Of late there has been intense resistance to open cast iron ore, bauxite and manganese mines in
While the village groups in different parts of the State of
Amongst the methods of intimidation followed by Goa Police includes visits by secret police known as CID (Criminal Investigation Department) to the houses of villagers, calling up at odd hours in the night, verbal threats, physical violence while in custody, non-interference while protestors are attacked by mining truck owners, humiliation tactics by putting slate around the neck and photographing, filing of false cases, filing of charge sheets further the proceedings in judicial courts, threatening to ban entry into the mining villages by imposing Tadi Par, confiscating the buses used for traveling for protest marches, confiscating and tearing down of posters with slogans against mining companies, monitoring movements of villagers protesting mining industry, tapping of telephones of people opposed to mining industry, indulging in physical violence in the form of Lathi Charge against the villagers protesting mining industry, filing of criminal cases against the lawyers defending villagers opposing mining industry, refusing or ignoring complaints filed by villagers against officials of mining companies, and investigating the opponents of mining industry as ‘Naxalites’.
The paper problemitizes the role of state funded Police force and questions the partial and partisan role played Goa Police that is unbecoming of public servants and suggests ways to change behavior pattern of Goa Police as protector of ‘public’ interest and not the interest of the mining companies.
Open cast mining industry dealing with
According to the selected statistics (Amended upto March 31, 2009) on Goan Mineral Ore Exports Compiled by Goa Mineral Ore Exporters’ Association Goa’s exports particularly of
Mining companies involved in Goan Iron
Sesa Goa limited – owned by British corporate Vedanta that is listed on London stock exchange and funded by large number of banks and shareholders world over - has topped the list of exporters with total of 10,345,020 tonnes of export of Iron Ore. Out this 8,977,723 tonnes exported to
Audoot Timblo who filed defamation suit of Rs.500 crore against the author of this paper – Sebastian Rodrigues - at Calcutta High Court in December 2008 citing that his writings at GAKUVED blog www.mandgoa.blogspot.com has caused loss of business and existence of Fomento group is in danger if his writings continues has three mining companies in his kitty. The first one is Sociedade de Fomento Indl P. ltd that exported 2,348,970 tonnes to
In order to sustain this exports tirade
Number of voices has cropped up recently highlighting that all is not well with open cast mining industry in Goa and in fact it is rapidly destroying not only the backbone of the local people’s economy i.e. agriculture, but also causing irreversible ecological changes with long term unforeseen consequences. Due to inherent rush of the China boom and lure of foreign currency mining companies are in competition with each other to transform Goa into a desert – all of them working at breath neck speed. This is duly facilitated by mechanized nature of the mining industry with latest sophisticated machinery waging a war against nature and humanity in
In spite of all this however there are some village people in
II. Documenting Police Repression
The response of the State to these protests has been to deploy State police – Goa Police – to carry on series of repressive measures against those people involved in the active resistance against the mining industry. Number of people arrested and criminally charged. Police force is deployed to protect the mining industry and to demoralize the resisting people in various manner. Below is a list of Police interventions and strategic non-interventions to achieve this objective. The below documentation is based on regular spot recorded entries at www.mandgoa.blogspot.com – blog of Mand – An Adivasi-rights Resource Centre, an Initiative of Gawda, Kunbi, Velip and Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED) - after being reported by the villagers and sometimes newspapers.
- November 20, 2007
A group of 8 Policemen came in plain clothes at 6 pm and began threatening the villagers. They were searching Agnelo D'Souza, one of the villagers in forefront of protest against mining threatening to gobble up Colamb village. He had protested overwhelmingly during November 18 2007 gram Sabha of the Rivona village panchayat and sought resolution seeking to ban further mining activity in Colamb.
- January 21, 2008
Police Inspector Mhamel of Quepem Police station over the phone threatened Rama Velip that if the villagers continue to march on the Fomento mines then he will arrest all the villagers.
- January 23, 2008
Goa Police protection provided to Fomento mine in Colomba, Sanguem.
- February 08, 2008
ASI P.V. Desai attached to Quepem police station kicked one of the Colomba villagers – Agnelo Dias. The police jeep which was following the truck one of the police by name ASI P.V.Dessai got down from the jeep caught hold the top portion of shirt of the youth shirt pulled him and then assaulted him with shoes one his private parts and then pulled him into the police jeep.
- February 09, 2008
40 Police personnel deputed to protect Fomento mine in Colamb.
- February 11, 2008
Police Protection to Fomento Mine
- March 11, 2008
Police protection to Fomento Mine.
