sabha, Mr. Srikant Mohanty of Chasi Mulia Sangha, Mr. Rebati Ballaav Mohanty of AIKKS, Mr. Santosh Rath from AIKKMS, Mr. Radhakanta Sethi of AIPF, Mr. Nityananda Parida from Odisha Khet Majdoor Union, Mr. Suresh Panigrahi from Basti Basinda Mahasangha, Mr. Jayant Bhoi of Chasi Surakshya Abhijan, Mr. Jyoti Ranjan Mohapatra from TUCC, Mr. Bijay Behera from Samajwadi Krusak Sabha, Mr. Prasant Paikray of PPSS, Mr. Narendra Mohanty from INSAF & BANABASI SURAKSHYA PARISHAD, Mr.Pradeep Sahu from CSD, Odisha, Sk. Abdul Walli of R.P.I (Krusak Manch), Mr. Arun Dihudi & Radhakant Das from Odisha Sramajibi Manch, Mr. Sala Marnddi of Odisha Adivasi Adhikar Manch, Mr. Pratap Sahu of Odisha Roadside Street Vendors Association, Mr. Satish Misra from INSAF, Mr. Chitta Ranjan Barik from On-organized Labour Union and Advocate Sankar Pani were took participated in the discussion & decision.

It was unanimously decided that the two prominent forum like ‘Jami Adhigrahan Virodhi Abhijan, Odisha; and ‘Joint Preparatory Committee of Mass Organizations, Odisha;, which organizing movement and different protest activities against anti-farmer and anti-people land policy of both Central & State Government will be merged and new forum ‘BHUMI ADHIKAR ANDOLAN, ODISHA’ will take the leadership all future movements.

News By: NARENDRA MOHANTY
(On-behalf of Bhumi Adhikar Andolan, Odisha.)
Mob: 9437426647

4 Judge People’s Tribunal: ‘Development’ or Jaws of Death? Question Sardar Sarovar Oustees

Press Release                                                       12th September, 2015

Open Court Verdict in the Narmada Valley Dam increases! Submergence decreases? –

Fraud on the People,  Sardar Sarovar Dam Work Unlawful:

4 Judge People’s Tribunal  ‘Development’ or Jaws of Death? Question Sardar Sarovar Oustees

2 day Jan Adalat concludes: 4 Retired Justices call upon Supreme Court and Govt. of India to review the status of displacement, submergence and rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar oustees

Rajghat / Badwani, M.P. Pronouncing their interim verdict in the presence of about 10,000 oustees of Sardar Sarovar Dam, based on their observations and assessment of the legal and field situation, a Panel of 4 retired Judges of various High Courts concluded gross violations of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award and Judgements of the Supreme Court. Speaking at the proceedings of the “Jan Adalat” organized by eminent citizens of the country, well-known Justices including Jst. P.C Jain (Rajasthan High Court), Jst. Nag Mohan Das (Karnataka High Court) and Jst. V.D. Gyani (Madhya Pradesh High Court) and Jst. N.K. Mody (Madhya Pradesh High Court) expressed grave concern at the displacement of about 2.5 lakh people due to the completion of the Dam and the mass violation of the constitutional right to life, destruction of livelihoods, as also wiping out of an entire culture and civilization.

They stated that the further dam work and installation of gates should not proceed in the present circumstances of clear evidence of multiple violations. Observing that the concerned authorities have miserably failed to comply with the provisions of the Award and the Apex court’ orders and have committed serious dereliction of legal obligations, they called for a serious review of the entire situation and a serious social-economic impact assessment. The Govt. and Apex Court must widen their horizons of ‘development’, in the light of the complex realities of the 30 years struggle of the Narmada valley, they said.

Reading out the operative part of their preliminary verdict, Jst. Jain exclaimed that the official claims of no additional submergence due to the current dam work is clearly unlawful and also unbelievable, since when the dam is being completed with the same original height, there is no reason why the submergence area would not increase ! Listening to testimonies of about 35 oustees they found that the Judgement of the Supreme Court dt. 18/10/200 and 15/3/2005 as well as several orders of the Grievance Redressal Authorities (GRAs). Jst Jain also said that the Government must await the Report of Jst. Jha Commission of Inquiry into Corruption in R&R before any further work is undertaken.

