Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar was on Monday forcibly removed from Chikhalda village in Dhar district after she turned down pleas to call off her fast and refused to undergo medical check-up despite her deteriorating health. Patkar had begun her fast, along with supporters, on July 27 demanding total rehabilitation of persons affected by Sardar Sarovar project. While she contested the official figures about the number of affected people and rehabilitation efforts, the state accused her of misleading people.
CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister Uma Bharati were among those who had requested her to end her protest. Indore-based spiritual guru Bhaiyyaji Maharaj had called on her too. Amid reports that Patkar’s health was deteriorating, the administration had sent teams for medical examination but in vain. A scuffle broke out when police teams moved in to remove Patkar. While the NBA said the police caned its supporters, injuring many, the administration said that policemen sustained injuries.
Patkar and five fasting supporters were taken by road from Chikhalda. While Patkar was taken to a hospital in Indore, the supporters were taken to a hospital in Dhar. A spokesman of NBA said six other protesters will continue their indefinite fast. The Supreme Court had earlier set July 31 as the deadline for eviction of occupants in the submergence zone of the Narmada valley. The court will hear the matter again on Tuesday. Chouhan tweeted that his government had completed rehabilitation as directed by the Supreme Court. An additional package of Rs 900 crore has been announced, he said. “I am a sensitive person. She and her supporters have been admitted to hospitals, not arrested,” he added.