Madhya Pradesh – NAPM statements demanding release of farmers and activists in Chhindwada

November 9, 2012

NAPM Statement on the unconditional release of Medha Patkar, SunIti S R, Mukesh Bagoriya, Braj Kishore Chaurasia and others

Chindwara, November 7 : Today afternoon, Medha Patkar and others were presented infront of the Chief Judicial Magistrate on charges under Section 188, in a packed Court room in heavy presence of police. The town remained tense due to unavoidable and unnecessary situation created by the District Collector and Superintendent of Police. Medha Patkar, stated to CJM Chindwara that the charges under Section 188 has been promulgated much after, the initial arrest was made under section 151. She recorded her statement in the court and alleged several violations by the police of D K Basu Guidelines : using force while arrest from a peaceful gathering inside a private house late in the night; not producing infront of any executive or judicial magistrate after arrest; not informing the nearest friend or family of arrest or allowing meeting them; putting in jail first and then issuing the arrest memos to many others. She accused the administration of collusion with the government in keeping her in illegal detention and pressuring the Executive Magistrate not to even admit the bail application. It was only after a Habeaus Corpus application moved in Jabalpur High Court that she was produced in Court on trumped up charges.

CJM in its order said the alleged violations are beyond the authority of his Court but it is not desirable that the accused be kept in detention any longer and ordered their immediate release. On plea of the Prosecution that they should be further remanded for till 20th November, Judge said there is no ground for that and it will be injustice to them.

At 2:30 pm Jabalpur High Court heard the Habeaus Corpus Petition and said since the police has already produced them in Court the HC application’s purpose has been solved, however, applicant is at liberty to add to it all the charges of illegal detention and arrest which will be heard separately.

Later at 7:00 pm all the people were released from the Chindwara Jail.

Advocate Aradhana Bhargava’s case for hearing will come tomorrow at Chaurai tehsil Court. It needs to be noted that she was arrested from her house in Chindwara however, police has showed in jail diary that she was arrested in Chaurai Tehsil. Today we also learnt that she has been charged with Section 110, for which she can also be debarred from the district. It is extremely shameful and highly condemnable that charges reserved for habitual offenders like history sheeter criminals, rapists and others has been imposed on a committed social activist and lawyer. The administration is certainly acting on behalf of the Adnai Thermal Power Plant and State Governmnt’s who has been threatened by the agitation led by Kisan Sanghrash Samiti under her leadership. NAPM condemns such vindictive move of the administration and will continue to fight the legal battle as well the ground battle in Chindwara.

In Pune, today afternoon, all the women prisoners were produced infront of the Executive Magistrate, who released them saying that they can’t be kept any longer in the jail under the current circumstances. Release order was passed and they were released later in the evening at 6:30pm. However, the Pune police which was extremely quick to arrest and put them in jail late in evening could not deliver the release order for all the men on time, as a result they continue to be in Yeravada jail. Shame on Pune Police ! They will be released tomorrow morning at 10 am.

Support poured in from movements, supporters and well wishers from across the country and world. NAPM acknowledges their support and vows to continue fighting the struggle for people’s rights over the natural resources and for equity and justice. We will challenge the misuse of the law by the police in High Court and see to it that action is taken against erring officials.

We would also like to extend an invitation to you all to our 9th biennial National Convention at Salsabeel Green School, Thrissur, Kerala from November 17-19 on theme, “Development and Politics : Alternatives,” where we will collectively strategise for our future struggles and challenge the state and corporate authoritarianism and violence unleashed on people’s movements. Nearly a thousand activists from more than 20 states are expected to join the event. We look forward to meeting you all there.

Sandeep Pandey, Ulka Mahajan, Prafulla Samantara, Akhil Gogoi, Arundhati Dhuru, Maj. Gen. Sudhir Vombatkere, Sister Celia, Gabriele Dietrich, Roma, Geetha Ramakrishnan, Bhupinder Singh Rawat, Vimal Bhai, Rajendra Ravi, Ramakrishna Raju, Saraswati Kavula, Gautam Bandopahdyay, Shrikanth, Madhuresh Kumar

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Press Release on November 6

Habeaus Corpus Application Filed in Jabalpur High Court Against Illegal Arrest of Medha Patkar and Others. Medha Continues her Indefinite Fast in Jail

Suniti S R and Prasad Bagwe Start Indefinite Fast in Yeravada Jail, Pune Against Illegal Detention. Refuse to Apply for Bail.