The 4 Justices urged the Social Justice Bench of the Apex Court to review its decisions and hearings in the light of the overwhelming evidence of legal violations and well as the obviously flawed “full rehabilitation” reports of the project authorities. The Jan Adalat specially acknowledged the valiant role of thousands of women warriors in the valley who have been keeping the torch of struggle aglow over the past 30 years.  These observations were made after hearing the depositions of about 35 oustees from the three states of M.P., Maharashtra and Gujarat, perusal of the NWDTA, various orders of the Apex Court, GRAs, interim reports of Jst. Jha Commission, official correspondence and intensive visit to various affected villages in the tehsils of Badwani, Kukshi, Manavar and Dharampuri yesterday.

The deponents before the Tribunal today included representatives of adivasis from the hilly and plain areas, other farmers who have been entangled in the fake registries scam, received meagre cash and denied land or given land from the land bank, landless oustees, including fish workers, potters, boatmen, small traders etc. Oustees from Maharashtra and Gujarat also expressed their grievances and pointed out to major violations.  The hearing was conduced in a completely formal manner, with a People’s Court set-up on the Narmada river bank at Rajghat and each oustee / deponent stood in the ‘dock’, as s/he deposed.

Bhagirath Dhangar spoke of the plight of hundreds of farmers, workers, small traders, shopkeepers, hawkers etc. whose lands and livelihoods are to be lost by the dam increase, with no alternative R&R in sight.   He questioned if the balance is indeed ‘0’, then how is it that the govt. fair price shops, panchayats, voting and even govt. licensed wine shops are functioning here? Mahesh Patel exposed the fraud in the name of back water levels due to which 16,000 families has been declared “out of submergence”. He said that all these unscientific claims would be blown up by Narmada herself and her fury into which 99 tributaries and 999 large darins flow. Fish worker families represented by Savabai (Pichhodi) & Madubhai (Chikalda) demanded fishing rights in the reservoir and alternative livelihood.  They said that fishing and riverine rights cannot be compensated in monetary terms.

Mr. Karan Yadav from Pipri read out the message from Mr. Ramesh Patel, the MLA of Badwani, admitting that governmental reports of R&R are patently false and that 99% oustees, still reside in the original villages awaiting R&R. Mr. Patel submitted a written demand to the Tribunal that the SSP gates should not be installed at this stage, without completion of R&R, as per law.  Meera spoke of the absolute failure and connivance of the elaborate machinery of monitoring and project authorities in complying with the Apex Court’s orders and demanded that all the clearances granted by the authorities are unlawful and need to be set aside by the Apex Court. Adv. Umesh stated that thousands of SSP oustees are now owners of the acquired lands/houses as per 2013 LAQ Act and Govt. dare not dispossess them.

Medha Patkar decried the massive violation of the rights of the Gram Sabhas in the constitutionally protected scheduled adivasi areas. She spoke of the possibilities of and need for a review even at this stage to avert the inhuman pauperization of 2.5 lakh people, for the benefits of corporates. “While displacement and disaster is planned by the State, development and rehabilitation is not” she said and concluded that continuation with the dam would mean a mass atrocity on the dalits and adivasis.

Shri Soumya Dutta, one of the members of the recent Fact-Finding Team to the Narmada valley (May, 2015), whose report has received wide attention and even alerted the Judges of a disaster in Narmada moderated the proceedings and shared with the Judicial panel, the findings of his Report co-authored by senior political leaders and experts including Hannan Mollah, Annie Raja, Dr. Sunilam, Raj Kchroo and Benoy Vishwam.

