Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pictures from Ambaulim Lathi charge

School students squatted on road to block mining trucks from operating on December 17, 2008. The day concluded with Police Lathi Charge on Ambaulim villagers.
Adv. John Fernandes addressing the Press Conference along with other villagers on December 21, 2008 in Ambaulim. On his desk is picked of Police batons broken after the lathi charge of December 17, 2008. Adv. John has been charged with attempt to murder by Police officer at Quepem Police Station. (Above Picture is by Shaweta Anand)
Injured hand in Police Lathi Charge on December 17, 2008. This is the hand of brave Ambaulim Woman Remiz Fernandes who engaged herself in pitched battle with Goa Armed Police personnel. Police was ordered lathi Charge by Quepem Deputy Collector Vanancio Furtado.

Ambaulim villagers being taken in Police Van to Quepem Police Station. William Luis is watching out from the police van window on way to police station after the Lathi Charge.

Ambaulim Woman is being beaten up in presence of PI Santos Dessai.

PI Santos Dessai at his aggressive self against the mining protesters.

Goa Police inflicting blows on Ambaulim villagers...

Goa Police in uniform trying to push Ambaulim villager...

Tribal woman in Combat with Goa Police...

Male policemen manhandling Ambaulim Women...

Throwing one Ambaulim villager in Police Jeep...

The combat scene...

In the middle of Lathi Charge...

Vanful of Goa Police unleashed uncalled for violence on Ambaulim villagers protesting air pollution and traffic hazard to their children on road from mining trucks.

Scene moments before the Lathi Charge...

In the middle 0f heated arguments PI Santos Dessai, Vanancio Furtado (Deputy Collector) with William Luis and Adv. John Fernandes

Negotiations getting tense ...
Sebastian Rodrigues with Pictures from Ambaulim villagers

XII Annual NEST Conference Conludes in Dandeli

'Potected Areas and Heritage' was a theme of XII Annual Conference of Nature, Environment, Society and Transformations (NEST) from 22-24 December 2008 at Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka. Above picture is group photograph of the participants. (Picture by Devidas Gaonkar)

Sebastian Rodrigues

Ponda's Keri village threathened by Girish Tamba mining menace

Houses in locality of Ambade, Keri in Ponda taluka has developed cracks due to blasting of granite stone quarry.
The stone Quarry is operated in a property owned by London based Dr. Anil Dessai who is hailing from this village. He was instrumental in fighting Thapar-Du pond owned Nylon 6,6 in the decade of 1990s. It is not sure as to why he is contributing to enormous destruction of people's livelihood and drying up of water bodies in the locality.
Agitation against this quarry is 13 years old and was suppressed by physical threats to the villagers and by application of Police threats. The Public meeting convened on December 28, 2008 near Keri's Vethal temple served January 20, 2009 deadline for Girish Tamba to stop his operations forever in the village and pledged to stand up against the Goonda might of Girish Tamba.

Pictures in this posting display letters of protests of the local villagers way back in 1997. Authorities and local vested interests has been treating these villagers with utmost contempt.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Villgers of Copelabhat speaks out against State repression

That the charges leveled against us (villagers of Copelabhat ) are false, baseless, concocted and leveled just to harass and the same is being done at the instance of the mining companies by the Dy-Collector of Quepem and PI of Quepem who are their agents just to suppress the agitation cropping up against the illegalities of mining. We the villagers were discharging/fighting for our constitutional duty/right of protecting the environment as enshrined under article 51A , art.21 of the constitution of India.

We were peacefully demonstrating our right as all the authorities failed and neglected to attend to our complaint dated 7/11/2008, reminder dated 24/11/2008 and non compliance complaint dated 2/11/2008. As the authorities including the Dy-Collector office failed even to reply to our complaints we the villagers Copelabhat forced and constrained to come on the road on 27/12/2008 and there after on 17/12/2008 to highlight our grivences. The Dy-Collector of Quepem Shri Venancio Furtado has time to conduct meeting pertaining to mining companies and the truck owner ever on Sunday as conducted on 14/12/2008 but don’t have time even to reply to our complaint/to our problem.

The charges leveled by the Quepem Police under section 307 of IPC against one of our activist Adv. john Fernandes for allegedly attempting to murder ASI Arvind Nagekar by using Favda (spade) is false, baseless and concocted . The Favda(spade ) which the police claimed to have allegedly used by john was procured by the police from the garden of one Smt. Piedade Rebello. That john Fernandes being the main leader who is fighting against the illegalities of mighty mining company to suppress his voice and to sabotage the agitations in Quepem taluka that are croppingup the false baseless charges leveled against him. The Falsity can be seen from the reply filed by the police in Bail application moved in respect of Cr.No.86/08 in which the police says that John and three others are absconding from the time of Commission of offence. How can a second Cr. being Cr. No.87/08 at a later stage about attempting to murder emerge from.

That our authorities are day light liar , they cannot deliver justice to the common man. That the Dy-Collector of Quepem Shri Venancio Furtado and P.I. Santosh Dessai replying to a query raised by section of press ( Navhind Times, Herald, Gomantak Marati) claimed that there were no larthy charge on the agitators . On the other hand the Collector South Goa Shri G.P.Naik justifies larthy charge ( Times of India dated 19/12/2008). If the officer who had supervised the incident claimed that there was no larthy charge, how can a officer of collector cadre who was not at all present can justify the act? Which means our Collector also justify the act of Dy-Collector of Quepem of not replying to any of our complaint or of not attending to the problem of the villagers ?

It is totally false that the agitators first pelted stones on the police (as appeared daily Pudari dated 18/2/2008 pg.2 ) forcing the police to larthy charge. Infact when the Dy-Collector order the police to clear the road most of the agitators came out of the road and the transport start plying even 10 to 15 truck plied , it is only when we question the Dy-Collector Venancio about our demand he order larthy charge. The police brutally larthy charged the agitators even the batten of the police have been broken in which 13 villagers including aged women have been injured (we have collected 4 pieces of broken batten of the police from the spot of incident).
We question whether there is any administration in Quepem? If there is administration why they are not attending on the complaint/problem of the common man, why they are not even bother to reply? Or the mind of the administrators has been totally corroded with the mining dust and their hands have been paralyzed with the Carbon Mono Oxide released by the Mining truck?

We the villagers hereby states that the Dy-Collector of Quepem is most incompetent to head administration of Quepem and is one of the most corrupt official. Instead of doing justice to the Am Admi he is acting as a agent of the rich. We the villagers demand immediate suspension of Dy-Collector of Quepem Shri Venancio Furtado we futher demand an impartial inquiry into the entire incident taken place at Ambaulim on 17/12/2008 and punish all the officers who found guilty of Commission and omission

Sunday, December 21, 2008

South Goa Collector's defense of Ambaulim Police violence condemned

Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP) takes strong objection to the South Goa Collector G.P. Naik’s defence of lathi charge on villagers protesting in Quepem Taluka’s Ambaulim village on 17th December 2008. South Goa collector’s statement appeared in the section of press 19th December 2008 (Times of India).

GOAMAP notes with serious concern that G.P. Naik has let the office of Collector to be used and abused by mining companies to promote their own selfish interest causing tremendous hardships to the local people in number of villages in Goa. It is indeed ironies that in the land of Mahatma Gandhi – Father of Indian Nation that preached peace and non-violence our State officials like the Collector of South Goa are involved in defending violence.

The villagers of Sanguem and Quepem are involved in intense struggle against mining terror unleashed on the people and evergreen forests of Western Ghats. Collector instead of appreciating and supporting the larger interests has colluded with the dangerous mining lobby that is all out to finish off Goa’s hinterlands in quality terms – clean water sources, fertile lands, fresh air and majestic Mountains. It is indeed a tragedy that Goa is has officers of doubtful calibre in responsible positions like that of South Collector. It is indeed very sad reflection on the Goa’s Chief Minister Digambar Kamat that such people are at the helm of affairs.

Clearly South Goa Collector G.P.Naik found no merit in this letter from the villagers to act upon. However this is not the first time that he has behaved in this manner; earlier on 12th April 2008 he had threatened Colomb villagers to deploy police force to protect Fomento mining company to transport ore from Colomb in Sanguem amidst overwhelming protests from the villagers.

Collector believes that people has no right to cause inconvenience to public, how come then mining companies has right to pump in dust into peoples’ lungs and endanger school students walking on the road.