Around 250 Solidarity workers protested outside Madhya Pradesh Bhavan, Delhi. Support pours in from across country. Protests planned in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Elsewhere

Anna Hazare (IAC), Rajindar Sachar (PUCL), Swami Agnivesh, Manju Mohan (Socialist Janata Party), Bhupendra Rawat(DSG), Vinod Singh(Kisan Manch), Piyush (AISA) stand in solidarity with Dr. Sunilam, Medha Patkar, Advocate Aradhana Bhargava & others

New Delhi, November 6 : Medha Patkar’s and others bail application could not be filed since District Collector kept misleading the advocates and others. Initially they booked them under Section 151 (s noted in jail diary), the bail plea for which was not even admitted in the court by City Judicial Magistrate yesterday citing pressure from administration. Today, realising the mistake and trying to cover for his junior’s action they added charges under Section 188, which requires bail from judiciary. Challenging this, Anurag Modi of Jan Sangharsh Morcha has moved a habeaus corpus in Jabalpur bench of the High Court, which will be heard tomorrow. Meanwhile, in Chaurai Tehsil Court, bail plea for Advocate Aradhana Bhargava was rejected, even though the charges of her arrest are not serious, Section 151. NAPM condemns this draconian act of the Chindwada administration and will challenge it in the Court and ensure that action is taken against the SP and DC responsible for continued arrest.

Medha Patkar continued her fast in jail on third day of her detention. In the afternoon, her blood pressure was reported high, though there is no immediate danger to her health but given her recent back injuries it will have adverse impact on her overall health. She also received a notice from the Jail Superintendent that she will be force bed and action against her will taken if she continues her indefinite fast, which is a crime under prisons act. She has refused and vehemently protested any action and challenged to take them to Court for all illegality.

Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chauhan meanwhile postponed his visit to the district citing official reasons but we believe it is due to increasing pressure and the shame it has brought to MP government from all over the country.

Delhi Solidarity Group along with other organizations organised a protest demonstration at Madhya Pradesh Bhawan today demanding the Madhya Pradesh Government to release Dr. Sunilam, Suryavanshi Parmandal and Prahlad Agarwal who have been sentenced for life on charges of murder, arson and others.

The protest was attended by 250 activists, students, organizations & solidarity workers belonging to the “Delhi Solidarity Group”. The demonstration was also attended by Anna Hazare, Arvind Gaur & few others from the Anna Team who expressed their solidarity & support to Dr. Sunilam & the farmers of Madhya Pradesh. Anna Hazare said “The Government should withdraw the false cases on Dr. Sunilam & others and listen to the voices of the farmers. If these demands are not fulfilled I will sit with the people of Chindwara in their struggle.” Anna along with Bhupendra Singh Rawat from Delhi Solidarity Group & Arvind Gaur met with the Resident Commissioner of Madhya Pradesh Bhawan & submitted the memorandum.

Delhi Solidarity Group condemned vindictive move by the Madhya Pradesh Government and its siding with corrupt political forces and using its administrative machinery to facilitate pecuniary benefits to private corporations. Activists demanded that Madhya Pradesh Government :
* immediately release Dr. Sunilam, Medha Patkar & others and withdraw cases, against them and others of Kisan Sangharshn Samiti.
* action against police officers who are behind the Farmers’ massacre in Multai on January 12th1998
* stop ongoing forced land acquisitions in Chhindwara district for the Pench Water Diversion Project.

NAPM also stands behind its colleagues, 90 people, who are in Yeravada Jail, Pune for no fault. They had a demonstration and a very good meeting with the District Commissioner, Pune yesterday but even then they were arrested and sent to jail on Section 151 for two days. Activists refuse to seek bail or sign bonds for their release. We will challenge their illegal detention in Court and continue to fight for the rights of the Waang Marathwadi Dam, Tata Dam and Lavasa Hill city affected people.

Sandeep Pandey, Ulka Mahajan, Prafulla Samantara, Akhil Gogoi, Arundhati Dhuru, Maj. Gen. Sudhir Vombatkere, Sister Celia, Gabriele Dietrich, Roma, Geetha Ramakrishnan, Bhupinder Singh Rawat, Vimal Bhai, Rajendra Ravi, Ramakrishna Raju, Saraswati Kavula, Gautam Bandopahdyay, Shrikanth, Madhuresh Kumar

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PUCL letter to NHRC demanding Immediate Intervention and release of activist Medha Patkar, lawyer Aradhana Bhargava and 21 others and who have been illegally arrested and confined in Chhindwara, Jail in MP. (All arrested under sec 151 CrPC).

We are shocked to learn that renowned social activist Ms Medha Patkar of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) and the Narmada Bacaho Andolan (NBA) was arrested yesterday from the house of Ms Aradhana Bhargava in Chhindwara, MP. Medha Patkar and others had gone to the house of Aradhana Bhargava as the latter had been arrested on the 3rd from her house.

