Activists term FIR against Medha Patkar ‘dubious’, campaign to withdraw

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(PRESS RELEASE)

MORE THAN 1,400 ACTIVISTS, ACADEMICS, CITIZENS ACROSS INDIA CALL FOR WITHDRAWAL OF DUBIOUS FIR AGAINST MEDHA PATKAR AND NARMADA ABHIYAN TRUSTEES

14th July, 2022: In response to a petition initiated by the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), more than 1,400 people from 23 + states signed up, to demand the immediate withdrawal of a dubious FIR filed against social activist Medha Patkar and 11 other trustees of Narmada Nav Nirman Abhiyan (NNNA) alleging ‘misuse of funds’ for ‘anti-national’ activities!

It is no surprise that the so-called ‘complainant’ is affiliated to the ABVP, student wing of the BJP. Expressing outrage at the vindictive actions of the Govt., solidarity has been pouring in from a large number of people’s movements, farmers and workers organizations, trade unions, national networks, campaigns and alliances across the country, in the past four days. Protests are also being held in different states.  

The signatories to the petition include activists, academics, lawyers, retired officials, independent media persons, film makers, feminists, representatives of mass organizations, trade unions, political leaders etc. such as Sr. Adv. Prashant Bhushan, Prof. Roop Rekha Verma, E A S Sarma, Admiral L Ramdas, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh, Arundhati Roy, Subhashini Ali, Bhanwar Meghwanshi, Annie Raja, Devaki Jain, Fr. Cedric Prakash, Ulka Mahajan, Holiram Terang, Rohit Prajapati, Harsing Jamre and Madhuri JADS, Kavita Kuruganti, Yogendra Yadav, Chayanika Shah, Nityanand Jayaraman, Dr. Lata PM,  Sadhana Saheli, Sujato Bhadra, Hasina Khan, Geetha Ramakrishnan, Shabnam Hashmi, Alok Shukla, Dr. Gabriele Dietrich, Anuradha Talwar, Maj. Genl. (Retd.) SG Vombatkere, CR Neelakandan, Agnes Kharshiing, Pamela Philipose, Prof. Walter Fernandes, Roma Malik, Bela Bhatia, Dr. Veena Shatrugna, Irfan Engineer, Kalyani Menon Sen, Prof. Padmaja Shaw, Henri Tiphagne, Dr. Ram Puniyani, Prof. Nandini Sundar, Dr. Sugan Baranth, Sagar Dhara, Pranab Doley, Dr. Nandita Narain, Clifton Rozario, Dr Sandeep Pandey, Kavita Srivastava, Gurtej Singh, John Dayal, Siraj Dutta, Sajaya Kakarla, Maimoona Mollah, Prof B N Reddy, Manshi Asher, Pradip Chatterjee, Himanshu Thakkar, Kaladas Deheria, Mallika Virdi, Rohini Hensman, Sanjay Kak, Eric Pinto, Prafulla Samantara, Sunita Vishwanath, Dr. Mira Shiva, Shalmali Guttal, Dr. Shaikh Gulaam Rasool, Virginia Saldanha etc. (and numerous others)

They acknowledged the work of NNNA as a welfare Trust that has only strived to support the educational, health and related activities in the dam-affected rural and adivasi regions of the Narmada valley in MP and Maharashtra. All trustees are public-spirited persons and many are oustees themselves. They also said that Narmada Bachao Andolan, has organized displacement-affected communities in the past 37 years, struggling to assert people’s constitutional rights, despite a history of state repression and vilification. The current BJP Govt. is again raking up false allegations to persecute the people’s movement and activists.

The signatories felt that the FIR against Medha Patkar and NNNA trustees is part of a continuing spree of persecution against rights defenders, civil liberties activists, fact-checkers, students etc. who have been speaking truth to power, exposing the anti-people nature of this Government and questioning the injustice being meted out to marginalized sections of our society. Condemning the vengeful actions of the BJP Government against persons working in public interest, they called for:

• Immediate withdrawal of FIR against Medha Patkar and all trustees of NNNA.

• No coercive action be undertaken by investigative and law enforcement agencies.

• Upholding the constitutional rights to organize and right to liberty of all activists who are facing state repression for their public-spirited work.

Access the full petition with list of 1400 signatories here: https://tinyurl.com/yzfh8hcn


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