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NBA activists stage symbolic protest outside SC

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 9 (UNI) A day after the Supreme Court refused to stay the construction work of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, NBA activists, led by their leader Medha Patkar, today staged a symbolic protest outside the apex court here.

The protestors claimed that yesterday's order violated the apex court's own 2000 and 2005 judgement on rehabilitation of the dam oustees.

They held the sitin from 1230 hrs to 1330 hrs in front of the Supreme Court.

''We want the people to realise that the earlier orders of the court directed that the people should be rehabilitated one year before the Dam height is raised.... but yesterday's order is in complete violation of that,'' said NBA activist Deepti.

She said people were being displaced from rural areas and when they moved to cities, they were being thrown out as encroachers.

''We have decided that we will take up all these displacement issues under the banner of the National Peoples forum,'' she added Expressing disappointment over the Supreme Court's refusal yesterday, Ms Patkar said the verdict is against the rights of the oustees.

''The Court, has forgotten its own commitments to the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award, both in letter and spirit, and also the Constitutional right to life. Thus, the Court has not played fair, nor respected the Constitution.

The Supreme Court has set June 30, 2006 as the deadline for completion of rehabilitation of the oustees.

Yesterday, a three-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal, Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice S B Sinha while adjourning the hearing till July 7, said, ''We are not inclined to stop the construction at present''.

The court, referring to the statement of Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam, said the committee appointed by the Prime Minister under the chairmanship of former Comptroller and Auditor General V K Shunglu is likely to submit its report about the status of relief and rehabilitation measures by June 19.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to take a decision on or before June 30 on whether to stop the construction or allow it to continue.


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