July 07, 2024

Arrest Order against Medha Patkar a Travesty of Justice: AIKS

THE All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), in a statement issued on July 3, has expressed deep concern and dismay at the punishment of five months imprisonment and a Rs 10 lakh fine against Medha Patkar in a defamation case filed by the present Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, VK Saxena. The defamation case was filed in an Ahmedabad court in 2001 and was transferred to Delhi on the direction of the Supreme Court.

VK Saxena, an official of JK Cement and the Adani group since 1990, had opposed the movement for the rehabilitation of adivasis, dalits, workers, and peasants of the 244 villages affected by the Narmada Dam. In 2000, Saxena published an advertisement against Medha Patkar and the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), and motivated articles were published against her, allegedly at his behest. He also filed a PIL against her in the Supreme Court, which was dismissed with a comment that it was a “Personal Interest Litigation,” and he was fined Rs 5000. He is also allegedly accused of a physical attack on her at a meeting at Sabarmati Ashram, which is a pending case since 2002.

It is a mockery of justice that a renowned social activist is punished on the basis of fabricated materials while corporate forces misuse their power positions. AIKS extends solidarity with Medha Patkar and calls upon the people to expose the corporate forces and the BJP, which together are suppressing the voices of people fighting to protect the livelihood rights of the poor.

AIKS condemns the successive state and union governments for failing to ensure justice to the tens of thousands of victim families affected by the Narmada project. Even after the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013 was enacted by the second UPA government under the pressure of prolonged struggles unleashed by the farmers’ movement, the rights of the farmers and rural workers in the Narmada Valley for compensation, rehabilitation, and resettlement were not ensured by the BJP-led state governments of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.

AIKS strongly demands that the BJP-led NDA government provide justice for the victims of the Narmada project by ensuring them employment and livelihood support through rehabilitation and resettlement.