The key activist of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), Chittaroopa Palit, was arrested by Khargone police on Thursday evening. Palit was booked under section 353, 188 and 151 CrPC and sent to jail on Thursday.
SP Khargone Amit Singh said that a case was lodged by NVDA a week ago and acting on the complaint police arrested Palit on Thursday when she was about to reach Udaypur for Jal Satyagrah.
Meanwhile, the NBA activist along with the tribals of Udaypur have started Jal Satygarh on Friday protesting against closure of Beda Dam gates and rise of dam height.
The government closed the gates of the Beda dam on August 5 due to which the water in the catchment area is continuously increasing.
"The arrest of Chittaroopa Palit is a blot on our democracy. She has been working for the rehabilitation of the oustees of upper Beda dam for last 20 years. She filed a PIL to save the tribal oustees whose lands and houses have been drowned by raising the water level of the dam without completing their rehabilitation," said Alok Agarwal, another NBA activist and AAP leader.
He further said that the government filed a false affidavit stating that only 4 houses remain in the submergence area, whereas the reality is that around 200 houses are above the present water level and they will be submerged in the rising water of the dam. On the basis of false affidavit of the government, the High Court lifted the stay granted on August 14, 2015 but it is important to note that there is no direction to fill the reservoir up to full level.
"It is well settled by the Hon'ble Supreme Court that until relief and rehabilitation (R&R) is complete there cannot be any submergence. Since rehabilitation is not complete, it is the duty of the government not to fill the reservoir until rehabilitation is complete. But instead of rehabilitating the tribal oustees they have arrested Palit, when she was going to discuss the court case and other legal strategies with the poor tribal oustees. Now everyday water is rising and it will submerge hundreds of families without rehabilitation. This only reminds us of the days of British Raj. The poor oustees are raising their voice with all of their might," Alok added.
He further said that the water level of the dam was increased from 300m to 314m. Villages like Palada, Sonud, Udaypur, and Kharava among others are affected and the villagers are suffering.