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Letters

Medha Patkar & NBA Movement
This year is perhaps the most shameful World Indigenous Day that India has witnessed when one of the most popular and loved people's movement leader Medha Patkar is targeted and harassed by the insensitive power drunk BJP led Madhya Pradesh and Indian governments for fighting for the rights of the poor, marginalized and the displaced of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the river Narmada.

The intention of Modi-government was clear when in just 14 days after coming to power, they declared raising of the height of the dam to full length of 138.68 metres which was stopped by the order of the Supreme Court until all rehabilitation of the oustees are complete.

In 2017, they have constructed the dam, closed its gates and have still 'not' ensured rehabilitation of 40,000 families whose houses and farms and occupations are going to be drowned because of the dam.

The indefinite hunger strike started by Narmada Bachao Andolan on 27 July, 2017 was brutally attacked by police on its 12th day and the physically weak fasters were dragged by the police to arrest in hospitals.

Madhya Pradesh Government has no shame and completely lost any sense of propriety. Early today [August 9], Medha Patkar was discharged from Indore Bombay Hospital by the MP Police, after Habeas Corpus application was filed in the Court there. Earlier CM and administration had claimed she was hospitalized given her failing health, but then the fact was that she was denied access and was under complete arrest. Only after much pressurizing that one of our colleagues was given limited access to her.

Today after discharge from hospital in the afternoon, Medha Patkar started at 4 PM from Indore after meeting her supporters and resting a bit. All this while she continues to fast and today is the 14th day of her indefinite fast. All 9 other activists are continuing fasting under arrest at Dhar District Hospital, where limited access has been given to them.

As their vehicle was moving towards Barwani, Medha Patkar’s vehicle was intercepted by nearly 35 police vehicles and been now taken over by them. The vehicle's driver was forced out and now TI is driving them all towards Dhar to be produced in front of the SDM. They are now pressing charges for the violence they unleashed on 7th evening on the protesters where they injured 42 people. Police refused to file any FIR from the Andolan side but in their FIR have named 35 people and another 2500 unknown persons.

This is a complete travesty of justice and nothing else but every attempt at intimidating and terrorising the movement.

Take Action Now : Call or Send a message to Dhar Collector : 7694868888, Dhar SP : 9425072424, DGP Madhya Pradesh—Rishi Kumar Shukla : (0755) 2443500, 2443501, Email : [email protected], demanding them to release Medha Patkar and 9 others who have been arrested by them on false charges.
Asisranjan Sengupta, Kolkata

Agony of Kashmir
The Seventieth independence day of India and Pakistan have recently passed and Kashmir continues to witness slavery of its worst kind. In the twenty-first century, Kashmir wrings between these two nuclear powers. Both the countries enjoy immense power and important days of both the countries witness some celebrations across J&K, however, Kashmir still screams for the solution, and has fueled this legitimate demand with the blood of thousands of people. The fear, tyranny, and injustice Kashmir goes through, is altogether ignored by the global community and Indian media shows distorted image of the situation and ignores issues of the main concern. Tortures, shells, pellets and load gun bangs is normalcy in turbulence hit Kashmir but how the anticipation of independence or other important days come as a blizzard and deteriorate condition of the wounded Kashmir further, is a different chapter of the agonizing story.

A child having roasting fever gets wet cloth doses, fever immensely intensifies, and we kept giving him the same antidote. No matter, home remedies to some extent are ok, but can prove dangerous as well and no sane minds put their children in danger. Anyways what else could we do the Army Naka (checkpoint), which falls on the way, is thorny and when their mood is your doom, you will have to think twice before leading that way. Therefore, fearing the Army wreath his family members held him at home and keeping at home was not so ducky, all were anxious on his worsening condition, so were helpless.

Independence Day is widely celebrated across India, but it unleashes bursting horror on Kashmir. Kashmir witnesses barricades, blockades, frisking, and annoyance of the mighty military, prior to influx of the independence or the republic day. Mistakenly you do not dim light of your vehicle, on reaching a checkpoint or an army camp. You forgot your I-Card, or unintentionally you do not stop when a cop signals you means you are suspected and you have invited a great chance; a chance of being hurt, chance of being harassed and miserably, it can even increase to a chance, of being shot. What punishment you will be getting, depends on their mood. In the deadly dark night, danger red lights beams through your eyes, liquor aroma spreads out when an angry troop talks to you. This writer recently witnessed the Naka horror, near PHE division Baramulla, on Srinagar Baramulla highway.

In truth documentation does not matter or matter less. What you have to be careful about, is their ego and hurting that, amounts to hefty sum that you have to disburse for none of your fault. Go friendly with them, you are caught, keep stiff mood you are still caught, you do not know how to react. Cops are left unbridled to rule the streets of Kashmir and they do it the way they want. The tall claims of higher officials prove husky on the ground; their men flout every law and misuse what they are equipped with, they ignite anger among people and that leads to what everyone is acquainted with, concluding with saying that cops are the motivational forces behind every arm taker. Are not they?
Aasif Wani,
Kashmir University, Srinagar

More on Eco-Socialism
Many thanks to Frontier and to Saral Sarkar for the very useful article on eco-socialism (July 30-August 5). I will like to add a few points.

Firstly, it needs to be emphasized that the case for equality and for socialism has become much stronger after the emergence of climate change and other survival threatening issues. In the context of climate change, for example, as there are now severe constraints of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, this implies that the need for equal distribution of whatever can be produced within these limits is greater than before to meet the minimum basic needs of people.

In a situation where there are very clear limits on use of fossil fuels and overall industrial activity, clearly the need for equal distribution increases. This is one fast emerging aspect which should receive greater attention from socialists as this can increasingly help their cause in the years to come.

Secondly it is equally important to realize that as survival issues like climate change become increasingly important in the years to come, a greater commitment to peace is needed as such complex and difficult issues which need firm commitments at international, national and local levels can only be resolved in conditions of peace.

In addition it is also quite clear that apart from the destruction of human and other life caused directly by them, war, preparation and readiness for war, the massive arms industry that exists due to the possibility of war are all also massive polluters and GHG emitters. If just wars and the entire arms industry go away, the possibilities of reducing GHG emissions improve very significantly.

Hence any sincere and comprehensive eco-socialism necessarily demands a firm commitment to peace as well.

Despite all the talk of progress humanity is actually in the middle of very difficult times of survival threats and the biggest challenge is to get wide commitment for action plan based on reconciling the objectives of justice and equality with environment protection and peace.

As a very small and humble contribution to this very important task, I have written two books on this subject titled "One Decade to Protect Life—Justice, Equality and Peace Based Path for Resolving Urgent Survival Issues" and "Earth History and Next Century—A Plan to Link Reduction of GHG Emissions With Meeting the Basic Needs of All''. The ideas given above are based on these two books.
Bharat Dogra, Delhi

Frontier
Vol. 50, No.10, Sep 10 - 16, 2017