Medha Patkar and 21 activists who were arrested yesterday night by police in Chindwara in Madhya Pradesh continued to be detained as bail was denied to the activist.
The arrests followed a police clampdown on protests against the water diversion project of Pench power plant in the district. The Pench dam is to provide water for the 1300 MW power plant of the Adani Power that is coming up in the area.
All other activists of the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti which was leading the movement against the project have been arrested in the last two days.
Activists said that the judicial magistrate has refused to take the bail application of Patkar and others citing pressure from administration. Patkar has meanwhile begun a fast in the Chindwara jail.
Patkar was picked up at 10.30 pm yesterday from the house of activist advocate Aaradhana Bhargava who was earlier leading the KSS , according to her associate Madhuresh Kumar.
Patkar had arrived there yesterday morning to lead the protests by KSS against evictions required for the Pench dam and Adani power project coming up there. Patkar's arrest follows the arrest of Bhargava and two other KSS activists on November 3 .
Situation in the area has been tense with heavy police deployment the whole day as farmers, labourers and adivasis there have been protesting what they called was illegal commencement of work on the Pench project.
Patkar who heads the National Alliance for People's Movements had travelled from Indore to Chindwara to take over command of the protests as those leading it have been arrested. Bhargava was leading the samiti,s protests along with Dr Sunilam.
Sunilam has been sentenced to life imprisonment recently in a case of farmers clash and police firing where 24 farmers were killed .
According to environment and water activist Himanshu Thakkar, the Pench Water Diversion Project originally started in 1980 was conceived for irrigation for farmers but now the water is to be diverted for the Adani power plant. Though the project got clearance in 1980, the clearances lapse in five years and need to be renewed.
The Ministry of Environemnt has not renewed the clearance, but the Government was pushing the acquisition of land for the project, he said.
PWDP involves construction of a 51 meter dam on Pench river, submerging 5600 Hectares of land of 31 villages.
Acquisition process was never completed since the work didn't start and farmers continue to cultivate , says NAPM. The compensation amount has been increased following protests in the area since 2004 but farmers have resisted acquisition.