Collector’s statement “If you approach us with your problems in a systematic and dignified manner, we will deliver goods” is a superb example of hypocrisy and double talk on the part of Collector. Ambaulim villagers had served letter dated 7th November 2008 to the South Goa Collector with their hardships. Here is the content of the letter that collector overlooked to suit the nefarious interests of the mining companies:

“We, the undersigned villagers of Copelabhat by way of this complaint hereby brings to your kind notice as under:

1. That from 6/10/2008 transportation of mining ore from Cavrem, Maina and other villages via Ambaulim, Quepem road has started. That every day hundreds of mining trucks ply through our village. That all the mining trucks transporting the ore are not following the notification issued by the Directorate of Transport on 15/12/2007 and which has come into force on 01/01/2008 thereby laying guidelines for tucks transporting Mineral ore. The copy of the said notification is hereby annexed for your ready reference.

2. That as the mining trucks are loaded above the body level, the ore from the trucks get spillage on the road which causes nuisance to the two wheeler riders and other passer bys. That spillage of ore on the road is the main cause for dust pollution, which inturn causes health problems/hazards to us. We hereby kindly request you goodselfs to keep a watch on the overloading trucks and punish those who do not obeying the notification dated 15/12/07.

3. That from Ambaulim to Quepem, there are four High Schools and half a dozen primary schools in which around 3000 students study. That in the morning and in the noon that is from 7.30 AM to 8.30 AM and from 1.00 PM to 2.00 PM a number of school students who goes to attend the school passes on road and most of them goes by walking. That last year a number of accidents involving mining trucks has taken place on Quepem – Ambaulim road. The mining truck which plying on this route to have more trips drive the trucks in fast and reckless speed thereby endangering the life of people particularly of students. That in the interest of the school going students, we hereby kindly request your goodself to restrict the plying of the mining truck from 7.30 to 8.30 AM and from 1.00 PM to 2.00 PM and a notification to that effect be issued immediately.

4. We further kindly requesting your good self to act on our above relied grievances at an early date failing which we the villagers of Copelabhat shall be constrained to agitate our grievances by coming on the road and in the process any untoward incident takes place then your department shall be solely for the same.

Hope good sense will prevail and needful be done at an early date.”

South Goa collector was also served with reminder on 24th November 2008 after his office failed to respond in any manner.

“That by our complaint dated 7/11/2008 we have brought to your notice the hardship and health problems we face due to overloading of mining trucks.

Though almost 15 days has been passed since filing of the complaint your nor your subordinate office has done anything to prevent the overloading and to issue notification to prohibit the entry of mining truck between 1.00 PM and 2.00 PM and 7.30 AM to 8.30 AM from Quepem town.

That your intention to act firmly on our complaint has now constrained us and forced us to act. Now from the date of receipt of this reminder, we the villagers of Copelabhat at any movement will come on the road and any consequences that may take place, your department will be fully responsible for the same”

Clearly South Goa collector is guilty of purposefully neglecting Ambaulim villagers request and then supporting lathi charge on the villagers on 17th December 2008. GOAMAP demands immediate dismissal of South Goa Collector for his irresponsible statements in support of Police terror and mining terror combine on Ambaulim villagers.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Lawyer John Fernandes speaks out on mining inspired Police violence in Goa

Adv. John Fernandes,
r/o. H.No.229, Copelabhat,
Deao, Quepem-Goa

Detail account of the incident taken place on 17/12/2008 at Copelabhat Ambaulim..

1. That we the Villagers of Copelabhat, Deao Quepem lodge a complaint on 7/11/2008 before Dy-Collector Quepem, Collector South Goa , Executive Magistrate, Assistant Director of Transport, Director of mines and others departments stating that they are facing lot of health hazards, risk to their lives including children due to operation of mining truck. Except Additional Collector Shri Acharya who had forwarded our complaint to other authorities no officers including the Dy-Collector Quepem Shri Venancio Furtado who is head of the Sub-District had taken any cognizance on our Complaint. Not even a reply was given to us nothing.

2. On 19th of November 2008 at around 3.00 PM we around 10 villagers gheroud the Assistant Director of Transport Quepem N.D. Nagvekar and brought to his notice about the violations done by the mining truck and the nuisance caused. We asked about the action taken by him on our complaint dated 7/11/2008. On that day we also met the Dy-Collector. After that day the RTO started issuing challan for few days but the problem of overloading, over speeding continued.

3. On 24/11/2008 we submitted a reminder to the Collector South Goa,( a reply pertaining to that reminder we received from Add.Collector on 17/12/08) stating that as no action has been taken against their complaint dated 7/11/2008 at any movement they will be constrained to come on the road. It seems that based on the complaint the Dy-Collector Venancio Furtado Called a meeting of some of the noted person from Quepem and representative of mine owners on 26/11/2008 however no representatives of us were called for the said meeting. The Dy-Collector seems to have taken certain decisions at the said meeting which were not complied with and is just a paper work.

4. Accordingly that on 27/11/2008 we came on the road and blocked the road for mining truck from 8.30 AM onward. We blocked the road only for mining truck, but when the police appeared at the spot the entire traffic was got jam. At around 12.00 noon Quepem MLA shri Kavlekar appeared at the spot. That in presence of Quepem MLA , Dy-Collector Venancio Furtado assured the villagers that by 15 of December 2008 a notification will be issued regarding speed limit and prohibition of entry for mining truck during certain period of school hours. He also assured us that from 28/11/2008 no mining truck from Colomba and Sulcorna will be allowed to operate via Quepem and the Notification issued by the Director of Transport dated 15/12/2007 under No.D.Tpt/EST/1685/P.F.II/2007 will be strictly implemented. However nothing fruitful was done by the Dy-collector Shri Venancio Furtado as we have got documentary evidence to prove.

5. That on 2/12/2008 we have written a letter to the Dy-Collector Quepem, copy of which was submitted to the Collector of South Goa, Quepem MLA stating about the non compliance of assurances given to us on 27/11/2008. In the letter dated 2/12/2008 we have clearly stated that as assurances given to us on 27/12/08 are not complied with at any movement we will come on the road. The letter dated 2/12/2008 till date not replied by the Dy-Collector Quepem.

6. Accordingly on 17/12/2008 we came on the road. We blocked the road for mining truck which started at around 8.30AM . All the other traffic were moving smoothly. At around 9.00 AM Quepem police appeared at the spot . As soon as police appeared the police headed by ASI Arvind Nagekar and the truck driver forcefully tried to push the agitators even some truck driver started their truck and started moving their truck , however as the villagers were in large numbers the police and the truck drivers did not succeeded. At this movement some altercation took place between the drivers and the agitators. Two truck drivers/owner namely Evangelisto Pereira r/o. Vitholamordi, Quepem and Andrew Dias r/o. Igramol, Quepem stated if they allowed our children to come on the road they will ply the truck over them. Significantly at this movement some of the school children were infront of the truck. That at around 9.15am truck driver namely Evangelisto Pereira r/o. Vithola Mordi Quepem drove the truck of Benny Fernandes of Copelabhat the truck across the in front the house of the road goes to Our lady of Pobres Chapel and blocked the entire road which blocked continued for some time. However due to interference of police the same was cleared. That little time later one Alex Carvalho from Bindimol put his truck across the road in front of the house of Satolin Luis, Copelabhat , resulting therein the blocking of entire road. The police did not did anything to clear the blocked.

7. At around 9.30 P.I Santosh Dessai appeared at the spot followed by Quepem Mamlatdar Sudin Nato. We submitted him our leaflets containing our demand. After going through our demand he tried to convince us about the steps taken however we did not satisfied and continued our agitation. As the villagers in large number the Quepem P.I. Seems to have called additional police (armed police ). In between there was a altercation between the driver namely Evangelisto and Andrew and the women force infront of the P.I. Santosh and mamlatdar Nato for their statement of plying the truck over the children. However P.I. Santosh Pacify the Women and told the drivers to go to their side. Meanwhile some of the villagers went home.

8. At around 11.45 PM a bus load of armed police along with the Dy-Collector Venancio Furtarado appeared at the spot. Dy-Collector Venancio Furtado did not have a single word or any sort of discussion with the villagers, however directed the police to forcefully remove the agitators. Seeing the armed police most of whom were women and children the villagers started moving out of the road. Infact police have cleared the road and truck started plying the road and around 15 truck passed. In between William Luis questioned the Dy. Collector as to why the armed police has been called? After a heated discussion William got sentimental and stated that you (Dy-Collector ) is receiving payment at our cost and trying to use police force on us, upon which Dy-collector Venancio Furtado got irritated and ordered William Luis to arrest police try to arrest William Luis , I (John Fernandes) interfered and prevented the police from arresting William Luis, the truck drivers who were standing side by pushed some of the villagers on the Dy-Collector and the police . The Police then larthy charge on the agitators including school children and the aged women. I fell in the drainage . Around 5 policeman came after me and they catch hold of me however our other supporters including women rescue me for the first time. I started escaping but fell on the ground, the police then caught hold of me for the second time police tried to pull me but my supporters rescue me. I started running , that around 10 policemen followed me , the police followed me upto a distance of around 20 mts from the spot of incident. However they could not chase I escape from the clutches of the police. In the process I lost my mobile and suffered some minor injuries to my leg and hand.

