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Patkar ends 20-day hunger strike; asks PM to intervene

By Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 17 (UNI) Bowing to intense pressure from Narmada Bachao Andolan activists, NBA leader Medha Patkar ended her 20-day hunger strike here this evening, criticising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for not using his constitutional authority to intervene and get justice for the affected people.

''The Prime Minister must not bow down to communal and fascist forces...he must intervene and ensure justice and proper rehabilitation for the outsees. 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 Jantar Mantar here.

A frail looking Ms Patkar, who accepted a glass of juice offered by NBA activist Pinjari Bai, said the hunger strike was being called off as a new era of agitation would start now.

''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.

Coming down heavily on the UPA Government and the Prime Minister, she accused Dr Singh of succumbing to pressure from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his ''communal and fascist politics''.

''The Prime Minister and the Congress party have exhibited utter weakness in challenging the communal and criminal pressure of Gujarat politics,'' she added.

''The Prime Minister is yet to study the report of his own minister who visited the affected areas and the Additional Solicitor General has given a contrary statement in the Supreme Court,'' she said.

''The UPA government has not chosen the right path, and if it does not do so even now it will be compromising on its integrity, its Common Minimum Programme, its secular politics and its human face of development argument,'' said a spirited Ms Patkar.

She urged the Prime Minister and Congress President Sonia Gandhi to visit the affected areas to know the ground situation.

Ms Patkar's two associates Jamsingh Nargave and Bhagwatiben Patidar also ended their fast.

The NBA leader, who had been shifted to AIIMS on April 5 after her condition worsened in the wake of the hunger strike, was brought in an ambulance to Jantar Mantar where she consulted NBA activists before ending the fast.

Earlier, the Supreme Court said it will stop construction at the dam if relief and rehabilitation measures for the oustees were found inadequate by May 1.

NBA activists had been staging a sit-in here for 31 days in protest against the decision of the Narmada Control Authority to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam.

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