Chikalda Statement: Narmada Satyagraha: 12th August, 2017

We the undersigned oustees, activists and representatives of Narmada Bachao Andolan, some of who have been on fast since 27th July 2017 and others who joined in protest to the repressive police action on 7th August 2017,  have, along with thousands of people of Narmada valley proved once again that any amount of repression by the State cannot suppress the democratic, legitimate and non-violent struggle of the 40,000 Sardar Sarovar project affected families, who are determined to take ahead our 32 year old struggle in an intense and sustained way.

Over the past few months the Andolan, through various forms of mass actions has exposed the lies of the Government of ‘complete rehabilitation’ and proved that thousands of families continue to live in submergence area as they have not been rehabilitated, as per law of the land. The various Notifications issued by the Govt. of MP recently, introducing new ‘schemes’ and ‘packages’ , after years of denial of balance rehabilitation, is a strong statement on the Game of Numbers of the State and a mark of victory of the struggle of the people.

The fact that the thickly populated communities continue to reside and struggle in the valley even after the ‘Death Line’ of the Supreme Court dt. 31st July and the ‘Mega Inaugural’ of the SSP on 12th August with 2,000 Sadhus could not take place as planned by the Prime Minister is also a vindication of the peoples’ struggle and the nation-wide support. Solidarity actions at hundreds of places have been held across India and even other countries, calling upon the Government to respond to the Andolans’ demands, initiate dialogue and end repression.

The massive floods in Gujarat, filling numerous tanks in that state, have demonstrated that Mother Nature has chosen to stand by the Narmada valley in these trying times. The Govt of Gujarat is now trying to hide the failure of other projects by using water from SSP since expected water flows of those projects have not been met. The Andolan reiterates its stand that excessive water without equitable and environmentally sustainable management can have serious impacts and even be disastrous. As the Gujarat Govt. continues to further its plans to cater to large scale corporate interests from the SSP reservoirs, it is time for the drought affected and dam affected to unitedly question the anti-people and pro-corporate stance of the State.

The anti-farmer, anti-poor stance of the Govt. stands exposed. Likewise the denial of democratic space for parliamentary discussion on SSP despite numerous MLAs and MPs raising serious concerns and even writing to the Prime Minister speaks volumes of the Govt’s claims of having serious dialogue. The Supreme Injustice that has been caused by the recent orders of the Apex Court, ignoring the binding judgments of 2000 and 2005 continues to be questionable on constitutional merits.

The haphazard tin shades and uninhabitable state of many R&R sites, no plan or preparation for the livelihood of thousands of landless families, the uncertain future of 15,946 oustees who have been declared ‘unaffected’ due to the revised backwater levels, no house- plots or small plots being given to the oustees are just few of the many grave pointers which go on to prove that Narmada Tribunal Award, R&R Policy and Court’s orders since 2000 have been violated. The Govt’s decision to lower down the gates of Sardar Sarovar in this situation, without completing full rehabilitation and attempts to increase the water level in the reservoir are a clear violation of the orders of the Supreme Court issued since 8 February, 2017.

Through its 3 decade old struggle, NBA has raised fundamental questions on the current paradigm of destructive anti-people development and has taken its message of peoples’ centric development to the four corners of the world. The struggle of NBA is a testimony to the many unanswered questions of the enormous social, environmental, financial and cultural impacts of mega development projects. It also is a reminder of the fact that truly humane and constitutional justice remains to be done even after prolonged legal proceedings and verdicts.

We unequivocally condemn the Govt’s unwillingness to initiate a serious dialogue with the people of the valley and instead usher in a rain of terror as demonstrated by the brutal and violent police action on 7th August at Chikhalda, seclusion of Medha Patkar at the Indore Hospital in the name of ‘Security’, forcible hospitalization of the fasting oustees and slapping of false cases on hundreds of people of the valley, arbitrary detention and arrests of the oustees and the activists with an intention to intimidate and isolate people.

As has been rightly stated, “When Injustice becomes Law, Resistance between Duty” and “We The People” of the Narmada Valley, with full faith in the Constitution of India and power of sangharash and satyagraha shall continue our non-violent struggle in different forms and forums, not just for our entitlements and rights, but for the larger cause of human justice. We Shall Fight, We Shall Win.


Medha Patkar, Gayatri Behen (Kadmal), Vimla Bai(Khaparkheda), Dharmendra Kanhera( Khaparkheda), Bhagwati Behen ( Nisarpur),  Manjula Bai( Nisarpur), Pushpa Bai( Nisarpur), Rameshwar (Awalda), Bau ( Awalda), Rukmani Bai (NIsarpur), Bhagwati Bai ( Chhota Barda), Sewanti Behen (Chhota Barda), Nani Machhuwara (Chikhalda), Saraswati Behen ( Semalda), Kamla Yadav (Chhota Barda), Lakshmi Patidar (Kadmal), Rewa Patidar(Nisarpur), Bhupendra Kumawat(Kothda), Praveen Sreevas(Nisarpur), Rakesh Patidar(Nisarpur), Hari Om Kumawat(Eklara), Bachchuram Bhilala (Pichhaudi).