Harda: Police Wednesday cracked down on over 100 protesters on `Jal Satyagraha`, pulling them out of water after they refused to call off their agitation, demanding land as compensation and reduction of height of the Indira Sagar dam on Narmada river.
Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Chittarupa Palit and over 100 protesters were arrested for violating prohibitory orders and other charges.
The protesters pressed their demands including land as compensation and reduction of height of the Indira Sagar dam in Khardana village in the district from 262 metres to 260.
The District Collector of Khardana, where prohibitory orders were also imposed, and senior officials urged the protesters in neck-deep water to give up their agitation, but when they refused to budge, police pulled them out.
But barely a couple of hours after their eviction, about 50 persons from villages near Khardana defied the prohibitory orders and resumed their agitation, entering the Narmada river demanding immediate resolution of their demands.
Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kantilal Bhuria and Leader of Opposition in state Assembly, Ajay Singh were also present at the protest site.
Lashing out at the police action, Congress accused the BJP government in the state of trying to crush the agitation instead of acceding to their genuine demands.
Bhuria told reporters that the BJP government cannot be allowed to deal with the protest in such a fashion.
The issue would be raised during the gherao of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan`s residence on September 20 and the Congress would also bring up the matter to the notice of the higher-ups in Delhi, Bhuria said, who also spent some time in water along with the protesters.
This came two days after a similar protest was called off in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh following an assurance from the state government that the affected villagers would be given land as compensation and the height of Omkareshwar Dam would be reduced.
Both the Omkareshwar and the Indira Sagar dams are built across the Narmada river and are part of the Indira Sagar Project.
The Narmada Bachao Andolan spearheaded the water protests to demand proper rehabilitation for land that the villagers have lost and a reduction in the dam`s water level.