9. I latter learnt police brutally larthycharge the agitators including aged women ,school children.

10. Police arrested around 7 villagers. Anthonjose Fernandes Fernandes was picked up from his Godfather house, which is at a distance of 100 mts from the spot. Anthon jose was manhandled in an inhuman manner. The last person who was arrested Franky Rebello who was pulled up by 10 policeman in a barbaric manner from a distance of around 50 mts. as he was responsible for escaping me. Apart from those arrested receiving larthy charge , injuries the following persons namely smt. Lourencina Rebello (65), Andrew Fernandes, William fernandes, John Fernandes, Smt. Remij Fernandes (50) Francisco Fernandes, Monica Fernandes, Pobre Fernandes, Soccor Fernandes, of whom some suffered severe injuries while some minor.

11. The agitators were so brutally assaulted some of the batten of the police have been broken. We have collected 4 pieces of broken battens.

12. It was latter learnt to that the police took a Forem(spade) from the garden of near by house of Piedade Rebello and latter used the same Forem(spade) to book me under section 307 of IPC that is of attempting to murder ASI Arvind Nagekar . If I (John ) was involved in an attempt to murder of a police official then why the police did not chase me and catch hold of me when 5 to 7 policemen of battalion cadre were chasing me? Are the police not competent to chase or are they unfit to be police if five policemen that is armed police could not case a ordinary citizen? This clearly shows that the charges level against me were false distorted and concocted. The motive of the police who have been engineered by the mining company/mining contractor to arrest me and to drag me by leveling false charges. But the almighty saved me. The stones which the police claim to have been pelted might have been pelted by the truck drivers.

* Is there any administration in Quepem? If there is administration why they are not even bother to attend our grievances by replying to our complaint?
* Don’t we have a right to fight for our right to life in a Democratic way? If we have a right then why the police larthy charged us?
* Are we in a Democracy or in a dictatorship of the Burocracy?
* Are the minds of the officials of Quepem have been corroded with the mining dust and their hand have been paralyzed by the Carbon mono oxide released by the mining truck? If not why they are not acting on our complaint? why they are not even bother replying to our letters/complaint?
* Are the poor people yet to be liberated from the onslaught of the rich? Is Goa yet to be liberated?
* Are the armed police reared by the Goa Government at the cost of the tax payers is meant to used against the poor inorder to protect the rich who are endangering the life particularly of the tribals?
Even if the police/state machinery is used to press our throat they will not be succeed as we are fighting for the right which will always prevail.
These questions came to my mind after the 17/11/2008 incident?
Till the time I/we are honest our every movement will succeed, I have a full faith in it.

Keep on supporting, keep on praying.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Human Rights Lawyer John Fernandes criminally charged

According to the information received today morning Goa Police has criminally charged human rights lawyer and Journalist Adv. John Fernandes working in defense of communities affected with Goa’s powerful open cast iron ore mining industry. Adv. John Fernandes has been charged with section 307 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) for Attempt to murder on 17th December 2008 at Quepem Police Station, Quepem, Goa.

He has not yet been arrested. Please call up Quepem Police station to inquire more about the case involving Adv. John Fernandes at Quepem Police Station Phone number 0832-2662253. You may cite cr. No. 87/08 and 86/08. His wife Paulina Fernandes too is charged with rioting, unlawful assembly etc along with him on the same day.

It clear indication that police at the instruction of mining industry are involved in targeting human rights defenders as well as their families with criminal cases.

Adv. John Fernandes writes for Goa’s well known English daily Herald as Quepem correspondent.

According to the message received today morning at around 11 am police appeared in Ambaulim with the spade and clicked photos. Police Inspector Santosh Dessai has alledeged in local marathi daily - Tarun Bharat issue of December 18, 2008 that Adv. John attempted to murder policemen while lathi charging the protestors against transportation of Iron Ore from the road in their village causing enormous dust pollution and traffick congestions.

You may also support Adv. John Fernandes directly at his mobile number 09822169547 or at his e-mail: joao_ferns@yahoo.com.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Thursday, December 18, 2008

GAKUVED condemns Ambaulim Police Lathi charge, Arrests

GAKUVED strongly condemns police lathi charge and arrests of the peaceful villagers of Ambaulim, Quepem on December 17, 2008. The villagers after submitting repeated memorandums to various authorities found that their demands to control mining ore transportation on deaf ears.

Villagers first submitted letters to the South Goa Collector, Deputy Collector of Quepem, Executive Magistrate of Quepem, Director of Mines, Director of transport, Assistant Director of Transport (South) in this regard on 07th November 2008 complaining about the transportation of mineral ore.

On 24th November 2008 the villagers filed reminder letter to South Goa Collector since there was no response from his office.

On 02nd December letter was filed for non-compliance of assurance given to the villagers on 27th November 2008. The copy of the same was forwarded to the Governor of Goa, Quepem MLA, Chief Secretary and Collector of South Goa for information.

In spite of written requests authorities refused to act and save the villagers from hardships caused by mining transportation. The police authorities assaulted the villagers gathered to press for their demands at Deao, Ambaulim, Quepem on the morning of December 17, 2008. In the police method of assault lathi charge was effected under the supervision of Quepem Deputy Collector Vanancio Furtado. Pitched battles were waged against the protestors that included women and school students. Women as well as children were targeted in police violence.

More over police cases to harass the protesting villagers were filed against 11 people that includes Diago Fernandes, Franky Rebello, William Luis, Fatima Fernandes, Santolin Luis, Anton Fernandes, Glad Rebello, John Fernandes, Paulina Fernandes, Succour Fernandes and William Fernandes; all residents of Ambaulim village gifted with mining dust.

Villagers were protesting for their fundamental rights in a lawful and peaceful manner when State of Goa unleashed its Police terror. Even though liberation of Goa took place 47 years ago members of GAKUVED community are still struggling for their liberation. And the struggle will continue without paying heed to police violence. Rulers of Goa have changed from white skinned to brown skinned but GAKUVED community members continue to be oppressed by the new masters. Ambaulim in Quepem is one more addition after Colamb in Sanguem.


Durgadas Gaonkar

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mining: Police Lathi Charge in Ambaulim, 7 villagers arrested

Police assaults lawyer Adv. John Fernandes
Seven School students beaten by police violence
Franky Rebello hit by Police lathi on head

In a continuing saga of Police violence on peacefully agitating anti-mining agitators Goa Police today added one more feather of shame in their kitty. Today December 17, 2008 Goa Police unleashed terror on agitating Ambaulim villagers yet again. It is indeed remarkable precurser to Goa Liberation Day - that is about to come after just couple of days on December 19 - one is remined of Notorious Portuguese Colonial Police Officer MONTEIRO.

At 8.30 am today morning Ambaulim villagers blocked road of the mining trucks at Deao. At 9.30 Quepem mamlatdar came to the spot and he accepted memorandum demanding stoppage of dust pollution and stoppage of overloaded trucks on their village road. A week ago villagers had submitted the memorandum to the authorities but they turned the blind eye on the villagers' demand as mining companies carries more weight in the eyes of the administration. Villagers were left with no option but to come out on the road.

At 11.30 am a Goa Armed Police van filled with police reached to the venue along with the Quepem dyputy collector Venancio Furtado. After some heated arguments with the Deputy collector, villagers moved away from the road. Just then, according to an eyewitness one villager told deputy collector that his children will be cursed in case he used police violence on the villagers. This allegedly infuriated the deputy collector and he used this as pretext to order police to lathi charge.

During the lathi charge process one villager Franky Rebello was hit on his head before he was arrested. 45-year-old woman Remiz Fernandes was violently drag on the road by police. Laywer Adv. John Fernandes was hit twice with lathis on his back. Police tried to arrest him on the spot but all the three police attempt to do so was foiled by the courageous women protesters who counter attacked the police and rescued Adv. John Fernandes. On one occasion police chased Adv. John Fernandes the distance of 100 meters in sprint style. Seven school students who were also protesting against mining were also violently assaulted by Police personnel.

Arrested people from the spot of lathi charge includes William Luis, Satulin Luis, Fatima Fernandes, Franky Rebello, Glen Rebello, Diego Fernandes besides Anton Jose Fernandes who was arrested from his home after the lathi charge. Police were searching people's houses to effect more arrests from Ambaulim village in Quepem Taluka when reports last came in at around 4. pm.

