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Medha, Modi end hunger strike

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New Delhi/Ahmedabad, Apr 17 (UNI) Hours after the Supreme Court today ruled that work on the Sardar Sarovar Dam should continue simultaneously with rehabilitation of the oustees, NBA leader Medha Patkar ended her 20-day hunger strike while Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi broke his 29-hour fast.

Bowing to intense pressure from Narmada Bachao Andolan activists, Ms Patkar, who accepted a glass of juice, however, said the hunger strike was being called off as a new era of agitation would start against the decision to raise the dam's height.

While allowing work on the dam on the Narmada river, the apex court had stipulated it would stop construction if relief and rehabilitation measures for the affected people were found inadequate by May one.

She also came down heavily on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for not using his constitutional authority to intervene and ensure justice for the affected people and accused Dr Singh of succumbing to pressure from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his ''communal and fascist politics''.

''The Prime Minister must not bow down to communal and fascist forces...he must intervene and ensure justice and proper rehabilitation for the oustees. The Supreme Court and the Constitution have given him the powers and now is the time to use them,'' Ms Patkar told a media conference at the Jantar Mantar in the national capital.

''In the next 15 days, we will launch a new agitation which will bring the truth to the fore and no amount of pressure will suppress it,'' she added.

Ms Patkar, who had been shifted to AIIMS a few days ago after her condition worsened in the wake of the hunger strike protesting against the Gujarat Government's decision to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, was brought in an ambulance to Jantar Mantar.

In Ahmedabad, welcoming the Supreme Court's observations that work on raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam should continue, Mr Modi called off his 51-hour fast after observing it for 29 hours, saying his objective of focusing attention on the issue had been achieved.

The Chief Minister, who broke his fast by accepting lemon juice from BJP leader Om Mathur, said '' My fast was neither a victory nor defeat.. it was only aimed at focusing on the issue of dam height.'' Mr Modi, who began his fast yesterday to protest the failure of talks with the Centre on the issue, said the SC's observations on the issue had cleared most of the confusion created by the UPA government.

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