As protest enters ninth day, health condition of fasting Narmada activists deteriorates
The indefinite fast by Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar and 11 others in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh against the displacement of families in Dhar and Barwani districts by the Sarda
BHOPALl: The indefinite fast by Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar and 11 others in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh against the displacement of families in Dhar and Barwani districts by the Sardar Sarovar Project of Gujarat entered the ninth day on Friday.
The condition of 12 protesters, who have been on fast since July 27 at Chikilda village, started worsening on Thursday night.
A team of doctors which conducted a health check up of the fasting people found that their blood pressure was low and there was presence of life-threatening compound ketone in their body.
The doctors advised the protesting people, including Patkar to undergo a detailed health check up at the hospital, though Patkar and others have declined to do so.
They instead reiterated their resolve to fast till their last breath for the displaced families who are being inadequately rehabilitated by the state government.
Alarmed over the development, MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday urged Patkar and others to end their fast. The CM tweeted, “Medhaji I’m concerned about your and others’ health. I humbly request you to end your fast.”
In another tweet, Chouhan stated, “It’s my duty to be concerned about the interests of every displaced individual. Me and the authorities stand by them fully.”
According to top sources in the government, a team of senior officials of the state government is likely to meet Patkar and others at Chikilda village by Saturday.
In another significant development, a farmer outfit from Pakistan — the Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee (PKRC) — has expressed solidarity with the cause of the Sardar Sarovar Project-affected people.
Already, organisations and individuals from 29 countries, including eminent American linguist Noam Chomsky, have signed an online petition addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in support of the project-affected people.
The PKRC expressed written solidarity with those on hunger strike at the Narmada valley to save 40,000 families affected by the project in four districts of MP, including Alirajpur, Dhar, Barwani and Khargone.
The PKRC, a network of peasant organisations and a member of La Via Campisena, has demanded that Chouhan complete all rehabilitation processes in the Narmada valley before closing the gates of the Sardar Sarovar dam.
The organisation’s secretary Farooq Tariq, in a message to the hunger strikers, said that 40,000 families of the Narmada valley, millions of trees, their cattle, farm-barns, temple-mosques, schools, among others are precious assets of the country.
Tariq said the practice of sacrificing people’s interests in favour of another state would have devastating effects. Those affected must be fully rehabilitated.
He added, “We in Pakistan often face a similar situation where those affected by a disaster are left on their own to become part of the growing river of poverty. However, like you, we also believe nothing can be achieved without struggle and sacrifice. We believe that your effort will bear fruit and the government would be forced to accept your demands.”