Indefinite hunger strike reaches its 18th day

Indefinite hunger strike reaches its 18th day
State government neglects the displaced villagers

and violates Court decision
Wide support for the Khandwa struggle

The people affected by the Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar projects continue their struggle at their Head Quarters at Khandwa district. The hunger strike by five of them has reached its 18th day. There is a steady deterioration in the health of the five strikers.

It is notable indeed that the indefinite dharna, which began on 4th June, has reached its 20th day today. The Andolan had sent a memorandum with all their demands to the Chief Minister's office on 4th June itself. During the dharna itself, the Andolan made special counters. These counters provide aid and has so far lodged 11, 000 complaints (individual as well as collective) which are proof enough of the situation the displaced villagers are in. The fact that the State government and the NHDC have not taken any concrete steps to resolve the issues raised proves their utter neglection of the displaced people.

Further, blatant violation of Supreme Court and High Court decisions also clearly shows that the government does not seem to believe in following the law. On 15th March 2005 , the Supreme Court had passed an order that all adult sons of farmers should be given land. Giving its verdict on a case filed on the issues related to Indira Sagar project, the High Court Jabalpur had passed an order in September 2006 that upheld this Supreme Court verdict and further directed the state to give Special Rehabilitation Grant to the adult sons too. But even after 9 months have passed this decision has not been implemented by the State government in clear violation of the law.

The affected people participating in the Khandwa struggle are deeply committed to continue with their struggle till they achieve their just rights. They demand that they be given land in lieu of their submerged lands, that adult sons be given the Special Rehabilitation Package, that all the affected houses left out from the surveys be brought in under the Land Acquisition Act, that all areas that have become islands due to the reservoir water also be brought under the Land Acquisition Act, that Harsood and other rehabilitation sites be provided with employment and livelihood facilities, new rehabilitation sites be set up to meet the increasing number of families being affected and the thousands of complaints pending due to the violation of the rehabilitation policy be dealt with with immediate effect.

The Khandwa Satyagraha is receiving continuous support from a lot of organisations and individuals from all over the state and the country. Samajwadi Parishad and Kisan Adivasi Sangathan leader Shri Sunilbhai, Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan leader Ms. Madhuri, Shri Afaaq Lashkari and others from Sajhaa Manch, Delhi were chief among those who reached the dharna site in support. In addition Shri Ashish Mandloi and Kamala Yadav from the Sardar Sarovar dam affected region, Shri Govind Rawat from the Maan dam affected region, Ms Kadvi Bai from the Maheshwar dam affected region also joined the dharna and expressed their solidarity with the Khandwa struggle on behalf of their respective organisations. A relay dharna has also been started in Harsood from today in support of the Khandwa dharna. The Sub-divisional officer, Harsud has been informed through a joint memorandum on behalf of 36 families residing in Harsood that every day one family will sit on this dharna along with a large number of its supporters.

Alok Agrawal