On Monday (August 7), the Madhya Pradesh police forcibly removed activist Medha Patkar from a site where she was on an indefinite fast. She was protesting against the fact that the government had closed the gates of the Sardar Sarovar dam in Gujarat.

The Narmada dam is a hydraulic engineering project that has been controversial since the 1980s. On Saturday (August 5), the Centre gave permission to the Gujarat government to close the gates, and mark the project’s completion.

Patkar was fasting in Chidhalda village in Dhar district. She wants the government to give the people, who have been displaced because of the project, proper rehabilitation. She wants the 40,000 families, who have been displaced because of the project, to receive proper homes.

About 20,000 police personnel marched to the protest site, and forcibly removed Patkar from there. According to the Narmada Bachao Andolan, the police beat up protesters who opposed them.

“Police broke the stage, chairs, pandals before taking Patkar into their custody. It is shameful that they never chose to hold dialogue with us in last 12 days, but used force to stop our non-violent protest. Many have suffered physical injury,” said Madhuresh Kumar of the NBA.

The Gujarat government said it had offered to talk to Patkar. She allegedly refused, which is when the government sent the police to the protest site. Her followers tried to protect her, by forming a human barricade around her. NBA leader Rahul Yadav said that the police had wounded dozens of protesters.

The 62-year-old Patkar had founded the Narmada Bachao Andolan. It is a movement against dams built across the Narmada through Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The NBA says that families displaced by the project are yet to be rehabilitated, and those that are, do not have proper facilities. Patkar is currently in hospital in Indore, and is active on Twitter.

Also Read: Varnika Kundu’s father: We shall not back out, stand down

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.