Rs 10,000 each to SSP displaced: HC to Govt

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Jabalpur, Sep 25: The Madhya Pradesh High Court today directed the state government to provide Rs 10,000 each to displaced of Sardar Sarovar project on a petition challenging the arrest of Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar and her supporters in Barwani district recently.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice A K Patnaik and Justice Ajeet Singh, while hearing the letter petition sent by Ms Patkar from Indore Central Jail, said the government could order an inquiry into the matter and collect the above amount for distribution from guilty officials.

Besides, the High Court directed to make payment of Rs 10,000 separately to Ms Patkar towards expenses of the petition.

Senior advocates N S Kale, Abhijeet Bhaumik and Jahanvi Pandit appeared on the behalf of Ms Patkar, while Mr Samdarshi Tiwari appeared on the behalf of the government.

Earlier, the court had reserved its verdict on August 16 after viewing video-clippings presented by the administration and the petitioner.

The petitioner told the court that those displaced in thousands of villages due to the Sardar Sarovar project were fighting for their rights regarding land and property in a non-violent manner.

The petitioner stated that police not only tortured those who were agitating for their rights in Barwani on July 25 but also arrested them under section 151 of the IPC depriving them of their constitutional rights.

The petition urged the court to issue necessary directions for providing land in lieu of land and adequate compensation to the dam-affected people in light of the Supreme Court directive in this regard.

The petition also requested for a high-level inquiry and strict action against guilty officials.

Meanwhile, Ms Patkar welcomed the decision of the High Court and described it as a victory for 'satyagrahis'.

Collector S K Paul said he had not received a copy of the order.

However, if the verdict was against the government, an appeal would be filed in the Supreme Court.


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