New Delhi: Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar, who has been issued a show-cause notice by the Regional Passport Office (RPO), Mumbai, for allegedly not revealing criminal cases against her, said it’s an attempt to defame her.
Patkar told ThePrint Friday that she has responded to the notice.
“I was acquitted from all the cases before applying for a passport. The cases were not registered against me alone…in Barwani (a town in Madhya Pradesh) we were charged for violating Section 144 during a peaceful protest called ‘mook rally’ (silent rally). I have submitted the necessary documents to prove my case. I don’t have to hide anything,” she said.
Patkar added that people who are associated with social movements are often targeted by the authorities and the government.
Notice issued on 18 October
Mumbai’s Regional Passport Office issued the show-cause notice to the activist on 18 October, asking why her passport should not be impounded after she allegedly failed to disclose information about pending criminal cases against her. Patkar had applied for the passport on 30 March 2017.
In the notice, the RPO stated that nine criminal cases have been registered against the activist in Madhya Pradesh. Of these, three cases are registered in Barwani, one in Alirajpur and five in Khandwa. On accounts of these criminal cases, RPO had sought information from the Madhya Pradesh director general of police.
An RPO official told ThePrint, “It is an internal inquiry based on a complaint and the case has been referred to Madhya Pradesh Police. Further action will depend upon their investigation, but we cannot disclose the official conduct.”
The show-cause notice stated: “While obtaining passport bearing no…dated March 30, 2017 you have not disclosed the fact regarding pendency of above cases and obtained passport by suppression of material information.”
“In view of the same it is proposed to impound your passport bearing and any other passport if issued subsequently under section 10(3)(e) of the Passports Act 1967. You are requested to state why action should not be taken under section 12(1) of the Passports Act 1967,” the notice added.
Patkar was at the forefront of Narmada Bachao Andolan, protesting against the construction of Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat. She also contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from North-East Mumbai on Aam Aadmi Party’s ticket but lost, securing the third position after BJP’s Kirit Somaiya and NCP’s Sanjay Patil.
Patkar sat on a nine-day hunger-strike in August this year in Madhya Pradesh in support of the people displaced due to the construction of Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river.
(With PTI inputs)