Eminent American linguist, social critic, and political activist, Noam Chomsky extended his support to the project affected people of the Narmada Valley when the indefinite fast and dharna of 100s people are underway in Narmada valley.
Signing the petition started by former IIM Kolkata professor and environmentalist Jayanta Bandopadhyay, Chomsky joins 100s of other people from different walks of life demanding justice from Prime Minister Modi for the project affected people. So far, the petition has gathered signatures from 29 countries.
The support from Chomsky comes on the third day of the indefinite fast of Medha Patkar and 12 other project affected people in the submergence village Chikkalda, on the banks of river Narmada, in Madhya Pradesh. People are on fast against the forced displacement and demanding just rehabilitation, and intimidation with 100s of armed police camping in the submergence zone. The claimed rehabilitation sites are far from habitable, with even basic amenities like drinking water missing.
The petition said, “The Supreme Court order clearly states that Resettlement and Rehabilitation of the Project Affected Families to be complete in all respects before any forcible displacement of these villages is directed. Closing of the gates is de facto a method of forcible eviction and thus, not only a barbaric act but also a disrespect of the court order.”
The petition demands a comprehensive re-survey of project affected people giving priority to rehabilitation first by following orders of the Supreme Court so that no family is evicted without rehabilitation. It also demands directions to Madhya Pradesh Govt. and authorities to provide the benefits to farmers as per the Supreme Court orders to ensure alternative livelihoods and to constitute a committee to assess the impact on environment, river and forests by submergence and also the impact in downstream flow of the river.
Chomsky said in the petition that meeting the rightful demands of the people is “essential to ensure the faith of people in non-violent, democratic and constitutional governance and struggle for their rights. I, on behalf of the people of Narmada valley, now appeal to you for immediate attention and intervention to save the people threatened by submergence.”