[DEBATE] : Note 3 : Update 1 on the Delhi demos + FW: [irn-sasia] Medha Patkar critical on Day 8 of fast
jai.sen at cacim.net
Wed Apr 5 19:43:44 BST 2006
Wednesday, April 5, 2006
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Note 3 : Update 1 on the Delhi demos
Here, towards the end of this message, is an update on the situation in the
case of the Narmada demo in New Delhi, further to the posting done earlier
today by Patrick : The condition of Medha Patkar, who is on fast.
But before that, some random additional information that may help place both
the postings in context, most of which seems not to have been reported as
yet on listserves :
* Intense lobbying took place over the past few days by many different
sections acting in solidarity with the Narmada demonstration, leading to the
Indian Minister for Water Resources, technically responsible for dams etc,
Saif-ud-din Soz, coming to meet Medha Patkar yesterday on behalf of the
government of India, in an attempt to persuade her to break her fast in
exchange for a statement of some kind (he would not declare what he had to
say until she sipped some juice). Medha and the NBA have so far refused to
do so. See http://www.hindu.com/2006/04/05/stories/2006040510280100.htm.
(See also news below on Medha¹s condition. Unfortunately, there is little
or no reporting on the condition of the other hunger strikers, but it is
roughly the same as hers.)
* After a day of on and off meetings, Professor Soz yesterday issued a
statement that the government had agreed to send three Ministers to the
Narmada valley to report back to the Prime Minister on the state of
rehabilitation in the Sardar Sarovar project. Crucially, the statement said
³The team would ensure that the R&R if PAFs [Project-Affected Peoples] has
been complied with in terms of the [Narmada Disputes Tribunal] Award and the
Supreme Court Judgements². If this was to be actually done, this could be a
major victory. The team was scheduled to leave today (Wednesday), or
* BUT THE TWIST is that the mission will take 5-6 days which is true, if
the team is indeed to visit resettlement sites and also villages that should
have been resettled but have not - but this means that those fasting have to
continue and survive for these extra 6-7 days before a decision is taken.
So this is also a way of pressurising the Narmada movement to suspend their
* Two former Prime Ministers of India, V P Singh and I K Gujral, today wrote
a letter to the present Prime Minister, urging him to freeze further
construction of the dam (= continuing to raise the dam from 110 metres to
122 metres) at least until the government¹s team reports back to them.
Given that tomorrow is widely a holiday in India anyway, and construction
will anyway stop, this could easily be done.
* At noon today, civil activists including Shabnam Hashmi and Prashant
Bhushan met Sonia Gandhi, the President of the Congress party that heads the
present government and the power (and some say conscience) behind the Prime
Minister, presented their arguments (as above freeze construction), and
reported back to the demo that they could not have expected a better
hearing. She reportedly said that she would speak with the Prime Minister
* The Indian Cabinet was due to meet today at 5 pm. We assume that the
Narmada issue will have come up for discussion.
* Despite the large number of people who are at the Narmada site, and
despite the continuing programme of solidarity speeches that went on right
through the day, the mood of the gathering today was undoubtedly more sombre
than yesterday; as the condition of the hunger strikers weakened.
* The Bhopal demo is continuing just across the street from the Narmada one.
It is not yet in a critical state, and so is so far sparsely attended,
though some people going to the Narmada demo also go across to be with the
* After a good start, where they met the Minister for Petrochemicals Ram
Vilas Paswan and he apparently agreed to endorse and forward all their six
demands to the Prime minister, they have received NO RESPONSE, at all.
* The Bhopal team however has announced a week long programme of activities
starting tonight (Wednesday). They include films, street plays, poetry
readings, music nights, including a quawwali night, and debates, culminating
in a major demonstration on March 10 and, they so far say, moving onto an
indefinite hunger strike by twelve people starting March 11. And where
March 11 will be precisely the same day as the government¹s team on the
Narmada rehabilitation situation is meant to be reporting back.
Jai Sen, CACIM, April 5 2006
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From: <irn-sasia at lists.irn.org>
Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2006 12:04:44 +0200
To: <irn-sasia at lists.irn.org>
Subject: [irn-sasia] Medha Patkar critical on Day 8 of fast
Medha Patkar critical on Day 8 of fast
Posted Wednesday, April 05, 2006 at 13:51
New Delhi: Eighth day into her indefinite fast, Narmada Bachao Andolan
leader Medha Patkar's health deteriorated on Wednesday and doctors have
warned that the next 48 hours would be very critical for her.
Patkar is having only water and was vomitting since Wednesday morning.
Left weak by seven days of fasting, Patkar has difficulty in speaking and
NBA activists standing with her at the Jantar Mantar expressed concern over
her deteriorating condition.
Unrelenting in her demand that work on the Sardar Sarovar Dam should be
halted immediately, Patkar has turned down repeated requests to break her
fast from many quarters, including the Prime Minister himself, over the
past seven days.
The NBA activists were on an indefinite fast for eighth day in the national
capital, demanding stoppage of work on increasing the height of the dam to
121.92 metres from the current 113 metres till the project affected people
Patkar had a stream of visitors from the civil society, including noted
Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande and academician Prof Yashpal, expressing
solidarity with the protest.
NBA activists were taking their turn in joining Patkar's in her fast as
three of them -- Dheeraj Kumar, Avdesh and Nakhreen Behn -- started their
On Tuesday, Patkar turned down Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's request to
end her indefinite hunger strike, saying that her agitation would continue
till the government makes public its report on the rehabilitation of the
families affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project.
Deputed by the Prime Minister, Union Water Resources Minister Saifuddin
Soz, who met Patkar twice on Tuesday conveyed Singh's request to call off
her seven-day-long strike.
Patkar has said there was a need for a national campaign to bring the focus
on the plight of the people displaced by the Sardar Sarovar Dam.
"In the name of infrastructure development, you cannot snatch away from the
people their homes and their livelihood," she said making a brief statement.
She said while the government was working on an urban renewal mission for
cities like Mumbai and Delhi, people in the villages were being removed
from their homes in the name of development.
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