Above: Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) banner with threats to Government officialsFrancois Gautier exposes Medha Patkar's explosive agenda
Most people in India have a positive impression about Medha Patkar. Is she not the secular activist who takes on big business, fights for preserving India’s greenery and defends the poor and downtrodden?
However documents leaked to the press have revealed a very different picture: that of a scheming person, who has no qualms about breaking the law and whose sources of funding are mysterious.
In a letter written in October 2007, Dr Urmilaben Patel, member of the Congress Working Committee, wrote to Shri Pranab Mukherjee, who was then the Hon'ble Minister for External Affairs Government of India: “You are kindly aware, that Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) headed by Medha Patkar is actively involved in opposing all hydro projects in India... I have recently received material which I find quite disturbing.. I specifically draw your attention into the message of Ms. Patkar using the words of "pressurizing the UPA government", and "honouring" a Supreme Court Judge for a favourable verdict, as is explicit in the emails. It seems it is a deliberate act on the part of Ms. Patkar to defame UPA Govt. I humbly suggest that Govt, should immediately enquire how Medha Patkar managed favourable verdict and take appropriate action against Ms. Patkar for bringing disrepute to the Govt, and to the Hon'ble Supreme Court and halting the progress of the nation. I feel this issue is of national importance and deserves your personal attention”.
Nothing ever came out of it. Yet, since then, there has emerged even more disturbing evidence of NBA's nefarious collusion with foreign elements This is in the form of an exchange of confidential emails between Ms. Patkar and by Mr. Patrick McCully, Ex. Director, International Rivers Network (IRN) based at Berkeley (United States). Now who is this Patrick McCully? He is a man who cavorts with enemies of India, particularly with Angana Chatterjee, on the board of IRN, a known India baiter, who was very close to Ghulab Nabi Fai, recently arrested by the FBI for being an ISI spy. Angana Chatterjee is married to Richard Shapiro, Director and Associate Professor of the Graduate Anthropology Program at CIIS. Now both Shapiro and Chatterjee were regular at the ISI sponsored junkets. She was charged of being propped up by the ISI to launch an anti-India campaign. Further, her partner Richard Shapiro was denied entry to India in 2010 for what was reported to be his anti-India propaganda.
The material leaked is indeed quiet disturbing, particularly the exchange of emails between Ms. Patkar and Mr. Patrick McCully. Few details are given below.
1. The Honourable Supreme Court pronounced its verdict, dismissing NCCL's PIL on July 10, 2007 around 11.00 am.
2. The news is posted on The Times of India's website at 11.26 am.
3. The information along with the news item is sent to Mr. Patrick McCully from Ms. Patkar's email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 12.03 pm on July 10. i.e. within 36 minutes.
4. Mr. Patrick writes back to Ms. Patkar on July 12: "How did you manage this? Who was the second judge?"
5. Ms. Patkar replies the next day i.e. on 13th July, at 10:13 AM saying "many eminent persons wrote to the UPA government.. we dealt with the press selectively and ensured that pressure was kept all through." She also sends a soft copy of the judgment and the profiles of Justice C K Thakker and Justice Altamas Kabir.
6. Mr. Patrick reverts on July 17 congratulating Ms, Patkar, and suggesting that five or six people associated with managing "this verdict" be honoured at a function in London (UK). The mail says: "...We must honour Judge Kabir for supporting you. Please explore the possibility. He will retire in 2013 - a very useful man for your future battles." It might be mentioned that the verdict was written by hon'ble Justice Kabir.
7. On July 19, Mr. Patrick writes again suggesting that apart from advocates, individuals who supported in NBA's. defence also be included in the felicitation programme in London. To this Ms. Medha responds on July 22 "apart from advocates no one would like to be acknowledged for writing to pressurize the government. That might boomerang".
As you can see the exchange is explosive and dangerous to the extent that it shows a foreign interest and support to a group that is indulging in obstruction to Country's development.
Then, there is the question of how does Medha Patkar get her finances? Medha Patkar has the Right Livelihood Award, the Rev. MA Thomas National Human Rights Award, Amnesty International's Human Rights Defender's Award, and the BBC's Green Ribbon Award for Best International Political Campaigner. Her Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) is described as a "social movement". Presumably this social movement handles money, if only for its own expenses. But the Supreme Court has noted the NBA is not a registered entity. So, how does it bank its money? How does it account for its expenses? The NBA, which, as we have seen, has international connections, does not seem to have its own website. Foreign sources fund its support groups. But which foreign sources? Could the American Security agencies, which have no qualms about using a Richard Headley - and still shelter him from the Indian justice - covertly fund Medha Patkar? Finally, accused of faking medical certificates, fined more than once for dodging court hearings, Patkar is now accused by the Supreme Court itself of†filing a false affidavit before it.
Many of us have been wondering why nobody can touch Medha Patkar, in spite of all her misdoings, in spite of even of the Congress, the very party Medha associates herself willingly with, speaking against her? The answer is simple: she is protected by the most powerful person in India.
View Urmilaben Patel's letter to Pranab Mukherjee & Medha Patkar's email exchanges with Patrick McCully