Heavy police presence was in place in the villages from the night before the planned demonstration. In the early morning of September 1st, villagers assembled for jal satyagraha protests, entering the flood waters up to their necks and vowing to stay there indefinitely. State anxiety at negative pre-election publicity led to a heavy police response. Reinforcements were called and hundreds of villagers were arrested.
The jal satyagraha protests and subsequent arrests in Dewas, Hardwa and Khandwa districts of Madhya Pradesh this month were only the latest clash in a struggle that is perhaps post-Independence India’s longest running environmental and social movement. Protesters are angry about the flooding of their homes, land and crops by the Indira Sagar dam which they say is only to produce electricity for Gujarat.