Union Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh has written to the Madhya Pradesh government in support of tribal rights activist Madhuri Krishnaswamy, who was served an externment notice by the Barwani district administration a few days ago.

In a letter written to Madhya Pradesh government, Mr. Ramesh has requested Chief Secretary R. Parsuram to look into the matter personally.

“I don't know the lady or the organisation against whom the Barwani district administration has taken such stern action. But I have heard and read about her,” Mr. Ramesh wrote.

“Surely, she has every Constitutional right to do what she has been doing. It does seem to me that the district administration has taken an extreme step, albeit it is only a show-cause,” he further wrote.

Ms. Krishnaswamy, a tribal rights activist working with the Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, was served an externment notice by the Barwani district administration a few days ago for “creating an atmosphere of fear among government employees” among other reasons.

JADS, the organisation she leads and is an active worker of, is a 7,000 tribal families-strong grassroots movement working in areas of maternal and child health, rural employment and grassroots empowerment, among other things.

The externment notice has evoked strong reactions from prominent activists and academics from across the country, including Jean Dreze, Aruna Roy, Mira Shiva ad Anil Sadgopal.