Thursday, January 24, 2008

History created: Mining with Police protection in Colamb, Sanguem!

This is report MAND received yesterday January 23, 2008. We reproduce this even as same situation viz. mining with police protection and police attempsts to arrest Colamb villagers continues even on January 24, 2008.

Today January 23, 2008 is historic day in the life of India’s Goa State; People’s struggle to defend their land and agriculture has touched historic high – Goa police are providing police protection to further mining loot and mineral plunder in Sanguem Taluka’s Colamb village.

Quepem Police station has registered over 100 cases against the Colamb villagers that participated in historic march to the mine bearing TC No. 06/1949 belonging to Hiralal Khodidas and operated by Fometos.

Fomentos caused insult to the will of the Colamb villagers and Goa’s Adivasi peace loving community by deploying police force in its mine at Colamb, Sanguem and resuming the mining operation of open cast mine. Fomentos owned by businessmen Avadooth Timblo resumed its mining operation under police force. At the same time company filed criminal cases against the villagers for unlawful assembly, rioting, threats to cause death and grievous hurt, intention to break breach of peace, criminal trespass and abduction.

Today morning police began to swoop down upon the villagers with intention to arrest them. Goa’s men in Khaki’s trips to villagers’ houses reminded few of the dictatorial Salazar regimes of erstwhile Portuguese colonial State that had granted the mining leases including this one before so called Goa liberation of 1961. There was hardly any resemblance of Goa being free and progressive State today in Colamb. In fact it was more like Pakistan under emergency with four police jeeps patrolling mining site with over 50 policemen including women in police force inhaling dangerous mining dust in exchange for possibly diesel and few peanuts from Fomentos. Police were expecting the villagers to confront them today and had come with all the necessary preparation after one days rest yesterday when mine was kept closed. However it is unnecessary expenditure and burden on the State resources to provide such a large number of Police personnel for this purpose unless mining company treats Goa Police as its private security. Going by the turn of the events so far this is indeed is the case that needs urgent attention from Public who pay taxes to the State and demand accountability as to why State government is letting this show go on.

Though Police could not arrest any one so far till late night, they did show remarkable swiftness in searching the houses of the villagers; three times cops made trips to the Peoples’ houses. The police action in this case of acting against the citizens of India empowered wilh all the constitutional civil liberties and fundamental rights is indeed in sharp contrast to the way same Goa police treated the matter of murder through mine collapse of over 5 people by the mining company in Tollem, Sanguem in 2006. Police must make it public as to how many people has been charged and arrested and tried for murder? Why this case was hushed up without a single arrest? Which are the people against whom FIR has been registered? Why police are acting lethargic in arresting people in this case of Tollem Mine collapse? The answer is simple and straight forward: it is precisely because the culprit is the same: Fomento mining company. And of coarse we know the old saying ‘One who pays the bagpiper calls the tune’. Why is this state of Goa Police?

Mining industry in Goa operates its way with long chain of frauds. Take this example of Colamb itself: the chief logic of the police and the mining company is that it has got environmental clearance from the Environment ministry in Delhi. This clearance is based on the public hearing form this particular mining site that was held couple of years ago without any awareness of the same amongst public in Colamb and the affected people. And the site of this public hearing was over 30 kms away from the mining site, in Margao. This is a fraud by which Fomento mining company tricked environment ministry to give environmental clearance. It is another matter that Delhi is treating Goa as its colony for the exploitation of mineral wealth with scant respect to Peoples’ expression even in the mandatory public hearings: the case of Sarvan mining of Zantye mining company is the case in focus.

The appeal here is to the individual policemen on duty towards Fomentos: you are fortunate to have got this posting at the Colamb mining site to experience the beauty and splendor of this magnificent village. You’ll are brothers and sisters as well as citizens of this land. Would you’ll like this village to disappear from the Map of Goa? Do you like to create mass starvation, misery and hunger for people of Goa? Now that you’ll have spend day on the mine, how you’ll are feeling? Inhaling mining dust is dangerous, at least you must demand protective masks from your higher officers or your lungs will grow weaker and susceptible for tuberculosis.

Now imagine situation of the villagers in these circumstances where mining industry is on a roll, if your family was located in this situation, would you not revolt and protest? No police officer with self respect and dignity, and worth his salt would tolerate mining terrorism in Goa. This is being written only to let you know that public in Colamb does consider Police as their principal enemy. It considers mining company of Fomentos as their principal enemy simply because it is involved in such a process that will rob them of their food and shelter – the two fundamental necessities for living. This is an invitation to Goa Police to stand in Solidarity with the struggling people of Colamb and be one in their struggle for united we could shape Goa into prosperous place to live in with our agriculture and forest intact, and show mining it door ones and for all: for mining is single largest terrorist action, with central government permission or without it. It is indeed deep feeling of disgust that Goa Police is involved in protecting terrorist activity. Please detach from this immediately and take lead in dismantling this mine yourself. People of Colamb will remember Goa police of this patriotic act on their part as only model citizens can do. Surely there some highly respectable officers in Goa Police that will surely respond this call on urgent basis.

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