Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar’s indefinite fast for rehabilitation of the Sardar Sarovar Dam oustees in Madhya Pradesh entered the 11th day today.
Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti has urged Patkar (62) to end the hunger strike while expressing concern over her health.
Patkar is sitting on fast since July 27 at Chikhalda in Dhar district demanding “proper” rehabilitation of people from Barwani, Dhar, Alirajpur and Khargone districts who will have to vacate their houses due to the closure of the gates of the dam in neighbouring Gujarat.
“I respect you very much. You are my guide. I am worried about your health and request you to end the fast. We are doing our best to sort out the issues you raised,” the minister tweeted.
In her reply to Bharti’s tweet, Patkar urged the minister to support her in saving Narmada river. Meanwhile, leaders of various outfits have extended their support to Patkar’s agitation.
Patidar community leaders, who spearheaded the recent farmers’ protests in western Madhya Pradesh, called on the activist and announced their support for her cause.
“We handed over a letter to the NBA assuring them of our support for the ongoing protest. We will go to other affected places in support of agitators and also talk to the chief minister,” said Madhya Pradesh Patidar Samaj president Mahendra Patidar.
Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha (ABKM) general secretary Jaswindar Singh and NBA’s Maharashtra unit leaders also reached the spot to extend their support to Patkar, the NBA said in a press release.
NBA claimed various organisations, including trade unions and civil societies, staged a protest in Raipur in Chhattisgarh in support of Patkar. Patkar did not allow a team of doctors to examine her health.
“We had sent a team of doctors for the health check up of Patkar and other activists but they refused to be examined,” Additional Collector D K Nagendra said.
A delegation comprising Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s Additional Secretary Chandrashekhar Borkar and well-known spiritual leader Bhaiyyuji Maharaj called on Patkar yesterday, but failed to convince her.
Patkar has been demanding a proper rehabilitation of thousands of families in Barwani, Dhar, Alirajpur and Khargone districts who are displaced due to the closure of the gates of the dam. The water level of the river reached 121.90 metres today, nearing the danger mark of 123 metres. The dam is likely to be filled to its capacity by the end of this month.