Gomantak Times, January 13, 2009
A group of social activists held a meet yesterday to demand the immediate withdrawal of the Rs.500 crore defamation suit against anti-mining activist Sebastian Rodrigues.
They have warned to bradbase their anti-mining stir in case the Fomentos fail to comply with this demand. At the meet, the company’s vice-president (communications) Sujay Gupta came under verbal attack from almost all social activists who addressed the meet.
Reading out the resolutions adopted at the end of the meet, its president Praveen Sabnis said, it is now for the mining companies to decide if they desire an uprising in each and every village against mining activity.”
So long as Fomento fail to withdraw their defamation case against Sebastian Rodrigues, we will hold meetings in each and every village in Goa highlighting this case and against mining activity at large,” remarked Sabnis.
Some other resolutions adopted at the meeting called upon the intellectual community to participate in this activity while urging the later to visit the mining affected areas to gert a first hand account of the prevailing situation in these areas.
Terming the rampant activity as ‘Mining Terrorism’, Sabnis urged the people to witness just how mining destroys the Goan landscape and environment.
The general focus of the meet lay centred on the defamation suit filed by Gupta against Sebstian Rodrigues.
Floriano Lobo of the Goa Suraj Pary demanded a ‘Comprehensive Mining Policy’ and also wanted Gupta of Fomentos to withdraw the suit filed against Rodrigues.
General secretary of the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Pushkar Raj termed the atrocities against activists as a nationwide trend.
Environmentalist Prof. Ramesh Gawas labelled the stir as tribals v/s established people while his counterpart Rajendra Kerker said the action of Fomentos tantamount to encroaching upon the freedom of speech as enshrined in the fundamental rights of the Constitution.
Women’s activist Sabina Martins wanted a cost benefit analysis of the benefits of the mining vis-à-vis the damage to people. Sebastian Rodrigues also referred to the encroachment on the Freedom of speech by anti-mining activists.” There is ...a need to take this fight to every village until Fomento withdraws the suit,” said Rodrigues.
Others who addressed the meet included Colamb resident Rama Velip, John Fernandes and others.