Terror tactics are seen as last ditch desperate attempts to silence the increasingly vociferous people of Goa. Now it is terror square - mining terror and police terror combine.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Monday, December 15, 2008

War on Terror is War on People

"War on terrorism is invariably results in war on people" warned GAKUVED President Durgadas Gaonkar. He was speaking at a meeting called by Citizens' Initiatives for Communal Harmony (CICH) in Panjim on December 06, 2008. He further narrated the saga of terrorization of tribal communities and peoples out of their village lands and livelihoods because of mining and questioned why this terror is not recognized. He also narrated recent experience of police violence on Colamb villagers when they are stood up in defence their livelihood in the form of agriculture.

At a meeting on 'Goa for Peace' organized by (CICH) at T. B. Cunha Hall on 6th December, participants were unanimous in stating that we need to look at conditions of justice in our own spaces in order to move towards peace, rather than launch a war against terrorism. The common person is deprived of strategic access to dialogue across the border, participants observed.

Participants also noted that the Government has not honoured the recommendations that its one-man inquiry report had made following the Sanvordem-Curchorem riots and questioned the seriousness of the Government in identifying the culprits involved in vandalisation of religious places in the last one year. Participants also decried the knee-jerk reactions like anti-terror laws or superficial initiatives of tightening security, which do not address the core issues that foster insecurity among people.

Guest speaker, noted film-maker Mr. Saeed Mirza emphasized that people all over want peace and that people to people dialogue is the way to achieve peace. Mr. Mirza further remarked that simplistic solutions like war and carpet bombing are being publicized by a media that is not concerned about the people as it is controlled by corporates and politicians.

Ms. Judith Almeida, a civic and consumer activist, raised fundamental questions of what constitutes security. Ms. Almeida wondered whether the deprivation of basic needs, and the lack of justice from existing mechanisms, was not terrorism. Ms. Almeida remarked that citizens are cornered on every aspect of justice by the State, virtually imposing a terrorism of sorts on the communities.

Mr. Anthony D'Silva of Ambelim remarked that the development model that is being forced upon the villages in Goa such as Ambelim is creating large scale frustration, unemployment and unrest that could lead to rebellion of the people.

Ms. Dipti Arolkar of CICH read a joint India-Pakistan people's statement urging upon the governments of India and Pakistan to take various steps including to immediately stop all hostile propaganda against each other; take joint action to curb religious extremism of all shades in both countries; continue intensified normalization of relations and peaceful resolution of all conflicts between the two countries, facilitate trade and cooperation between the two countries and in all of South Asia, to make a declaration by India and Pakistan of No First Use of atomic weapons; while welcoming the fact that the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalkot borders have been opened for trade and that the opening of the road between Kargil and Skardu is in the pipeline.

The resonating statement in the meeting was that there cannot be peace without social justice and that war on terror would only beget further terror.

This report is based on Press handout issued on behalf of CICH by Albertina Almeida and Ramesh Gauns

GAKUVED Human Rights Day 2008 Pictures

Struggling people from various parts of Goa assembled in Panjim on December 10, 2008 to observe International Human Rights Day.
Various well known dignitaries came to support the struggles of people of Goa. Here in the above picture Goa's noted writer, author of a book 'Goa: A Daughter's Story' Maria Aurora Couto seen addressing Human Rights Day gathering, Also present with her includes Capt. Lobo, Fashion Designer Wendell Rockricks, Architect Sarto Almeida, Educationist Theresa Almeida, Concerned citizen Anthony D'Silva, Columnist Jason Fernandes, Anti - SEZ campaigner Swati Kerker, Anti-mining activist Fr. Mathias D'Cunha, Goa University's Dr.Bikram Dasgupta, GAKUVED president Durgadas Gaonkar, and Environmentalist Dr. Claude Alvares. They pledged their support to the Colamb villagers fighting Fomento mining terror. Later on they called upon Goa IGP at Police Headquarters and handed over formal complaint of human Rights rights violations by Goa Police specially PI Santosh Dessai attached to Quepem Police Station. They demanded action against him. IGP assured to take cognizance of the complaint and initiate action. They also met Mr. J.P Singh, Secretary (Home), Government of Goa and handed him the copy of the complaint and also documentaion of Human Rights violation by Goa Police during the past 13 months in Goa's mining belt.
GAKUVED President Durgadas Gaonkar addressing the Press conference on the Human rights day. Dignitaries sitting besides him - Dr. Claude Alvares, Maria Aurora Couto, Rama Velip and Wendell Rodricks also addressed the press conference. Theresa Almeida and Sebastian Rodrigues (not seen in the picture) also addressed the press conference. They all denounced Human Rights violations by Goa Police in State's mining belt.
Suman Dhulapkar addressed Human Rights day rally. She is involved struggle against pesticide plant - Syngenta - in her Dhulapi village in Tiswadi taluka.
Rama Velip addressing the Human rights Day gathering. He came down heavily on Goa Police for colluding with mining companies in the State of Goa. Also narrated personal experiences of Colamb people in Sanguem in facing Police terror.
GAKUVED state President Durgadas Gaonkar denounced Police atrocities in Colamb. He recounted that in 2007 GAKUVED organised Human Rights Day rally in Quepem town with a morcha on Quepem Police station.
Xavier Fernandes from Colamb underlined the need for media to be more vocal in covering issues related to mining belt in Goa.
Sebastian Rodrigues with pictures from Devidas Gaonkar

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Maina bridge collapses due to mining transportation

The side wall of the bridge over the Corca River at Maina - Quepem has collapse on Thursday December 11, 2008 due to the heavy transportation of mining truck from Colomba and Surcorna. Inspite of collapse the mining trucks continue to transport while irritated villagers blocked the road for mining truck.

Villagers informed that on Thursday December 11, 2008 morning at around 11.30 am due to transportation of heavy mining truck the side of the road near the Corca river bridge at Maina collapsed endaengering transportation by the road. The villagers further informed inspite of the collapse of the side of the bridge the mining companies continued to transport over the bridge even in the evening session. The irritated villagers then blocked the road for mining truck.

It may be recalled that as the road from Colomba Rivona side is in a dilapidated condition, the villagers stopped transportation of mining truck from the commencement of this year mining season and are determine to stop it till the hot mixing of the road is completed. Presently the work of the road at Colomba and Sulcorna is under progress. In the meantime inspite of protest from the villagers of Quepem the mining companies were transporting ore from Sulcorna, Colomba via Quepem town.

One of the elderly villagers from Maina informed that the bridge is not fit for heavy transport as its foundation is weak and presently the bridge has developed cracks. That inspite of knowing the condition of the bridge the mining companies continues to transport over it and the authorities are mute spectators. "If the transport continued then the bridge will collapse sooner or late which will cause great hardship to us" villagers warned.

The Mamlatdar of Quepem, the Quepem police and the officials of Public Works Department (PWD) department on Friday December 12, 2008 morning inspected the site.

Meanwhile the villager of Cavrem filed a complaint before the Dy-Collector of Quepem complaining that the bridge at Cavrem is very weak and due to the transportation of heavy mining truck the bridge may collapse at any moment.

John Fernandes

Diversion of Kalsa-Bhandura (Mahadayi /Mandovi) River Completed

River diversion project on the border of Karnataka-Goa

December 11, 2008

1. Karnataka has successfully diverted the west flowing Kalsa (Mahadayi) river into east flowing Malaprabha River.

2. River originates in Western Ghats on Karnataka – Goa border but flows down into Mahadayi Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa. It is not only lifeline of the Goa but also supports precious wildlife of sanctuary. Hence it won't be flowing into Goa now but into Karnataka.

3. Work of diversion of river in Karnataka was going on at very fast pace in violation of Wildlife Protection Act & Forest Conservation Act.

4. Though there are number of pending suits in Supreme Court by Govt of Goa & environmentalists from Goa & Karnataka work has continued.

5. It is one of saddest story for small state of Goa & it people in the Western Ghats…..how bigger state has forcefully stopped the river which was life line for Goa.

Shrihari Kugaji, Paryavarani Belgaum

Colamb mining: Outsourcing of Goa Police funtioning?

Is Goa Police outsourcing its functioning in Colamb mining issue? The indications are available to point to this direction. Yesterday Dececember 13, 2008 when two Colamb women active in movement against mining activities carried on by Fomentos - Milagrine Antao and Dument Antao were on marketing visit at Sanvordem market when an unknown person approached them with a photograph of young man from Colamb also active in the movement against mining - Tedoz Antao - and told them that his 'Saib' has passed on this photo to him with an order to find catch and hand him over to police. The two women then questioned the stranger about his boss and he told them that his boss is Quepem Police Inspector Santosh Desai.