It maybe known that lawyer Aradhana Bhargava had gone tp Chhindwara to participate in the death rituals of her mother. It was the last day of her mother’s death rites and she was picked up from her house and booked u/s 151 CrPC. When Medha and others on Sunday the 4th had gone to pay their condolences to the family of Aradhana, they were first detained inside the house of Aradhana and later picked up at 10.30 pm and sent into the Jail of Chhidwara. It is learnt that probably they too have been arrested u/s 151 CrPC.

Sir,

We are shocked at the paranoic manner in which the MP Government through its District Collector Mahesh Chaudhary and SP Purshottam are behaving. They are not even allowing lawyers to meet their clients. The misuse of the law and illegal detention of senior activists in completely unacceptable. This action of the Administration and the police within the framework of Indian Constitution and democracy is violative of Article 19 and 21.

Now that Dr Sunilam (ex MLA) and leader of the present struggle against the Adani Peench Power Plant coming up in Chhindwara has been put behind bars for the 14 year old Multai Firing case, the Government of MP, the Administration and the Police want to speed up the process of eviction of the people who are living in the area where the Government plans to have the Peench Water Diversion Project and Power Plant. So anybody even remotely connected going into the area they feel will be a moral booster to the farmers who donot wish to be evicted.and therefore arresting them.

We would like you to immediately intervene and ensure the release of Medha the 21 other activists and Aradhana today itself and take action against the SP and the Collector against this arbitrary action

with regards,
Kavita Srivastava

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JAN SANGARSH MORCHA

Madhya Pradesh

Press release : 5/11/2012 / Bhopal

Jan Sangharsh Morcha demands Immediate release of farmers, and activists in Chhindwada arrested for protesting forcible eviction for Adani Pench Power Project.

Condemns displacement at gunpoint and demands transparency and due legal process for private investment in the so called development projects.

The arrest in Chhindwada on Sunday night, of Medha Patkar and 23 others reveals the ugly face of MP government’s hype on the recent Global Investors’ Meet and the strident solicitation of private sector investments. Investment at gunpoint, forcible displacement by the police, unlawful diversion of land, forest and water to industry, jailing of peacefully protesting activists is the truth behind the government’s investment programme.

Medha Patkar and others were arrested from the home of advocate Aradhana Bhargava a day after she herself was arrested. Medha and others had gone to Chhindwada following reports of heavy police build up in villages protesting Pench Water Diversion Project and threats that villagers would be forcibly evicted from the 4th of November. They were however not allowed to proceed to the affected areas and were forcibly detained in Chhindwada town, and were jailed last night. Adv Aradhana Bhargava, who was arrested on who has been active in a peaceful movement, ongoing since 2004, against forcible displacement and diversion of water by the Pench Diversion Project, and the Adani Pench Power Project. The Pench project alone will displace more than 31 villages and over 56,000 families, and villagers have been protesting that no proper rehabilitation has been offered to them. In addition to the diversion of village water resources to corporate concerns ,forest land and commons are also being handed over to Adani and other corporate houses without any due legal process.

The Pench Diversion Project does not even have environmental clearance from the MoEF, and its 1986 clearance has lapsed.

Medha Patkar has begun an indefinite hunger strike in jail to protest these unlawful arrests.

Jan Sangarsh Morcha (MP) condemns the attempts by the MP government to sacrifice precious natural resources to corporate profits and the forcible eviction of farmers at gunpoint . The reality behind the MP govt.’s much –hyped development through private investment is that corporate loot is being facilitated without any due legal process, while the interests of farmers and other common citizens are being sacrificed .

The Jan Sangarsh Morcha calls upon the state govt. to protect the development interests of the people of the state instead of sacrificing their interest at the altar of corporate profits.

Narmada Bachao Andolan,Samajvadi Jan Parishad,Jagrit Dalit Adivasi Sangathan,Bargi Bandh Visthapit Sangathan,Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahilla Sangathan,M.P. Mahilla Manch,Shramik Adivasi Sangathan

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Medha Patkar and Activists Detained in Chindwada, Start Satyagraha
Kisan Sangharsh Samiti Intensifies Agitation; Support Pours in From Across Country

Chindwada, November 4 : The situation in Chindwada continues to remain tense with heavy police presence deployed to intimidate the farmers, labourers and adivasis protesting illegal commencement of work on the Pench Water Diversion Project.

Medha Patkar, National Convener, NAPM who travelled from Indore and Chindwada and reached in the wee hours today was stopped and checked at virtually every station by the police and also surrounded by 50 police men at the Chindwada station, where the Tehsildar and other officials tried to restrain her from proceeding further, insisting that she must go to the Circuit House.

