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Medha stable, but refuses food in hospital

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 6 (UNI) A day after police forcibly removed her to hospital, a defiant Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar refused food at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences today, continuing her protest against displacement of people by the Sardar Sarovar project.

Doctors described the condition of Ms Patkar, admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, as ''stable''. She was given some lemon water with salts in the morning, but continued to reject food.

According to the NBA, Jamsing Nargave, her fasting associate who also was taken to AIIMS, had been shifted to the general ward of the hospital after his condition improved. He too was said to have refused food and continued his protest.

Meanwhile, Union Ministers for Water Resources and Social Welfare Saifuddin Soz and Meira Kumar, besides Minister of State in the PMO Prithviraj Chavan are to visit submergence areas of the SSP tomorrow.

NBA activists alleged that officials had prepared a tour plan that does not take them to areas where the gravest violations of the Supreme Court order on rehabilitation and resettlement of the affected have taken place.

Ms Patkar, on indefinite hunger strike since March 29, was removed forcibly to AIIMS last night as her condition worsened.

Scores of NBA supporters, detained from their pavement protest site were released from Parliament Street police station at 0500 hrs today. They later restarted their agitation alongwith Bhagwatibai Patidar, who was on the 9th day of hunger strike today.

Two others from the Narmada Valley were on fast for the 4th day while Prof Kamal Mitra Chenoy and four students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University began hunger strike today as the protests continued drawing large support from civil society groups, socialist and left leaders, students and others.

In a statement, the NBA described the police action as ''barbaric''. The Government was unconcerned about Ms Patkar's health, but was getting scared of the protest, it said.

The NBA demanded the immediate release of Ms Patkar and Mr Nargave, withdrawal of cases against Ms Patkar all other activists and registration of criminal cases against the policemen who had used force against the NBA activists.

The protest by NBA has been going on here since March 17 against the decision of the Narmada Control Authority to raise the dam height from 110.64 to 122 metres. It says nearly 35,000 families would lose their source of livelihood and homes due to submergence in the dam's waters once the decision is implemented.

The NBA says the Sardar Sarovar Project has uprooted communities living in Narmada Valley for the past many centuries, it has also become financially unviable and corruption-ridden.

UNI VN PA BD2224

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