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Medha Patkar, others on hunger strike in MP removed from protest site

Source: PTI
Last updated on: August 08, 2017 00:54 IST
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IMAGE: NBA leader Medha Patkar during her indefinite fast seeking proper rehabilitation of the families which would be displaced following closing of the gates of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada. Photograph: PTI Photo

Social activist Medha Patkar and other protesters were on Monday hospitalised by police on the 12th day of the indefinite fast over rehabilitation of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) oustees, even as the Madhya Pradesh government assured to look after the well-being of the displaced people.

Patkar, the leader of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, and her associates had been on a hunger strike at Chikhalda village of Madhya Pradesh's Dhar district since July 27.

"Patkar and other protesters were removed by the police from the spot as their condition deteriorated," Indore Divisional Commissioner Sanjay Dube told PTI.

Patkar has been taken to a private hospital in Indore.

"She was hospitalised because her medical report said there was danger to her life due to the fasting," Dube said, adding, "She was conscious and in a condition to speak."

The protesters, including Patkar, were taken in different ambulances and admitted to different hospitals, he said.

'Doctors advised immediate medical attention for @medhanarmada ji & her colleagues due to high ketone & sugar posing threat to their lives (sic),' chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan posted on Twitter.

Moving them to the hospital was required to ensure their well-being and long life. The authorities had to take this decision in the best interest of the protestors, he said.

'We reiterate that we have completed R&R work as per directions of Supreme Court and are committed to continuing the work wherever needed.

'As a Pratham Sevak of the state, it is my commitment to looking after the wellbeing of people of MP, particularly of displaced families,' Chouhan said, in a series of tweets.

However, Himshi Singh, an activist, claimed, "Of the 12 agitators, six, including Patkar, were taken from the protest site, while remaining six were not removed."

According to Singh, Patkar, before police took her away, said in a recorded message that the MP government had replied to her agitation by arresting all of them.

"This was their reply to a non-violent agitation on the issue. There is no space for serious dialogue in the regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

"It was a murder of Mahatma Gandhi's dreams by those who don't have faith in Babasaheb Ambedkar's constitution," Singh quoted Patkar as saying.

"The country has to decide that in future no development will take place by displacing people," Patkar said in the message.

Singh claimed that police baton-charged the protesters and dismantled the tent where Patkar was on fast.

Additional Director General of Police, Indore, Ajay Sharma said that no force was used by the policemen while taking the protestors to hospitals.

"However, some protesters reacted aggresively, resulting in injuries to some policemen," ADG Sharma said.

Divisional Commissioner Dube said some official vehicles were also damaged as some of the protesters turned violent, adding the situation at the protest site was under control.

Congress leader Ajay Singh condemned the 'lathi-charge on protesters'.

Thousands of families along the Narmada river in MP's Barwani, Dhar, Alirajpur and Khargone districts are at risk of getting displaced with the closing of gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam in neighbouring Gujarat and the resultant rise in water level in its catchment area.

The Centre recently gave the nod for closing the gates.

The water level in the catchment area reached 121.90 metres on Monday, nearing the danger mark set at 123 metres. The dam is likely to be filled to its capacity by August-end.

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