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Wednesday, 12 January, 2000, 05:34 GMT
Author released after dam protest

Dam protesters in Delhi in September last year


By Mahesh Pandey in Bhopal

Police in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh say they have released the celebrated author Arundhati Roy and at least 500 other anti-dam activists.

They were arrested on Tuesday morning for holding a demonstration in defiance of orders issued by the local authorities.

Hundreds of activists led by Miss Roy - author of the prize-winning book, the God of Small Things - had marched to Jalod village in the state's Khargone district. Many walked five hours to make their protest.


Arundhati Roy: Leading the high-profile protest

Jalod is one among several thousand villages facing the risk of submergence because of the construction of the Maheshwar Hydro Electric Dam.

Estimates of the number of people who took part in the march continue to vary.

Organisers say that more than 1,500 local people took part, but the police say there were less than 500.

Click here to see map

The activists were demanding the immediate stalling of further construction work at the dam, and the cancellation of building permission that was granted by the environment ministry.

The Maheshwar dam is one of 30 large dams being built on the Narmada river that has been at the centre of controversy.

The Save the Narmada Movement - which organised the march - has been demanding that the authorities stop further construction work at the dams because of what they say is its failure to address the rehabilitation needs of local people.

The organisation says that more than 60 villages will be submerged because of this dam alone, and at least 40,000 thousand people will be displaced.

The government however says that only around 20 villages face submergence, affecting about 20,000 people, most of whom they say have already been shifted to rehabilitation sites.




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See also:
01 Aug 99 |  South Asia
'Rally for the Valley'
29 Jul 99 |  South Asia
Narmada: A history of controversy
29 Jul 99 |  South Asia
Narmada: The threat to local villages
26 Jun 99 |  South Asia
Top novelist funds anti-dam campaign
23 Mar 98 |  Water Week
Sardar Sarovar dam: At what price progress?
04 Aug 99 |  South Asia
Narmada dam protest winds up

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