The Panel of Judges was invited by a team of distinguished citizens including Jst (Retd.) Rajinder Sacher [Retd. Chief Justice, Delhi High Court].; Syeda Hameed [Former Member, Planning Commission of India and National Commission for Women]; Sagar Sarhadi, Senior film maker, short story and play writer, writerdirector and producer; Prof. Anil Sadgopal, Eminent Educationalist and Founder, All India Forum on Right to Education.; Ramdas Bhatkal, Founder, Popular Prakashan, Mumbai and Senior Litterateur and Anand Patwardhan, Internationally Acclaimed Film Maker on Developmental and Human Rights Issues to hear the oustees and State agencies and give its findings on the legality of the decisions of the Government to pursue the dam work in the light of large number of complaints of denial of R&R.

Notably, the highest officials of the Central and State Governments including the Chairpersons of the NCA, R&R Sub Group and GRA, as well as the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Commissioner of NVDA, Bhopal, Collector, Nandurbar (Mah) and Commissioner, SSPA (Guj) were invited on behalf of the Organizers, but as none of them turned up, their chairs were kept vacant !

The hearing today was preceded by a day-full of intensive visits yesterday to various villages including Khalghat, Dharampuri Township as well as Vill. Semalda (Teh. Manavar) and Villages Chhota Barda, Pipri and Chikalda, Kadmal-Khaparkheda (Tehsil Kukshi); where elderly persons and women who poured out their grievances of denial of R&R, poor quality amenities at the resettlement sites, massive corruption, unlawful submergence in 2012-13 etc. The hearing began with a homage to Shri. Ramaswamy Iyer who passed away 2 days ago. Madhuresh of NAPM remembered of him as a beacon, for decades, in the water-ecology sector, whose own life was enriched by his engagement with the SSP struggle, as a Govt. Member of the 5-Member Review Panel and later his valuable contributions to the water rights regime, acknowledged internationally.

Mukesh          Hirdaram           Rahul Yadav                     Leelabai

Contact Ph: 09179148973 / 09179617513

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Major issues put forth before the People’s Tribunal

Some of the major issues that the oustees from the three states put forth before the Tribunal are:-

