Demanding Action Against the Chindwara Administration and Immediate Release of Aradhana Bhargava

New Delhi, June 27 : On June 26th Kisan Sangharsh Samiti activists were illegally detained and arrested by the Chhindwara Police and Kisan Mahapanchayat in Bhula Mohgaon, was not allowed to take place. The Kisan Mahapanchayat was organised to oppose the forced land acquisition setting up of the Adani Power Plant and Pench Water Diversion project in the area. Earlier, Dr Sunilam and Advocate Aradhana Bhargawa were brutally attacked on May 20th by the goons of Adani and Congress in close collusion with the district administration.

On 26th early in morning when Dr. Sunilam landed at the Chindwara Station he was picked up by the police and later detained for the whole day in a guest house 65 kms away from the city. He was not given any reason whatsoever and was not allowed to proceed towards Chausara. Later in the day he was released on his personal surety but was booked under Crime No. 39/212/11 CrPC 151, 107, 116(3). Even though he was picked up by police at 5:45 am from railway station but it was shown in the report that he was picked up while making inflammatory speeches. At 6’O clock in the evening he was dropped off at the Nagpur station by the police.

At the same time, at Bhula Mohagaon the Kisan Mahapanchayat started but soon the Youth Congress members along with the local goons hired by Adani arrived and disrupted the meeting. Chindawara police which was present there in large numbers since morning got in action and arrested Advocate Aradhana Bhargava along with 44 other farmers. They are still in custody and are lodged in Chindwara jail.

The story begins in 1986 with a Government Resolution to establish a Thermal Power Project in this remote region under the aegis of M. P. Electricity Board. The land acquisition proceedings were started under the aura of State’s authority with no dialogue before or after thereof with innocent people facing the prospect of landlessness. Though government never took possession of the land and farmers continued to farm it, the land after 25 years was handed over to Adani Power without any fresh public hearing or so. Since then the struggle for control over the land has begun between the farmers and the Adani with the help of State government. Farmers have been resisting the land acquisition and even thought the final environment clearance has not been given but even then the farmers are being dislodged. There is a reign of terror in the region at this moment and administrations harassment of the activists is ongoing.

We strongly condemn these attacks and arrests and DEMAND that :

Advocate Aradhana Bhargava and 44 other farmers are released immediately and all false charges against them be withdrawn.

National Human Rights Commission send an investigation team immediately to look into the atrocities on the KSS activists in past two months and take action accordingly.

The Ministry of Environment and Forest should not grant any clearance to the Adani Power Plant since there are a number of problems with the EIA (a brief critique prepared Himanshu Thakkar was sent to the Ministry earlier)

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