New Delhi, Sept 12: After a successful attempt by villagers in Khandwa to stall the government's move to raise the water level at the Omkareshwar Dam by carrying out a dramatic Jal Satyagraha where they had immersed themselves in almost neck deep water for 17 days, a similar protest method fell flat in Harda, Madhya Pradesh.
The Jal Satyagraha carried out by protestors turned tense and dramatic when they were forcibly removed from the water by policemen. They too had a similar demand to lower the water level at the Indira Sagar Dam as well as proper rehabilitation for land that they have lost. They have been carrying out this bizarre protest since last two weeks.
With the protestors expecting a similar reaction from the government as that of Khandwa protestors, they were in for a rude shock when they were forcefully evicted by the cops. Prohibitory orders were imposed in the district. A number of arrests have been made, with more arrests expected to be made.
According to reports, the television channels covering the protests were at the receiving end when the cables of the camera were cut off by the cops.
The protestors are demanding that the water level at the Indira Sagar Dam be reduced to 260 meters. The government plans to raise the level to 262 meters and more that could submerge as many as 19 villages. The worrying part is that three villages have already been submerged.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan spoke on the Harda agitation, "Some decisions are taken on the humanitarian ground but we will not compromise on the issue of water and electricity for the state."
Protesting the government's apathy towards the agitation, the Narmada Bachao Andolan is planning to move court.