Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Condemn Police Threats of Arrest of Adivasis in Colamb, Goa

Late evening of January 21 2008 around 7.00 pm two policemen from Quepem Police Station came over to the house of Rama Velip in Colamb village in Sanguem taluka and asked him to call up PI Mhahmal in Quepem Police Station. When Rama Velip did so from his resident landline someone who identified himself as PI Mhahmal came and took the receiver and threatened Rama Velip that if the villagers continue to march on the Fomento mines then he will arrest all the villagers. The reason he gave was that the land on which open cast iron ore mine is operated by Fomentos (TC No. 06/1949 of Hiralal Khodidas) for the purpose of International mining trade is a private land. The villagers who forced themselves on the mines yesterday January 21 2008 were trespassing and therefore liable for arrests and trial for criminal trespass. Therefore according to the Police villagers must refrain from such action in the near future.

Now after proof of all the illegalities in the mine under consideration if police wants to protect mining company then is it not acting in the private interest of the mining company i.e. Fomentos? It is indeed amazing as to how one of the few upright officers currently in the Goa Police force is getting arm twisted by the mining company. Still PI Mhahmal kept the option of denial of his action by not giving the threat directly to Rama Velip and administrating it only on the phone. This is exactly the method by which mining companies have been bulldozing public interest in favor of private mining interest. However his threats needs to be taken seriously and diagnosed accordingly.

Fomentos have the reputation of using Police force to bulldoze their will over the throats of People. Ten years ago the company did exactly the same in Cacra village of Tiswadi Taluka when it wanted to annihilate this coastal village by dumping some 50,000 tonnes of cement. Police party camped at the site and the drilling operation was going on under police patrolling. The project then was the construction of Off Stockyard and Berth (OSB). The food was being supplied regularly from the nearby Fomentos five star hotel Cidade de Goa. And police was acting entirely in private interest of the corporate against public interest. Later on Fomentos got Police to illegally arrest then convener of Cacra Nagrik Vikas Samiti (CNVS) and was beaten up at Goa Velha Police station under the supervision of PI Sammy Tavares. Detail paper in this regard was presented at recently concluded state level workshop on ‘Land, Mining and Adivasis in Goa’ in Panjim.

In Colamb too few villagers were picked few months ago and harassed at the Quepem Police Station and released without any charges. The reason is that they were protesting Fomentos mining of their village. In Cavrem village a month ago message was sent to the villagers that in case they do not let the Fomentos mine to operate then it will deploy 700 policemen and carry on the mining activity under police protection. So he we have serious series of example that lead us to believe that mining industry in general and Fomentos in particular is heading to transform Goa in to Police State. It is precisely it is because of this reason that citizens and democratic forces all over the world needs to unite against Police transforming itself from defenders of citizens in democracy to mafia in uniform of the mining company. The trend indeed is dangerous and deserves our strongest protest and condemnation. Fomentos are trying to achieve what they could not by offers of Carrots by administration of Stick. It however forgets that every action has equal and opposite reaction not only in Newtonian Physics but also in Society.

PI Mhahmal could do better to read his criminal law books again, particularly study sections 96 to 101 of Indian penal Code. That will enlighten his further on law of self defense that Colamb Adivasi villagers are actioning. People are forced to physically go and close down the mining precisely due to betrayal by Judiciary of common People of Colamb. And just because judiciary and administration is silenced by mining industry people should accept death? What you say PI Mhahmal? Will you still initiate your threat? Time will tell and we shall all be watching and witnessing your and your departments’ action in this case. Please don’t forget public interest rates higher than private interest of the mining company; public will assert its interest at any cost not withstanding your threats of arrests.

For that matter had not mining companies created and run this State of Goa as their private fiefdom for past 46 years? Surely you the answer to this PI Mhamal; State has always been an executive committee of the mining industry in Goa. And State includes Police too. PI Mhahmal as a sensible officer you must apply your common sense and think before dishing out the threats that is it not worthwhile to risk one ones life in defense of ones land and livelihood? In the case of Colamb it is their rice cultivation spaces which is their primary concern; how long people can survive on compensation offered by mining companies? Only idiots who has no love for physical work in their agriculture could survive this and there are none of them in Colamb village. So if rice is gone under the mines what is to be substitute? Mining dust perhaps! Surely you agree to this PI Mhamal. Don’t you?

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