Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Thousands wade in for India anti-dam protest
Villagers demand compensation they say was promised
Villagers stage a river protest against a proposed rise in water levels at the Indira Sagar Dam
- ucanews.com reporter, Bhopal
- September 3, 2013
Thousands of people in Madhya Pradesh are standing in waist-high water in an indefinite river protest against government moves to raise water levels at a nearby dam.
Villagers living close to the Indira Sagar Dam say raising the water level above 260 meters would submerge their homes and crops.
The police have arrested and released over 1,000 protesters since the protest began three days ago in an effort to disperse the crowds but more people have joined the protests.
The protest is also being staged simultaneously in Dewas, Harda and Khandwa districts.
Narmada Bachao Andolan, a social forum spearheading the protest, has been fighting for the rights of the villagers and people already displaced following the construction of the Indira Sagar Dam and other dams across the Narmada river.
NBA activist Alok Agrawal said the protest also aims to demand the state government implement a rehabilitation policy it promised to the people who were displaced.
He said the government promised two hectares of land and INR 250,000 (US$3,700) to each displaced landless family to help them re-build their lives.
The dam has displaced some 50,000 families living in 255 villages, according to Agrawal.
“Despite an elaborate rehabilitation policy, not a single farmer has got land, and farmers were brutally evicted with a pittance by way of compensation” Agrawal told ucanews.com on Tuesday.
“Thousands of lives will be ruined if water levels are raised further,” said Laxminarayan Meena, a resident of Khandwa district.
Ramvilas Rathore, whose land was completely submerged because of the dam, said his family has "no other means of survival unless the government compensates us with land and money. If not we have decided to die in the water,” he said.
The minister of state for the Narmada Valley Development Authority, Kanhaiyalal Agrawal said the government has an adequate compensation fund and will disperse it by Sept 9.
A similar protest in September last year by people displaced by the Omkareshwar dam in the same state succeeded after the government decided to grant compensation and not to raise water levels.