Patkar's detention in Orissa draws flak
By Jatindra Dash, Indo-Asian News Service
Bhubaneswar, Feb 22 (IANS)
Social activists and green campaigners have
slammed the Orissa government for detaining noted environmentalist Medha
and preventing her from addressing a public meeting.
Patkar, who spearheaded a campaign against the Narmada dam project
central and western India, was detained when she drove into the state's
Raigada district from neighbouring Andhra
Pradesh on board a bus on Thursday
She is in Orissa to address half a dozen meetings in the Raigada, Bolangir
Officials of the state motor vehicles department detained her until Friday
morning saying the
bus she was riding did not have a permit to ply in
Although the administration eventually allowed Patkar
to enter the state
Friday morning, it did not permit her to address a rally at Kashipur in
Raigada district, her supporters
Patkar was barred from addressing the rally because of security concerns, a
district police official told
IANS over the telephone.
But the environmentalist's supporters alleged the government did not want
her to speak.
is unfortunate," said Lingaraj of the farmer association Orissa
Krushak Sangathan. "The administration was aware of her
visit but, in spite
of that, officials detained her intentionally. The administration wanted to
stop her meeting in
"The way she was detained speaks of the attitude of the state government,"
remarked Jagdish Pradhan,
the head of the Sahabhagi Bikash Abhiyan, a
leading NGO working in western Orissa.
"Patkar and her vehicle were
released only after some activists informed
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. He contacted the Orissa
and sought its intervention in the matter," a Patkar supporter
--Indo-Asian News Service