By L.S. Herdenia
BHOPAL: Despite the arrest of Medha Patkar and her fasting colleagues, Narmada valley is still burning. In an unusual development, the administration has banned Medha Patkar’s entry in the districts of Dhar and Barwani for one year. The order was served on her when, after her discharge from an Indore hospital, she was proceeding to the village where she was fasting before her forcible removal.
The Dhar district administration issued the banishment order preventing Patkar from entering the SSP submergence area (comprising Dhar and Barwani districts) for a year and asking her to file a bond of Rs 10,000 in this respect.
After her discharge from the hospital, Patkar told media persons that the NBA agitation for adequate rehabilitation of the SSP affected people would continue. Her discharge itself came
as the NBA filed a habeas corpus application in the Indore bench of MP High Court after being denied access to their leader. She was shifted to Bombay Hospital; Indore after police forcibly removed her from the site of the fast. Twelve activists, including Medha Patkar, were on indefinite fast for 12 days when the government action came on Monday.
The NBA condemned the action of the state government and said that ‘it has no shame and completely lost any sense of propriety’. According to NBA, as Medha’s vehicle was moving towards Barwani, it was intercepted by nearly 35 police vehicles. The vehicle’s driver was forced out and a police officer started driving them towards Dhar.
Later, the SDM court of Dhar issued an order saying that Medha Patkar was being taken into preventive custody as she was reportedly trying to go to the submergence area and might try to instigate the agitating people for fast and other action that might cause harm to their lives. The order also cited certain other charges against her relating to earlier agitations and observed that her entry into the submergence area might cause unrest and violence.
Patkar described the police action as “dictatorial”, and said, “I was illegally detained. I was not allowed to use the mobile phone. Even during hospital visiting hours, I was not allowed to meet people,” she said. The NBA also said that due to the police cordon, she and others were unable to decide on the future strategy of their protest.
Meanwhile, reports reaching here say even some BJP workers have joined the protest and that the Kukshi police arrested BJP Nisarpur city president Dhulji Sipahi and few others for involvement in violence when Patkar and nine others were being picked up by police from Chikalda village.
Kukshi police station in charge CB Singh told reporters that some 2,530 people have been booked for violence and preventing government servants from discharge of their duties. Of them, 30 persons were named. In another case some 500 people were also booked, some of them for pelting stones at the police vehicles. (IPA Service)