The stranger told women that Quepem PI has told him that Tedoz Antao is a noted criminal involved in dacoities and money swindling. The women challenged the stranger to get his 'Saib' to their house in Colamb personally and tell them as about the dacoity and money swindling cases wherein Tedoz Antao is involved.

Actual fact of the matter is that Fomentos mining company has filed false criminal cases against him and Police team from Quepem Police station had even visited his house on November 22, 2008 to arrest him but could not do so as he was not at home.

Yesterday's questioning of Colamb women in Sanvordem market by stanger on behalf of Quepem Police is one more instance of desperate attempts by Goa Police-Fomento nexus to spread terror amongst common people by outsourcing its functions. In case anything untowards happens to anyone in Colamb everyone will hold Goa Police-Fomento nexus responsible.

On International Human Rights Day December 10, 2008 there was widespread condemnation of flagrant human rights violations by Goa Police specially by PI Santosh Dessai posted at Quepem Police Station.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Wednesday, December 10, 2008



Director-General of Police,
Police Headquarters,

Subject: Human Rights violations by Goa Police in the mining belt of Goa


We are deeply appalled by the repeated attacks by Goa police on villagers agitating against life-threatening mining operations all over Goa in the mining belt. We have come to Police Headquarters to meet with you to demand a halt to such police abuses against citizens. We strongly protest such abuses.

When you took charge of Goa Police, you announced a very important thrust area for the Goa Police. You said (and these are your own words):

"If we are able to win the hearts of the people we are paid to serve, more than half our battle is won. This can happen only if we are able to perform not only on the law & order and crime front, but also in our public dealings by our helpful and sympathetic behaviour towards people who come to us in their moment of distress. We should also have regular meetings and interactions with them and give them a sense of involvement in our work. Cases where women, children and the elderly are victims of crime should always receive our prompt attention."

Records with us show as many as 27 instances of repressive police interventions against protesting villagers and on behalf of mining companies in various parts of Goa in just one year alone. Colomba in Sanguem, Advalpal in Bicholim and Nuem, Khola in Canacona are the three villages under constant threat of police abuse (list is annexed to this memorandum).

It is widely acknowledged that mining operations not just in these villages, but in other parts of Goa as well, are being conducted without following any environmental or other norms. Government authorities stand by and watch and do nothing about people's complaints. Mining trucks kill people indiscriminately through overspeeding. In many areas, overloading is a norm: your road traffic officers simply watch as public roads and traffic deteriorate in the face of overloading.

Mining activities are destroying water sources, paddy fields, and otherwise disrupting the peaceful Goan way of life and livelihood. This is well documented in numerous studies, videos, in several discussions on the floor of the Goa Assembly and in several petitions before the High Court. Villagers are simply fighting tooth and nail to defend their agriculture and water sources.

We wish to point out to you that mining is not just threat to the villages that are opposing it in their areas but also to the entire State of Goa as the water supply to the rest of Goa largely comes from hinterland Goa that is being recklessly mined for short term gains with disastrous long term consequences.

The most flagrant human rights abuses are taking place at Colamb village in south Goa where the Fomentos – illegally mining the Hiralal Khodidas mine – are able to call upon the police on demand to harass and intimidate the protesting villagers.

On December 04, 2008 at Quepem Police Station, PI Santosh Dessai called agitating villagers and gave them a 4 day's deadline to end their agitation. If they did not relent, he said he would unleash police terror on them by mobilizing police force from all over Goa and crush the agitation in the same way the Meta Strips agitation was crushed some years ago.

The villagers were also warned that in case they persist in agitating, they will be given "Tadi Par" – a form of punishment that means literally exile – and forbidden from entering South Goa.

Two Fomento managers also were present at the meeting when PI Santosh Dessai told the villagers to compromise with the mining company and accept "sustainable mining" in Colamb.

Villagers who clearly heard this threat made by the PI include Rama Velip, Salvador Dias, Telu Dias, Xavier Fernandes, Purso Gaoncar, Arjun Velip, Chandrakant Gaonkar, Surya Gaonkar. All are willing to file affidavits in this connection, if required.

No PI can threaten an entire village community with assault and your department is duty bound to take appropriate action against him. We demand his immediate removal from Quepem.

We wish to reiterate here our firm conviction and belief that peaceful protest is a democratic right of citizens, guaranteed to them under the Constitution of India. Protest and agitation by entire communities to highlight severe grievances is a way of expressing the fact that serious harm is being caused to the village community, in this instance, by mining.

The police have no business to interfere in this form of protest adopted by the people, to attempt to curb these agitations, or to intimidate peaceful protesters by illegally threatening them or having them arrested or detained. The police are duty bound to enforce law and order. Beyond this, they have no power to adjudicate disputes or to take sides and act at the behest of mining company managements. Neither have they been given any power to decide on the legality of mining operations.

In these circumstances, we would expect the police force to report to the government that there are continuous and increasing social problems being caused by mining activities all over Goa, so that the government can take proactive measures on these issues instead of allowing the law and order situation to deteriorate further or instead of using the police force as a buffer to contain public resentment and anger against destructive mining.

Today December 10, 2008 – International Human Rights Day – we, the undersigned, urge you to immediately stop providing police security to mining companies. The primary duty of the police is to protect the life and limb of citizens at large. Police salaries are paid from the public fund and we protest the force being used to shield private mining companies from the legitimate protests that the public wishes to express against their destructive activities.


Wendell Rodricks and others

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

27 instances of recent Human Right violations in Goa's mining belt

1. December 04, 2008
Quepem Police Station, Quepem, Goa
Colomba villagers warned of Tadi Par. Served 4 days deadline by PI Santosh Desai to end agitation against Fomento mining and accept sustainable mining. If villagers don’t listen then their agitation will be crushed with heavy police force. Entire Police force from Goa will be mobilized to unleash terror on Colamb villagers. Rama Velip, Salvador Dias, Telu Dias, Xavier Fernandes, Purso Gaoncar, Arjun Velip, Chandrakant Gaonkar and Surya Gaonkar witnessed PI Santosh Dessai telling them all this in presence of two Fomento mining company officials.

2. December 01, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
Police protection provided to Fomentos to transport Iron Ore at Hiralal Khodidas mine (T.C. No. 06/1949). Police protection continues till date for transportation of Ore.

3. November 29, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
Police Protection provided to Fomento Manager en route to Quepem Police Station to file complaint against villagers after they forced stopped the mining transportation.

4. November 27, 2008
Ambaulim, Quepem
Police in riot gear clashed on streets when Ambaulim villagers blocked Iron Ore transport of Dinar Tarcar and Fomentos due to over loading and dust pollution.

5. Novemeber 22, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
Police team visited village with intention to arrest young Tedoz Antao based on the complaint filed against him by Fomento security personnel.

6. Novemeber 19, 2008
Quepem Police Station, Quepem, Goa
Warning of Tadi Par – Exile by Police – informally sent to Egyps D’Souza by PI Santos Dessai. Egyps would be debarred from entering South Goa jurisdiction.

7. November 17, 2008
Quepem Police Station, Quepem, Goa
7 villagers from Colomba, Sanguem protesting against mining invasion of their village was arrested in fabricated criminal case filed by Fomento mining company supporter Surya Naik. PI Santos Dessai began arrests by taking Egyps D’Souza into Police custody while he was moving around in Tilamol market. 8 arrested were later released on bail. The villagers are Motesh Antao, Egyps D'Souza, Dument D'Souza, Shanto Velip, Rama Velip, Telu Dias and Xavier Fernandes. They were punished with day long forced stay at Quepem Police station on the next day - November 18, 2008

8. Novemeber 12, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
86 protestor on Fomento mine T.C.No. 06/1946 were arrested and later released on bail. Fr. Mathias D’Cunha sdb from Sulcorna was abused and threatened by Fomento mining company by some unruly elements defending Fomentos. He has lodged police complaint. PI Santos Dessai was present on the site. At the police station placards of Colomba villagers were confiscated and torn apart. Police also destroyed people’s food while effecting arrests. Goa Armed Police Van and two jeeps full of Police personnel were put in action in defense of the Fomentos. One lady constable bearing badge number 6769 assaulted Colamb woman Dument D’Souza just before the arrests in the afternoon in presence of mamlatdar. Mining security staff along with the truck drivers assaulted three people while police were affecting arrest.

9. November 13, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
Police night patrolling in the village with three police Jeeps began. Police night patrolling continues till date.