  1. a) Representatives of tribals – farmer (Kailash Awasya-Vill Bhilkeda, Surbhan-Vill. Kakrana and Ghokru-Vill.Bhadal) spoke of the atrocities on adivasis in the hills and plains and demanded that oustees who have not accepted cash and have been given bad land, should be given good land and compensation as per the GRA’s orders. They rejected the cash grants, exposed fraud in the name of land bank and SRP and demanded cultivable land as well as interim relief.
  1. b)   Deven Tomar, Dayaram and Rahul Yadav exposed the 1,000 crore corruption scam due to the fake registries, house plot irregularities, sub-standard works at R&R sites, livelihood grant fraud and demanded that there must be no further dam work until the Report of Jst. Jha Commission is out.
  1. c) Devram Kanera stated that there are lots of reasons to review the SSP even at this state. When the dam cost has shot up from Rs. 4,000 crores to Rs. 90,000 crores., why cannot there be a comprehensive review? Why not search for alternatives, he questioned ?
  1. d) Bhagiram (Piplud) and Mohan (Kundiya) who have been given only one instalment of the Special Rehabilitation Package refused the meagre cash grants, asserted the right to land of 1500 oustees like them and also of the 2000+ oustees those who have been entangled in fake registries scam or have been given only meagre cash in lieu of land.
  1. e) Representatives of landless and fish families including Pemal (Dhanora) refused the meagre cash grants as “rehabilitation” and stated that more than 10,000 families like hers are entitled to stable and sustainable alternative livelihood. She demanded that the middlemen should be completely eliminated from the R&R process.
  1. f) Sanobar Bi spoke of the impacts of Displacement, Denial of R&R and Implications for women and the unique situation of river-dependent women farmers, widows, single women.
  1. g) Haribhai, an old encroacher from Vill. Segava stated that hundreds of old encroachers on government land entitled to R&R are being denied land, since decades.
  1. h) Fish worker families represented by Savabai (Pichhodi) and Madhubhai (Chikalda) demanded fishing rights in the reservoir and alternative livelihood.  They said that fishing rights, river bed cultivations, boating rights etc. cannot be compensated in monetary terms. Madubhai also questioned the illegality of the GRA’s orders denying compensation for the 2012-13 submergence on the ground that submergence was due to the Omkareshwar dam waters, although the impact was due to the SP dam wall of 121.92 mts.
  1. i) Ramesh Prajapati from Nisarpur demanded recognition of the rights of the potters with alternative land for the brick kilns and the narrated the woes of potters due to frequent problems faced from the local administration.
  1. j) Mohan Patidar deposed on the status of villages like Bhavaria, Malangaon, Sondil etc. where entire hamlets are to become marooned (tapu – affected), but no surveys have been done in M.P. and no R&R entitlements have been given till date.
  1. k) Balram Kevat demanded livelihood rights for the generations, 5,000 strong old boats-men community affected by the SSP and other dams on Narmada.
  1. l) Shantabai warned of disasters worse than Nepal and Uttarakhand if the nature’s laws are are ignored and ecologically unsound projects like large dams or river linking is pursued !
  1. m) Bhagirath Dhangar (Chikalda) spoke of the plight of hundreds of small traders, shopkeepers, hawkers, artisans, tailors whose livelihoods are to be lost by the dam increase, with no alternative R&R in sight.   He said if the balance is indeed 0, then how is it that the govt. fair price shops, panchayts, voting and even govt. licensed wine shops function here ?
  1. n) Mahesh Patel (Vill. Kundiya) exposed the fraud in the name of back water levels due to which 16,000 families has been wrongly declared as “out of submergence”. He said that all these claims are unlawful and will be exposed by Narmada herself and her fury into which 99 tributaries and 999 large drains flow.
  1. o) Madan Alave (Pichhodi) stated that hundreds of tribal and other small farmers who are losing lands even for the R&R sites are denied land-based R&R. How can rehabilitation be complete without giving us land, he asked.
  1. p) Noorji Padvi (Vill. Danel) and Punya Vasave (Somaval R&R site), Maharashtra along with Yogini stated that when not less than 1200 oustees in Maharashtra, mostly affected under 121.92 mts, even at 80 mts are yet to be rehabilitated, how can the Governments claim “full or even substantial compliance”. Good land, irrigation facilities, house plots, compensation etc. are yet to be given to hundreds. The self-contradictory affidavits of the GoM before the Apex Court expose the fraud, they said.
  1. q) Lakhan Musafir, with Chaintamani and Shankar Kagda from Gujarat deposed about the status of the oustees in Gujarat and they stated that while hundred affected since decades are yet to be rehabilitated and still face problems at the R&R Sites such as denial of quality land, civic amenities etc, thousands more are to be affected in the name of  tourism projects, Garudeshwar weir, Sardar Patel Statue of Unity, Bharat Bhavan, Naar-Paar River Link Project etc.  Unique Problems of Project-affected in Gujarat: 6 Colony-Affected, Oustees due to Tourism plans, Garudeshwar weir,. – Costs and Benefits of SSP
  1. r) Vikram Verma and Mansaram Jat decried the massive impact to be caused on the Dharampuri township where not less than 10,000 people reside and Govt. claims that thousands are now suddenly ‘out of submergence’. Mr. Jat appealed to “My Lords” to ensure that the villages and real India survive.
  1. s) Mukesh and Jagish Patidar spoke of the further destruction to be caused by the canals in the irrigated villages, affected by SSP and Maheshwar dams close to Narmada and stated that while the Apex Court and Expert Committees have been looking into the violations, many grievances are still not fully resolved.
  1. t) Umesh Patidar drew the Panel’s attention to the fact that thousands of oustees have become absolute owners as per Sec 24(2) New Land Acquisition Act, 2013 and their lands should neither be submerged nor they be dispossessed without due legal process.
  1. u) Tukaram of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan demanded that there should be a complete moratorium on large dams and only small projects in the interests of the farmers, workers and environment must be pursued

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Narmada Bachao Andolan,
Narmada-Ashish, Off Kasravad Road,

Navalpura, Badwani,

Madhya Pradesh – 451551
Ph: 07290-291464; Fax: 07290-222549
E-mail: medha.narmada@gmail.com ;
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National Alliance of People’s Movements
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