She was told that Sec 144 has been imposed in Chindwada and the entry of people in three tehsils of Chhindwada, Amarwada and Chouri has been prohibited from October 30th – orders have been issued. When asked for the copy of the same she was denied that. This is baseless and illegal, since on Novembr 3rd, Shri Sartaj Singh, Forest Minister, GoMP held a public programme distributing tendu patta bonus, same day BJP Kisan Morcha also held a convention in Chourai. At the same time Deen Dayal Antyodaya Mela was organised as well as adventure sports programme was organised too in Tamiya. “Is the Section 144 for only for activists going to Bamanwara?” asked Medha Patkar.

A huge police force has gheraoed the house of Adv. Aradhana Bhargava, leader of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, who was arrested on false charges under Sec 151 IPC on November 3rd itself and has been sent to judicial custody. Today police also arrested Brajkishore Chaurasia, Yuva Kranti Dal and Dr. Rajkumar Sanodia of KSS.

The farmers and people are not being allowed to meet Medha Patkar and others by the police. Protesting the high handedness of the district administration Medha Patkar along with Mukesh Bagoria, Rahul Yadav of Narmada Bachao Andolan, Advocate Sushma Prajapati, Akhil Bhartiya Gondwana Kisan Mahapanchayat, National Vice President; Devaki Marawi and Rajesh Tiwari of Bargi and Bheemgarh Bandh Visthapit Sangh; Jameel Khan of KSS and other representatives of the Pench Project and Adani Power Project affected families have sat on Satyagraha, until they are allowed to proceed to the villages.

It needs to be noted that for past few days police has been spreading canards and terrorizing them too. Even then villagers have been protesting at Vamanwada, 3 kms away from Machagora and have been on a peaceful sit in. More than a thousand police men are surrounding the dharna site. The agitation will continue until the forceful and illegal eviction and acquisition of land is stopped.

NAPM has decided to extend complete support to the struggle and in absence of Dr. Sunilam and Aradhana Bhargava, (both are NAPM Conveners) Medha Patkar and others will lead the struggle in Chindwara and Multai and fight for the rights of farmers and farm workers.

Support has been pouring in from different movements across the country. Hind Mazdoor Kisan Panchayat, State Advocate D K Prajapati, Madhya Pradesh Pensioners Association, State Secretary T M R Naidu, Samta Party State President Suresh Sharma, Akhil Bhartiya Gondwana Kisan Mahapanchayat President Shri Chand Chauriya, Azadi Bachao Andolan, Chindwara J L Mishra, Ashok Choudhary and Roma from NFFPFW, Anurag Modi of Jan Sangharsh Morcha, Madhya Pradesh and others have condemned the incidence and lent their support to the movement.

Background : It needs to be noted that agitation against these two project Pench Water Diversion Project (PWDP) and Adani Pench Power Project (APPP), Chindwara has been ongoing in a peaceful manner since 2004. PWDP involves construction of a 51 meter dam on Pench river, submerging 5600 Hectares of land of 31 villages. The project planned in 80s got a one page clearance from Department of Environment in 1984 (MoEF was not there then) for irrigation purposes. The clearance is no longer valid and requires a fresh clearance under Environment Protection Act 1986 and also under EIA notifications. Acquisition process was started back then, some farmers were given throw away compensation but acquisition process was never completed since the work didn’t start. Till today farmers continue to cultivate and grow 2-3 crops in a year from the fertile land.

After the agitation, the compensation was increased to nearly a lakh rupee an acre but 90 percent of the farmers have refused to accept it and are not willing to part their land. In 2011, May Dr,. Sunilam and Adv Aradhana Bhargava were attacked by the goons which they survived but the administration failed to take any action. Many of the farmers in fact along with Aradhana Bhargava spent more than a week in jail on false charges of arson, loot and obstructing public officials.

PWDP today is to be constructed for supplying water to the APPP, diverting water meant for the farmers. Last year KSS along with NAPM met Environment Minister, Ms. Jayanti Natarajan , who informed the delegation that no clearance has been granted to the PWDP and under the law they are supposed to have prior Environment Clearance. The PWDP is going to threaten the forests of Pench National Park and Tiger Project too. So, in all senses it makes no sense to be constructing this but even then MoEF has not taken any action. Mr. Kamal Nath, MP and Union Minister from Chindwara has been personally involved in ensuring that the project goes on and been supporting the APPP as well. Madhya Pradesh Government on the other hand has been in complete hand in glove with Mr. Kamal Nath. It is no wonder that Dr. Sunilam and other activists of KSS got life sentence in a case where 24 farmers were killed by police on January 12, 1998. None of the police officers have been punished till date, not a single FIR has been filed in that case. It is a clear case of conspiracy and collusion between BJP and Congress in the interest of Adani.