10. October 11, 2008
Maina, Quepem
Eight protestors were beaten up by goons of the mining industry in the presence of police personnel headed by PI Santos Dessai and protestors arrested and sent to jail. 85 year old Dora De Souza too was arrested while she with a group of protestors chained herself on the road carrying iron ore away from the mine. She along with other 3 women were sent to Aguada Jail. Zilla Parishad member Subhas Phaldessai led the attack on protestors at Dinar Tarcar Mine. PI Santos Dessai remained passive observer during this time. Priest Mathias D’Cunha sdb too was beaten up and taken into police custody.

11. October 15, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
Police protection to Fomento mine T.C. 06/1949

12. June 05, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
Heavy police security in police arrangement as villagers observed celebrated World Environment Day

13. June 04, 2008
Porvorim, Bardez
Advalpal villagers stopped on their way to Panjim to celebrate World Environment Day and demonstration in front of Sesa Ghor. Their bus taken away to Panjim Police station.

14. May 21, 2008
Advalpal, Bicholim
Sheetal Thanekar, Surekha Santosh Gaonkar and 17 year old Sandesh Vithal Gaonkar was beaten by Sesa Goa goons at around 3.00 pm. Police case registered. Police are yet to make any arrests so far.

15. May 20, 2008
Advalpal, Bicholim
Police Protection provided to Fomento mine.

16. May 19, 2008
Advalpal, Bicholim
Criminal cases registered against 70 villagers at the behest Fomento mining company. Fomento mining company had filed police cases against following 12 Advalpal villagers Shyamsunder Naik, Sharmila Naik, Kishore Naik, Kashinath Gad, Vijay Pundloskar, Ganesh Naik, Babi Gaonkar, Suresh Gad, Shrikant Gaonkar, Manguesh Gad, Amar Shetye and Pradip Gaonkar. The cases were registered under following sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC): 143, 144, 147, 148, 323, 427, 341, 506 and 149.
Out of these 4 people were arrested namely, Shyamsunder Naik, Sharmila Naik, Kishore Naik and Kashinath Gad. Fomentos are operating Litho Ferro mining lease in Advalpal

17. May 21, 2008
Nuem, Khola, Canacona
Dempo Mine: contractor Gangesh Molu Dessai, landed at the site with around 40 police personal from Cuncolim, Margao, Maina Curtorim, Colva, IRB who were headed by Cuncolim P.I. Sidhant Shirodkar and Colva P.I. Edwin Colaco. The Canacona Execuitive Magistrate Shri Valvoikar made his presence over there. The police started clearing the obstruction which was there on the way leading to the mine. the police were stationed at the site till 4.00 PM

18. April 22, 2008
Quepem Police Station, Quepem
Fomento Manager Atul Makode Manager of Hiralal and Khodidas mine Colomba has on 22/4/2008 filed a false and distorted complaint before the Quepem police against 18 villagers of Colomba villagers.The complaint has been filed under section 143(punishment for forming an unlawful assembly) , 147( punishment for rioting) , 447(Punishment for criminal trespass) , 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint) , 506(2) (punishment for criminal intimidation) , 425 (Mischief ) , 427( Mischief causing damage to the amount of Fifty rupees) , r/w. 149 of IPC.The 18 villagers against whom the complaint has been filed includes 1.Premdas Velip, 2.Alcina Dias, 3. Agnelo D’Souza, 4. Caetan Barreto, 5. Egypt D’Souza, 6. Tilu Dias, 7. Vincent Dias, 8. Palmira Dias, 9. Dumena D’Souza,10. Bhagrati Velip, 11. Shanta Velip, 12. Kalawati Velip, 13. Chandrakant Gaonkar, 14. Vithabai Velip, 15. Concy Antao, 16. Kalidas Naik, 17. Surya Gaonkar, 18.Gavnekar

19. April 12, 2008
Margao, Salcete
South Goa Collector Gokuldas Naik threatens to deploy police force to protect Fomentos to transport Ore from Colomba.

20. March 25, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
24 villagers including women arrested while blocking transportation of Iron Ore from Fomento Mine. Police beat up villagers and snatched earrings of one woman. 16 male constables and 6 lady constables engaged to arrest 16 Women and 5 men. Women were picked up by male constables – manhandled with some women complaining missing of their gold ornaments on their bodies during the scuffle with the police on the mining site.

21. March 11, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
Police protection to Fomento Mine.

22. February 11, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
Police Protection to Fomento Mine

23. February 09, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
40 Police personnel deputed to protect Fomento mine in Colamb.

24. February 08, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
ASI P.V. Dessai attached to Quepem police station on one of the villagers – Agnelo Dias. The police jeep which was following the truck one of the police by name ASI P.V.Dessai got down from the jeep caught hold the colour of the youth shirt pulled him and then assaulted him with shoes one his private part and then pulled him into the police jeep.

25. January 23, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
Goa Police protection to Fomento mine.

26. January 21, 2008
Colomba, Sanguem
PI Mhahmal of Quepem Police station over the phone threatened Rama Velip that if the villagers continue to march on the Fomento mines then he will arrest all the villagers.

27. November 20, 2007
Colomba, Sanguem
A group of 8 Policemen came in plain clothes at 6 pm and began threatening the villagers. They were searching Agnelo D'Souza, one of the villagers in forefront of protest against mining threatening to gobble up Colamb village. He had protested overvhelmingly during Novemeber 18 2007 gram Sabha of the Rivona village panchayat and sought resulation seeking to ban further mining activity in Colamb.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pictures from rally against Corporate crimes

Torch of protest was lit on December 03, 2008 at Dulapi Santeri Temple to symbolically begin the protest rally on the occasion of Global Day of Action against Corporate crimes. On this day in 1984 Union Carbide factory in Bhopal leaked poisonous chemicals in the air that left over 26,000 people dead and still counting...
Questions were raised on the fate of hazardous chemical plants in Goa. One such plant under public scrutiny is Syngenta localed at Corlim Panchayat jurisdictions. Villagers came to the front gate of this factory and demanded that it be shut down as it is major hazard to the neighboring villages.

' No more Bhopal! No more Syngenta! No more Mining! Stop Pollution!' was the lead banner of the day.

Ladies took lead in the protest. Around 700 people took part in the rally.

Rally covered Corlim, Karmalim, Dhulapi and Mangado villages by walking.

Each one came with a slogan on placard and it got blasted its way in the air for every one to hear.

Close-up of the Rally vehicle decked up with protest banners.

Woman marching with her young daughter in her arms. Visible commitment for struggle.
Later on public meeting was held at a community hall in Dulapi village that shares border with Syngenta from Switzerland occupying 200 Acres of tribal land for the past 40 years - then known as Ciba of India limited. It manufactures dangerous pesticides for global consumption.
Sebastian Rodrigues with Pictures from H. Bedi

Quepem Police Inspector serves four days deadline on Colamb villagers

The following people were present on December 04, 2008 at Quepem Police Station when PI Santosh Dessai gave 4 days deadline to Colamb villagers to end their agitation. Failing which he said he would unleash police terror on them by mobilizing police force from all over Goa and crush the agitation the same way Meta Strips agitation was crushed some years ago.

They were also warned that in case they persist in agitating then they will be Tadi Par - a form of punishment that means exile - and forbidden from entering South Goa. Two Fomento managers also were there for the meeting and PI Santosh Dessai told the villagers to compromise with the mining company and accept 'sustainable mining' in Colamb.

Rama Velip, Salvador Dias, Telu Dias, Xavier Fernandes, Purso Gaoncar, Arjun Velip, Chandrakant Gaonkar and Surya Gaonkar.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Goa Forest department cannot distinguish between Forest and mine!

A delegation of villagers from Colomb village in Sanguem [ Quepem Police station jurisdiction] submitted a petition on December 02 2008 to the office of the Chief Conservator of Forests. The CCF [Shashi Kumar IFS], the CF [C.A. Reddy, IFS] and the powerful DCFs were "out of station", so it fell to the lot of Mr. Santosh Kumar,IFS, the DCF [Planning & Statistics] at the old Passport Office to receive the delegation, give it a patient hearing and direct them to submit the petition to the "Inward Clerk". The CCF is likely to return to office next week.

The delegation consisting of Rama Lavu Velip, Mathew "Motes" Antao, Dument Peter D'Souza [all veterans of arrests by Quepem Police beginning 25 March, 2007 under Dy. Collector Johnson Fernandes and thereafter under Dy. Collector Venancio Furtado and recently under Mamlatdar Matu] and others were part of the delegation of farmers affected by the illegal mining in the Titulo de Concessao of Hiralal Khodidas, allegedly without any Forest or Environmental clearance, with a case [filed by Rama, Dr. Avadhoot Prabhudesai and Goa Foundation against Fomento Group company ILPL and Goa Department of Forests and GSPCB] pending in the court of law. The villagers allege that the DCF-South is colour blind and cannot see the difference between the forest and the mine but that is compensated by a sharper sense of taste for chicken xacuti and currency.

