Wednesday, July 2, 2008

GAKUVED warns mining industry in Goa

Gawada, Kunbi, Velip & Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED) express shock on the charge in the statement issued by the Hon'ble Opposition Leader Shri Manohar Parrikar against our Co-ordinator of 'Mand' Shri Sebastian Rodrigues. GAKUVED strongly condemn and denies the charge levied on our O-odinator as naxalite.

In fact Shri Sebastian Rodrigues is working with and helping GAKUVED for the last four year in their activities. GAKUVED has formed a unit called 'MAND' - An Adivasi-rights Resource Centre and Shri Sebastian Rodrigues is the Co-ordinator of the same. Because the News Agencies in Goa do not take any interest in publishing our news there was a need for us to go for other media and GAKUVED has formed the blog of its own where all the information about day to day activities carried by GAKUVED is posted for the information of general public.

GAKUVED's local unit in Rivona Panchayat in Sanguem Taluka based at Colomb is involved in safeguarding and protecting their agricultural and plantation land which is threatened by mining companies. Out of total village land of 1929 hectares, 1510 hectares is under 23 mining leases granted during Colonial Portuguese regime that ended in 1961 and continued by the free Indian State. The villagers are fighting for their survival and GAKUVED is supporting their struggle over past one year. As a Co-ordinator of MAND some times Shri Sebastian Rodrigues visits the mining areas at the request of the local villagers during their protest against the illegal mining (all the mining activities in Goa are illegal) and prepares the report with photographs and publishes it on the blog. Shri Sebastian Rodrigues is never involved in any naxalite activities and members of GAKUVED always remained with him. GAKUVED never noticed Shri Sebastian Rodrigues involved in any naxal activities. It is only Mr. Manohar Parrikar's daydreaming at the instance of mining companies. In fact it is the mining companies that are involved in terrorising the villagers by employing goons and Mr. Parrikar overlooking the activities of the mining companies.

Mr. Manohar Parrikar has never helped and supported the GAKUVED Community. He has only used this community as vote bank to secure his position in Power. In 2000, when Mr. Parrikar was leading the State Government, GAKUVED has arranged a Morcha on 01-03-2000 to demand inclusion of their name in Central list of ST. On 02-03-2000 the delegates of GAKUVED tried to meet Shri Parrikar at Farmagudi to give him the Memorandum, Shri Parrikar expressed, "Bhausaheban mhaka trasan udoilo, vadea vadeani shala kadleo ani." (Dayanand Bandodkar, the first Chief Minister of Goa has put me in trouble, for he opened primary schools in different wards of villages providing education). What Shri Parrikar wanted to tell the delegates, readers you judge.

When GAKUVED was struggling to get this community included in the Central List of Scheduled Tribes his government with the help of some of our community members had tried to delete the names of GAKUVED community from the list. When the list was published in Times of India, the GAKUVED members rushed to New Delhi and met Secretary, Tribal Welfare where it was informed that at the instruction of the local BJP government the list have been changed. Then GAKUVED had filed Writ in the Parliament through the then MP Shri Ramakant Angle to include names of GAKUVED community in the Central List. Unfortunately Dhangar community was excluded from the list due to the politics of BJP Government.

In 2003 delegates of GAKUVED met him in his Chamber to inquire about implementation of Tribal Act in the State of Goa. Mr. Parrikar remarked, "Mhaka tumche Gaudea lokancho abhiman dista. Madkai majea mamalea Bhatant tumche gaude lok sogle kam sanginastana kartat and magir Mapusa majea bhatant yeun moino bhor kam kortat." (I am proud of Gawada community. They work in my uncle's plantation at Marcaim and after finishing that work, they work in my plantation at Mapusa without my knowledge for one month). By this remark Mr. Parrikar just wanted to tell that you are good in doing manual work in plantations and must continue doing that without taking education and Mr. Parrikar will continue to enjoy the fruits of free labour for eternity.

This he has proved during his reign as CM by raising tution fees in all the professional colleges and made it economically beyond reach for the general members of the GAKUVED and other backward class to take admissions in professional colleges. Because the general members of the GAKUVED and OBC cannot think of the fees when they are half fed.

In another incident as CM, Mr. Parrikar has manipulated Population Survey of ST community getting drastically reduced figures of Gawadas, Kunbis & Velips as 12% of Goa's population. At the time of conducting population survey, GAKUVED members had objected for the way survey was conducted.

GAKUVED questions Mr. Parrikar: has he ever met the affected tribal people who are struggling to protect their livelihood? Has he ever shown them sympathy and expressed his Solidarity? The villagers of Colomb cannot think any other activity then to safeguard their livelihood, preserve their agriculture, plantations and their village. We know it is not Mr. Parrikar who is charging the villagers as naxalites but behind him is strong mining lobby.

The mining lobby has tried to break the unity of the Colomb villagers by applying all the means. The mining lobby has even tried their means to dissuade GAKUVED from helping and supporting the Colomb villagers by offering unexpected perquisites but failed in all the ways. And, therefore, they have brought Mr. Parrikar to make allegations against our Co-ordinator Shri Sebastian Rodrigues as naxalite and to penalize and crush our movement. But GAKUVED warns mining lobby that this effort also will be failure because neither GAKUVED nor Shri Sebastian Rodrigues is involved in any such activities. GAKUVED has started the movement within the framework of the Constitution. GAKUVED has always respected the Constitution and prevailing laws and will work within the framework of the Constitution.

GAKUVED will always remain steadfast in its support to people fighting Land and Mining issues at all cost without paying heed to either fascist Mr. Manohar Parrikar or terrorist mining industry in Goa.

Pandurang Kukalkar

You may also read protest poem against tagging as Naxalite by Pravin Sabnis here.

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