Thursday, November 13, 2008

Text and Pictures from Colamb protest of October 12 2008

Quepem police with a strong police force on wednesday 12/11/2008 arrested around 83 villagers including a Don Bosco priest for forming unlawful Assembly and for trespassing into a mine.

Tension run high in Colomba on Wednesday when villagers of Colomba, Advalpal, Nuvem, members of Social Justice, GAKVED stopped the mining activity at Gulcan Dongor Iron ore mine of Shri Hiralal Khodidas presently operated by Sociadade Fomento for causing destruction to their paddy field, Kulagers, water, forest and the Kushawati river.

That today morning at around 10.30 am around 200 villagers including Don Bosco priest gathered on the road leading to the mine with banners placard in their hand shouting slogan marched to the mine.

When all the villagers reached at the gate of the mine they were stopped by the mine security that was stationed at the mine. The villagers directed the security to open the gate they then marched near the mining office. They called the mining officials and requested them to stop all the mining activities. Immediately the officials stoped all the mining activity and all the officials including the truck drivers, the machine operators gathered near the office. They then had a marathon discussion with the officials and brought to their notice the nuisance and the destruction caused by the operation of mining activity . They brought to the notice of the officials the different complaint filed by them before different authorities for causing destruction to their paddy field, water, forest and kushawati river. They also requested them to permanently close down the mine. The agitated villagers then marched to the mine and after inspecting the same returned to the mine office.

At around 12.00 noon Quepem P.I. Santosh Dessai along with his team arrived at the spot. When the police arrived at the spot the manager of the company directed the operators to go to the mine and start the operation. On which the agitated villagers seat on the road and stopped their vehicle.

At around 1.00 PM Quepem Executive Magistrate reached at the spot to take stock of the situation . The magistrate requested the agitating villagers to disperse but the villagers did not pay any hid.

At around 2.30 Dy.Sp. Rohidas Patre along with additional police force from Quepem, Sanguem, Curchorem and Armed police force arrived at the spot and forcibly taken into custody of around 80 villagers including Don Bosco Sulcorna Priest Fr. Mathew D’cunha and around 40 ladies. They were brought to the Quepem police station in police vehicles and arrested for forming unlawful assembly and for trespassing. .

It is learnt the while returning through the forest area two tyres of Dy. S.P. Rohidas Patre jeep got puncture due to the obstacles raised by the villagers.

When Dy.S.P. Rohidas Patre was contacted informed herald that the police has arrested 73 people out of which 34 ladies and 39 gents.

To avoid any untowards incident Quepem Sub-Divisional Magistrate Venancio Furtado, Quepem Executive Magistrate Sudin Nato , Sanguem Magistrate Amol Gaonkar, South Goa S.P. Allan D’Sa, Quepem Dy-SP. Rohidas Patre, Umesh Gaonkar, Curchorem P.I. Nilesh Rane and strong police force was stationed at the police station.

Speaking to Reporters Dr. Audoot Prabhu Dessai stated that we are fighting for our right. "The mining company is denying us our right to live by destroying our water, paddy field, Kulagers, rivers. We will not give up our fight till we die. "

Sherel D'Souza who is one of the lady arrested stated "even if the police put me under bar for days together I will give my fight against the mining. I will fight till I die. "

John Fernandes

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