A similar petition was to be handed to the Chairman of GSPCB and the Chief Secretary of Goa.

Mog asundi


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Police threatens Colamb Villagers

PI Santosh Desai threatened to unleash police terror on Colamb Villagers if they do not surrender to Fomentos mining loot, at Quepem police station today...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Colamb People's petition on mining

December 01, 2008


The United Farmers of Colomba,

C/o Motes Antao,

H.No. 104

Colomba, Rivona, P.O.

Sanguem, Goa - 403 705

To: The Chief Secretary, The Secretariate, Porvorim, Goa.

To: The Chief Conservator of Forests, Panaji - Goa.

To: Dy. Conservator of Forests, Margao - Goa.

RE: Illegal operation of Mine of Gogoro Ou Gulcon Dongor Mine bearing T.C.No. 06/49


This is to inform you that the Mine of Gongoro ou Gulcon Dongor Mine (M/s Hiralal Khodidas Mien) operated by Fomento bearing T.C. No. 06/49 0f Colomba, Sanguem is illegally operating and transporting the iron ore violating the show cause notice of the Goa pollution dated 04/03/2008.

The notice mentioned above in paras 5, 6 & 7 clearly states that the above mentioned mining company has to get the forest clearance but they are not doing it and escaping the law. The collector was directed to stop operations of this mine because of the violation but up to now nothing has been done. The Chief Electrical Engineer was ordered to disconnect the power supply to the mine in mention, but have not done the job.

In the High Court judgement dated 22/04/08 in para no 4 once again the respected Judges pass the same judgement whereby denying the mining company from carrying out any operation without the permission of the Forest department.

How is that the mining company still violates the Forest Conservation Act 1980? We have the right as the villagers and residents of Colomba village to protect our village and its environment. Enclosed for your kind perusal the Goa State Pollution Board show cause notice and the Judgement of the writ petition no. 136 of 2008.

Yours sincerely,


Mr. Motesh Antao


Rama Velip

Urgent letter on Colamb mining


Office conservator of Forest,
Dayanand Smruti Bldg.,
Panjim - Goa.

Dated: 02/12/2008.


The Dy. Conservator of Forests,
South Goa Division,
Margao - Goa.

Sub: Illegal operation of Mines of Gogoro Ou Gulcon Dongor Mine bearing

T.C.No.06/49. Sir, Please find enclosed herewith a Representation dated December 01, 2008 of Mr. Motesh Antao and others of the United Farmers of Colomba, of Colomba-Rivona-Sanguem, with respect to the illegal operation.

You are hereby asked to personally inspect the area in question and submit your detailed report to this office immediately. Your attention is also drawn towards para 4 of the Hon'ble High Court's Order dated 22/04/2008 in Writ Petition No. 136/2008 (copy enclosed) and take immediate necessary action as per the Order of the Court.

Yours faithfully,
(Santosh Kumar)
Dy.Conservator of Forests
I/C - CF & I/C-CCF

Encl: as above.

Copy to: The Dy. Conservator of Forests (M & E), for information and necessary action.

A chemical catastrophe looms large


PANJIM, DEC 1 (2008) The Gawada, Kunbi, Velip & Dhangar (GAKUVED) Federation and the Corlim Village Panchayat fear a tragedy like Bhopal awaits villages surrounding the Syngenta company in the Corlim Industrial Estate which they allege is handling hazardous chemicals.
A lab test report from United States-based Columbia Analytical Services Inc inferred that a total of seven chemicals were found in the air in the area. The report states that three out of seven chemicals were found in levels above the safe levels prescribed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency or any other statutory regulations prescribed in the United States.

It further states that out of the seven chemicals found six of them target the central nervous system and eyes, five of these target the respiratory system and skin, three target the kidneys and one targets the peripheral nervous system, cardiovascular system, reproductive system, gastrointestinal system and blood.

The report says that the sample for the test was taken in Zorcatar at about 200 metres north from the Syngenta factory and about 50 metres from the Cumbharjua canal. At the time, there was a sweet, pungent, mint-like odour that caused throat irritation and heaviness in the head, it states further.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, GAKUVED President Durgadas Gaonkar, who resides close to the factory, said the sample was taken by a Chennai-based non governmental organization Community Environment Monitoring and sent to the US for testing.

Gaonkar said their fears had been confirmed because some people have complained of irritation in the eyes and other minor problems that could be on account of these chemicals. There could be a bigger underlying danger to the surrounding areas if there was a gas leak from the factory, he stated.

He claimed that the company had got permission from the Central Ministry on October 30, 2008, for production of five more hazardous chemicals, some of which were banned in the US and European countries.

He said on February 29, 2008 at a public hearing where Syngenta's officials, environmentalists and social activists were present villagers opposed the company's handling of dangerous chemicals. The officials had no answer when they were throw light on their disaster management plan to handle any dangerous eventuality, he stated.

Activist Sebastian Rodrigues maintained that at the February 29 public hearing the Syngenta officials were on record to state that the company wasn't manufacturing monocrotophos, a pesticide which has been derecognized by the US. He claimed the company was indeed churning out the pesticide every year.

Villagers of Corlim in association with GAKUVED and Corlim Village Panchayat would now highlight the various illegalities perpetrated by the company in a peaceful rally on December 3 at Corlim. The rally would also pay respects to the survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy.

Herald, December 02, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

Fomentos transport iron ore with police protection

Reports received from Colamb at 8.30 am in the morning says that Fomentos has began transportation of Iron Ore from Forest land from Hiralal Khodidas mine T.C. No. 06/1949. Jeep load of policemen are stationed on the mines to provide protection to the mining company since early morning today. Indigenous People are opposing the mining plans of corporate due to major negative impact on the community agriculture and water bodies.

Fomentos were stopped from carrying on mining transportation due to people's protests and litigation since January 2008. Now Fomentos have been using Police force to bulldoze Colamb villagers in several ways including implicating them in false and fabricated cases.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Agitation against Syngenta breaks out in Goa

Peoples agitation against Syngenta pesticides plant has began in Goa. Situated at Corlim village panchayat jurisdictions has been given environmental clearances for expansion of its existing facilities at Santa Monica works. Environmental Clearance order granted on October 30, 2008 by the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) in New Delhi ignore existence of tribal villages of Dulapi and Mangado bordering land occupied by Syngenta's. Existing capacity at the plant site is 8700 tonnes of pesticides. Expansion clearance will facilitate this production to 12650 tonnes per annum.

Amongst the pesticides produced and granted environmental clearance granted from expansion is notorious 'Monocrotophos' that is banned in different part of the World. The existing production of it is 1500 tonnes per annum and it Will remain the same.

Syngenta's is leading global corporate with origin in Switzerland dealing with seeds and pesticides production and marketing. It earned 1,743 US $ million in seed sales in 2006. While in 2004 it earned 6,030 US$ million in selling pesticides (Agro-chemicals) capturing 17% of the global pesticides market.

Past two gram Sabhas of Corlim village Panchayat witness vehement public protest against Syngenta expansion plans. Last Gram Sabha was not allowed to proceed ahead as the elected representatives failed to answer the Syngenta related questions raised by public. Two days ago public meeting was organised in the village to protest against the Syngenta getting expansion permissions. Yesterday group of 25 Corlim villager staged "Halla Bol" move against Goa State Pollution Control Board member secretary. The group also lodged their protests against the Additional Deputy Collector North Goa for the same reason.

Syngentas has been releasing dangerous gases in the surrounding villages causing innumerable health problems. Syngentas has also lied in during the Public Hearing held on February 29, 2008 that it does not produce Monocrotophos in its Goa site. Several individuals and organisations had lodged their strong objections to the expansion of Syngenta pesticides plant but as usual Central government has once again treated Goa as its Colony for dangerous industry to the peril of its residents and Indigenous People.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Colamb villagers stop Fomento mining transport

According to information received late last evening group of Colamb villagers have stopped Fomentos mining transportation works again. Fometos were carrying on mining trucks from the forest land. Villagers reportedly have filed complaint against the mining company for violating forest laws and transporting the ore from Forest. Several trucks were stuck inside the Hiralal Khodidas mine with lease number 06/1949 after villagers squatted on the road passing through Forest Land.

Villagers are demanding that this mine be closed down. In the meanwhile there are unconfirmed reports that Police has provided escort service to Fomento mining manager en route to Police police station to register complaint against agitating villagers many of whom are tribals depending upon agriculture.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Friday, November 28, 2008

People-Police clash over mining transport in Ambaulim, Quepem

The Quepem remained tense on Thursday November 27, 2008 when the villagers of Copelabhat, Deao, Quepem blocked the entire mining trucks operating from Maina, Cavrem, Sulcorna ,Colomba, via Quepem. The blockade which started at 8.30 am continued till 1.00 pm.

