Environment in Uttarakhand
Veteran environmentalist Chandi Prasad Bhat is the latest among the prominent figures to criticise the "unwarranted" action against the Uttarakhand agitation by the Uttar Pradesh police. The Chipko movement leader has called for an "earnest and open" enquiry into the police firing on busloads of Uttarakhand activists at Muzaffarnagar on October 2, when they were en route to Delhi to publicise their demand for a separate state.
The current wave of the Uttarakhand agitation was set off by the UP government's decision to implement reservations for the Backward Castes in educational institutions of northern hilly districts of the state. The interesting aspect of Bhat's stand is that he is "not against the Mandal Commission's scheme of reservations for the Backward Castes". Bhat insists that he and his followers are emphasising the environmental aspects of the agitation.
Says Bhat, "For the past 3 decades, the people of Uttarakhand have led efforts to protect the Himalayas and its resources." Bhat has also called for the establishment of a new States Reorganisation Commission that would look into similar demands in Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Vidarbha.