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Home > News > PTI

Next on Medha Patkar's agenda: A yatra

April 18, 2006 23:52 IST

Unveiling her mode of struggle in the coming fortnight before the next Supreme Court hearing on May 1, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar on Tuesday said she would launch a campaign to expose the rehabilitation claims of the three states and undertake a 'yatra' in this regard in the capital and in the Narmada valley.

"We invite youth, students, academicians, activists and actors to Narmada valley where we will conduct a campaign to expose the true state of rehabilitation measures taken and a yatra against the governments of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. It will expose all that the government is doing in the name of development," she said, speaking to the reporters after a meeting of the NBA activists in New Delhi.

Patkar, who was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday, said all the activists would return to the valley tonight en route Bhopal and Indore and continue the struggle from there in order to keep up the political pressure generated on the issue.

She also said that the struggle was no longer restricted to Narmada Bachao and was being broadened to include other challenges like slum demolition in Delhi and Mumbai, and displacement of tribals in Jharkhand and Orissa.

"The struggle has changed from 'Narmada Bachao' to 'Desh Bachao' because so many people across the country are facing displacement. With the joining of so many people, the struggle has entered a new phase. The war is on but many other battles have come together," she said.

Patkar said that various students organisations, youth associations, research groups and representatives of several of her organisations -- that were part of the coordination committee formed during Tuesday's meeting -- would hold a yatra in Delhi to mobilise people and garner support on the issue of rehabilitation.

Announcing that author Arundhati Roy would soon hold her second 'Rally for Valley,' she said the activists would also begin a political campaign for signatures of Members of Parliament who support the issue.

Saying that they had 'very little time' on their hands, Patkar said the activists had to work hard in the next 15 days as there were 'many challenges' ahead.

Condemning Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, she said it was 'ridiculous' that Modi was trying to give 'communal colours' to the support extended by Union Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz and Bollywood actor Aamir Khan to the NBA.

Patkar urged Congress president Sonia Gandhi to speak out for the NBA cause. "She will definitely win from Rae Bareilly, but she will lose if she does not side with the poor, especially women who are being ousted from the valley," she said.

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