Protesting villagers clashed with police while police tried to implement the order of the Quepem Deputy Collector Venancio Furtado to arrest the large number of villagers at Ambaulim village. Police was unsuccessful in arresting any of the villagers and Deputy Collectors orders proved impotent dished out to satisfy the mining companies - mainly Fomentos and Dinar Tarcar.

It may be recalled that the villagers of Copelabhat, Deao on 7/11/2008 filed a complaint before the Collector of South Goa copy of which was forwarded to the Directorate of Mines, Dy-Collector of Quepem, Executive Magistrate of Quepem, S.P. South Goa , Dy-S.P. Quepem, Directorate of Transport, P.I. Quepem, Assistant Director of Transport Quepem. The villagers also on 24/11/2008 issued to reminder to the collector.

The villagers of Copelabhat in their Complaint stated that they are facing lot of health problems due to the transportation of mining ore from their village. They also stated in their complaint that all the mining trucks transporting the ore are not following the guideline issued by the Director of Transport vide its notification dated 15/12/08.

The complaint further states that as the mining truck are loaded above the body level which results in spillage of ore on the road thereby causing dust pollution.

Speaking to press villagers stated that all the authorities failed to act on their complaint they are forced take the law into their hand forcing the mining truck to stop from operating. The blockade which was started at around 8.30 am and continued till 1.00 pm as a result around 260 trucks were line up at a distance of around 7 kms from which extended from Copelabhat to Kirlagally . However all the other vehicle movement was as usual were continued till the arrival of the police. It is learnt that in collusion of the police the truck driver block the public transport.

At around 9.30 am the Quepem police team arrived at the spot. The Dy-Collector Venancio Furtado and the Executive Magistrate Sudin Nato reached to the site at around 10.00 am. They tried to convince the villagers but failed.

They told the Dy-Collector that their office has not taken any action against their complaint which constrained them to come on the road. They put forth their demand which include immediate issuance of notification prohibiting entry for mining truck between 1.00 pm to 2.00 pm and from 7.30 am to 8.30 am, meantime mining truck should be stopped. They also demanded stopping the transportation of the mining truck till the completion of repair work of the road which is presently underway.

That after hearing the villagers the Dy-Collector Venancio furtado showed the villagers the proceeding of the meeting called by him on 26/11/2008 initiating action against the overloading truck and to prohibit the truck from entering Quepem Municipal area as demanded by the villager. However the villagers question the Dy-Collector that such proceedings of a meeting has any force of law, to which the Dy-Collector Venancio got irritated and order the P.I. of Quepem police Station headed by Santosh Dessai to arrest the villagers.

As the agitating crowd was large at initial stage the police hesitated to arrest. However as the Dy-Collector Venancio insisted to arrested the agitators the police made an attempt arrest the villagers. In the process of arresting the villagers there was a scuffle between the villagers and the police. The police were also at the receiving end as they were not having any lady constable to arrest the women. The Police also abused the villagers. Meanwhile police force from Curchorem along with Dy-S.P. along with full armed police van arrived at the spot.

At around 11.30 am in collusion with the Quepem the truck drivers managed to block the road for other vehicle and in spite complaint to the police they did nothing to clear the obstacle raised by the truck drivers.

That around 12 noon Quepem MLA Babu Kavlekar rushed to the spot and after listening to the grievances and demand of the villagers directed Dy-Collector Venancio Furtado to stop the transportation of ore from Sulcorna and Colomba via Quepem from Friday failing which the villagers threatened to stop the transport again. The Dy-Collector assured the villager that by 15th December he will issue a notification prohibiting entry during school hours and regulating speed limit. Even in spite of the assurance the villagers stick to their demand.

The villagers then demanded to issue challen to those truck which are overloaded to which all the truck driver got irritated as most of the trucks were overloaded and were bound to get a challen.

The Quepem MLA then called the RTO Quepem and directed them to take stern action against the overloading truck. However as the truck owner constantly pleaded to excuse them today so no over loaded truck were issued challen.

At the request of Quepem MLA and the assurance of the Quepem MLA and the Dy-Collector at around 1.00 pm the villagers allowed the mining truck to go. However they threaten to come again on the road if the misdeed of the truck continue.

John Fernandes

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Heavy Police deployment in Ambaulim, Quepem

According to the reports received at 11.15 am this morning heavy police deployment in Ambaulim, Quepem, Goa has taken place. Since morning villagers of Ambaulim has blocked the public road transporting iron ore from mines operated operated by Fomentos and Dinar Tacar. Hundreds of mining trucks are stopped on the road.

Police with riot gears are set to clash with Goans standing up to mining industry's terror in Goa's hinterland. Quepem Depuy collector too is present on the venue in case lathi orders become necessary. Police now has blocked public road. So scarred are mining companies! And Goa Chief Minister is only busy playing his flute while Goa is terrorised by mining industry...a la Nero!

Of late there as been number of high visibility public actions against mining industry. On October 11 2008 in Maina, Quepem Goa Police supervised beating up of protesters by mining company thugs. Police then arrested the protesters. On November 12, 2008 same was repeated in Colamb, Sanguem when villagers and people from other parts of Goa laid siege to Fomento mines and 86 people were arrested. On November 18, 2008 protesters fighting Fomentos in Colamb were framed in criminal case and arrested.

Today's action in Ambaulim is set to become another very important page in history of Goa all out to fight mining terror in that is lasting for the past 60 years beginning from Portuguese Colonial era that ended in 1961 but legacy of exploitation continues in free India. In fact Goa's liberation struggle has began. This time liberation from mining exploitation and terror.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Fomento, Tarcar mining trucks blocked in Ambaulim, Quepem

Local people has blocked mining transportation through trucks today morning at the Ambaulim Church junction in Quepem taluka. Around 100 trucks filled with iron ore are grounded so far when the reports last came at 9.45 am. Mines in Sulcorna, Maina and Colomba operated by Fomentos and Tarcar are blocked by the residents of Ambaulim to demand close down of the operating mines till narrow roads are widened.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Police harrasment again in Colamb

As per information received at 1.00 pm today Goa Police team visited Colamb and are looking out for young man Tedoz Antao to arrest. Tedoz is one of the brave young men from Colamb resisting Fomento mining company. He was not at home when the police team arrived.

Police left message with his mother that Police are looking out for him to arrest at the earliest at the complaint filed by Fomento mining company security personnel. Thus Goa Police has reduced itself as providing security to Fomento's security.

It is clear from this fact that Goa Government is in active collusion with Fomento mining company. The question is: Why?

Sebastian Rodrigues

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fomentos dumping mining waste in Colomba Forest

Villagers of Colomba claims that Fomento mining company operating mining lease 06/1949 has began mass dumping of its overburden in to the village forest land. Forest department has so far not taken any action against Fomentos. Reasons for its inaction are yet to be know.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Fomentos to deploy Goa Police to Transport Iron Ore

According to the information received late last night, yesterday November 20, 2008 Fomentos called meeting of mining contractors at Cidade de Goa 5 star hotel in Dona Paula, Panjim. At this meeting yesterday strategy was worked out to resume transportation of iron ore that is blocked in protest by people in Colamb, Sanguem.

As a part of the strategy Goa Police would be paid Rs.26 lahks to provide security to the company while transportation of ore. Police personell are to be stationed on the road that passes throught the village and transport the Ore. Transportations contractors are told to be ready to take risk of damage to the trucks from villagers disgusted with mining. The is to come in operation within next few days - latest after the end of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Panjim.

On November 12 2008 Police force had come on the mine to defend and protect Fomentos with tear gas shells though they were not used.

Police for the past few months already lunched battle of attrition against the Colamb villagers. On October 6, 2008 Police tried to arrest villager but their attempts was foiled. November 12, 2008 Colamb villagers and other supporters totaling 86 were arrested from the mine site while protesting. On November 18, 2008 8 Colamb villagers in the forefront of the agitation were implicated in fabricated criminal case and arrested.

Quepem Police Inspector has further threatened to register more cases against the Colamb villagers if they do not surrender to Fomentos. This was told two days ago on November 19, 2008 to the Family member of Egyps D'Souza - one of the villagers in the forefront to defend the village of Colamb- after he was called at the Quepem police station.

Considering this background the new strategy of Fomentos needs to be taken seriously; for it amounts to de-facto privatization of Goa Police to unleash repression on people of Goa to protect private interest of the mining company that is destroying peoples' livelihood, agriculture and water sources including Kushavati River, a tributory of Zuari River in South Goa.

Sebastian Rodrigues