Medha Patkar asks people to fight for land

Keonjhar: Opposing forcible acquisition of land for setting up big industries, social activist Medha Patkar on Sunday asked the people to fight for protection of their land, forests and rivers.

People particularly the tribals were the saviours of natural resources like land, forests and rivers whose fight for rights had always fructified in the past, but they were now the victims of forcible land acquisition, she said.

"We need land rights and not land acquisition," the Narmada Bachao Andolan leader told a meeting at Salisunan near here in mineral rich Keonjhar district.

While the industries were reaping huge profits, poor people were being misguided by industry hawks to part with their age-old lands at a meagre cost, she said. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, she said "We respect the law and oppose unlawful acts. But the very law which supports unlawful acts should not be obeyed."

"Now the time has come to question the chief minister and other people`s representatives as to what they have done to help the people in this respect", Patkar said adding separate places should be earmarked for industry and mining activities instead of destroying fertile lands.

She was here to express solidarity with people displaced due to a private industry in Keonjhar district.

The company had first destroyed the fertile land in Maharashtra, then Tamilnadu and now in Odisha, she alleged. "The move should be scuttled at any cost", she said adding the company would be forced to leave Keonjhar as Enron left Maharastra under public pressure.