HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on August 8 regarding the forceful arrest and detention of activists, including Ms. Medha Patkar, from the place where they were holding a peaceful protest and hunger strike in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh. Ms. Patkar is a well-known social activist working on crucial political, ecological and economic issues raised by adivasis,
Dalits, farmers, labourers and women facing injustice. She is the founder member of the 33-year-old people’s s movement in three states, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat – the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA).
Ms. Patkar and other protesters have been forcefully lifted from the dharna site on the 12th day of her fast. Along with her, five other fasting protesters were also arrested, while the remaining six continued their fast.
Nearly a 2000 strong police force was mobilised who came down heavily on the peaceful meeting. They used force to break the pandals and when women protesters tried resisting the arrest of Ms. Patkar, they were beaten up and manhandled by male policemen.
Several have suffered injury. It is shameful on the part of the government that in 12 days they never felt it good enough to start a dialogue with the people, but used force to finally arrest her and the protesters.
HRDA strongly condemns this action and demands that the NHRC must take immediate action against this police action and urges NHRC to ensure that Medha Patkar and the others’ right to peaceful protest is ensured.