Friday, July 11, 2008

Govt, cops play truant at mining CD screening

The Government and the police showed their complete insensitivity towards the mining problem as both failed to remain present at the screening of documentary CDs that threw light on the trials and tribulations of the adivasi people from the mining belt.

Organised by the Gawada, Kunbi, Velip and Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED) on Thursday, the screening was an answer to the opposition Leader Manohar Parrikar's claims that the CDs contained information on how to kill police officers during mining agitations.

During the Ad-Hoc Committee meeting on Home on June 19 Parrikar had stated that Sebastian Rodrigues, co-ordinator for MAND (an initiative of GAKUVED), was a naxal instigating people to create violence during their agitations against mining.

Today, showing 10 CDs to an almost empty Menezes Braganza hall, Rodrigues said, "On June 19, Parrikar misused his position while speaking as Chaiman of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Home to make this baseless naxal charge."

GAKUVED President Durgadas Gaonkar said they had extended invitation to the Home Ministry and Inspector General of Police Kishan Kumar through a letter to attend the screening but no one turned up. Even press presence was minuscule.

Gaonkar maintained some of the CDs were shown in houses where people were afflicted by mining and was no public screening of these anywhere.

The documentaries prepared by Bindrai Institute of Research, Study and Action, Ranchi, highlighted invasion of land by mining companies in Jharkhand. Some of the documentaries, Buddha Weeps in Jadugoda, Ro Ro, Janata Curfew and Final Statement, showed adivasi rights campaign in favour of land rights of the affected people.

On June 23, at a fiery meeting at the T B Cunha Hall, here, individuals, NGOs, organisations, environmentalists, villagers and village leaders endorsed full support to Sebastian and branded Parrikar as spokesperson of the mining lobby.

The meeting had the presence of people from Advalpal, Colamb and mining affected areas in Goa.

Appeared in Herald, Panjim on 11 July 2008

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