Novel protests a way out to draw govt's attention


With dharnas, rallies and fasts not drawing much attention from the government, people in Madhya Pradesh have resorted to unique ways of protests that have been taken notice of and provided some relief to protestors.

In the last few months, Madhya Pradesh witnessed three different kinds of protests that drew the attention of media and the government.

A couple of months back, villagers held a 'Jal Satyagraha' against submergence of fertile land in Khandwa and Harda districts of the state by standing in neck-deep waters.     

Last month, a 'Jan Satyagraha' march from Gwalior to Delhi was taken out by the landless tribals and farmers under the banner of Ekta Parishad.

Currently, a 'Chita Satyagraha' (protest by sitting over unlit funeral pyres) is being held since the last fortnight by the farmers in Katni district of the state against proposed land acquisition for a power plant.

"The government and the local administration have become so insensitive towards democratic way of protests like dharna, holding rallies, road blockades and fasts that those staging it hardly get anything out of it, forcing them to resort to methods like 'Jal Satyagraha' and 'Chita Satyagraha'," Janata Dal(U) state unit president Govind Yadav said.

"After the affected persons staged the 'Jal Satyagraha' and media highlighted it, the government woke up and took measures to sort out the problems," Narmada Bachao Andolan's (NBA) Alok Agrawal said.

Only when people took up a novel way of protest that they were able to force the government to act on their persisting problems, Agarwal said.

Following the 'Jal Satyagraha', Madhya Pradesh government had deputed three senior ministers to talk to the protestors and solve their grievances and agreed to lower the reservoir level, as demanded by them.

However, government is yet to yield to the demands of farmers staging 'Chita Satyagraha' against their land acquisition for a power plant.

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