Last week (Stop Press 06/04/2006) we reported the news of the hunger strike and subsequent arrest of Medha Patkar over the Narmada dam dispute.
We explained how local authorities began work in March to raise the Sardar Sarovar hydroelectric dam in the Narmada Valley in western India, but came in for criticism from Patkar, who has campaigned for 20 years to protect villagers whose lives have been affected by the project.
Several activists from the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada Campaign) are still fasting to protest the Indian government’s decision to raise the height of the dam, without first keeping its promises of just and adequate rehabilitation to the tens of thousands of families displaced by the project.
Though a cabinet level delegation went to the dam site recently, it is uncertain that the government will actually act in favor of those displaced by the dam.
The affair has received relatively little international coverage. If you wish to help show the Indian government that the world cares about the problem and demonstrate solidarity with the victims of the scheme, you can add your name to the petition organized by Benny Kuruvilla of Focus India at
Benny will compile all the signatures and deliver the petition and a letter of protest to the Indian PM’s office, the press, the Indian Parliament and the NBA. You may also wish to circulate this information among friends and colleagues.
(Information supplied by Afsar H. Jafri, Research Associate, Focus on the Global South – India Programme