Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fast to condemn Colonial Mining Plunder of Goa

December 19 since 1961 observed as 'Goa Liberation Day' by the State in Goa to mark freedom from Portuguese colonial yoke through the Indian Army action "Operation Vijay". However this year in 2009 Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP) observed this day as a day of fast at Azad Maidan, Panjim. The banner that a group of 40 people held read "Stop Colonial Mining Plunder of Goa".

Citizens from various mining affected localities such as Bicholim, Advalpal, Colamb, Morpilla, and Sancorda participated. Besides citizens from other parts of Goa also joined the one day fast in solidarity. Team of around 25 students from Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work in Mumbai currently on study tour to Goa also joined people fasting in solidarity.

Speakers that addressed public meeting at the conclusion the fast came down heavily on the State in Goa, Mining companies and Government of India over the continuing sage of colonial mindset for rule in Goa's mining belt. Mining companies are engaged in aggressive assault on People and Ecology of Goa with permission from government of India's Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) while Goa government's Police force in engaged to provide protection to the mining companies and intimidate people that are involved in protest against mining invasion of their villages and towns. The political nature of rule in Goa's mining belt is Colonial.

Various speakers such as Durgadas Gaonkar of GAKUVED, Ramesh Gauns and Sebastian Rodrigues of GOAMAP condemned the decision of Goa Government to award Chief Minister's Gold Medal to PI Santos Dessai for his intimate engagements in Human Rights violations of People protesting against mining while he was posted at Quepem Police station in 2008-09. This was further evidence of Colonial nature of State in Goa that deserves all round condemnation.

Ramesh Gauns pointed out that one of the mine owners from Goa has been awarded with 'Padma Shree' - highest civilian award from Indian Government some years ago. He was referring to late Vasantrao Dempo, founder of Dempo mining company that is not only created havoc all these years in Goa but also engage in similar nefarious activities in Maharashtra and Jharkhand. Recently in June 2009 Dempos current management sold its Goa mining leases to British mining company - Vedanta for a thorough colonial plunder of Goa.

Anthony D'silva from Ambelim, Salcete also spoke about plunder of Goa's water by mining companies.

At the end of the day the gathered people vowed to launch new movement across the State of Goa to liberate Goa from the clutches of mining industry.

December 19, 2009 day long fast is a beginning of this liberation movement.

Sebastian Rodrigues

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