- March 25, 2008
24 villagers including women arrested while blocking transportation of
from Fomento Mine. Police beat up villagers and snatched earrings of one woman. 16 male constables and 6 lady constables engaged to arrest 16 Women and 5 men. Women were picked up by male constables – manhandled with some women complaining missing of their gold ornaments on their bodies during the scuffle with the police on the mining site. Iron Ore
- April 12, 2008
South Goa Collector Gokuldas Naik threatened Colomba villagers of deploying police force to protect Fomentos to transport Ore from the company’s Colomba mine. Collector issued this warning when a group of Colomba villagers called on him at his Margao office.
- April 22, 2008
Quepem Police Station, Quepem
Fomento Manager Atul Makode Manager of Hiralal and Khodidas mine Colomba has on 22/4/2008 filed a false and distorted complaint before the Quepem police against 18 villagers of Colomba villagers. The complaint has been filed under section 143(punishment for forming an unlawful assembly) , 147( punishment for rioting) , 447(Punishment for criminal trespass) , 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint) , 506(2) (punishment for criminal intimidation) , 425 (Mischief ) , 427( Mischief) , read with section 149 (Liable for prosecution of common object). All the sections applied are of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – another colonial law, this time by British applied upheld the mining trade in
Goastarted during Portuguese colonial rule. There can be no greater evidence that Goa is de facto living in Colonial regime of State in . The villagers have revolted not just against mining by against Colonial system in operation benefiting few elites in India and abroad. The 18 villagers against whom the complaint has been filed includes 1.Premdas Velip, 2.Alcina Dias, 3. Agnelo D’Souza, 4. Caetan Barreto, 5. Egyps D’Souza, 6. Tilu Dias, 7. Vincent Dias, 8. Goa, India Dias, 9. Dumena D’Souza,10. Bhagrati Velip, 11. Shanta Velip, 12. Kalawati Velip, 13. Chandrakant Gaonkar, 14. Vithabai Velip, 15. Concy Antao, 16. Kalidas Naik, 17. Surya Gaonkar, 18.Gavnekar Palmira
- May 21, 2008
Nuem, Khola, Canacona
Dempo Mine: contractor Gangesh Molu Dessai, landed at the site with around 40 police personal from Cuncolim, Margao, Maina Curtorim and Colva. IRB who were headed by Cuncolim P.I. Sidhant Shirodkar and Colva P.I. Edwin Colaco. The Canacona Execuitive Magistrate Shri Valvoikar made his presence over there. The police started clearing the obstruction which was there on the way leading to the mine. The police were stationed at the site till 4.00 pm face to face with protesting people.
- May 19, 2008
Criminal cases registered against 70 villagers at the behest of Fomento mining company. Fomento mining company had filed police cases against following 12 Advalpal villagers Shyamsunder Naik, Sharmila Naik, Kishore Naik, Kashinath Gad, Vijay Pundloskar, Ganesh Naik, Babi Gaonkar, Suresh Gad, Shrikant Gaonkar, Manguesh Gad, Amar Shetye and Pradip Gaonkar. The cases were registered under following sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC): 143, 144, 147, 148, 323, 427, 341, 506 and 149.
Out of these 4 people were arrested namely, Shyamsunder Naik, Sharmila Naik, Kishore Naik and Kashinath Gad. Fomentos are operating Litho Ferro mining lease in Advalpal
- May 20, 2008
Police Protection provided to Fomento mine.
- May 21, 2008
Sheetal Thanekar, Surekha Santosh Gaonkar and 17 year old Sandesh Vithal Gaonkar was beaten by Sesa Goa goons at around 3.00 pm. Police case registered. Police are yet to make any arrests so far.
- June 04, 2008
Advalpal villagers stopped on their way to Panjim to celebrate World Environment Day and demonstration in front of Sesa Ghor. Their bus taken away to Panjim Police station from Porvorim under the pretext that Police had a secret information that the protestors are going to block the Mandovi bridge and paralyze the traffic! Police force in riot gears were deployed to guard the protestors after they got off the bus in Porvorim. This police followed the protestors to Panjim when they got back their bus and staged demonstration in from of Sesa Ghor – the headquarters of Sesa Goa mining company owned by British Corporate - Vedanta.
- June 05, 2008
Heavy police security in police arrangement as villagers celebrated World Environment Day
- June 19, 2008
Leader of the opposition Manohar Parrikar at ad-hoc committee named the author of this paper – Sebastian Rodrigues – as naxalite operating with his team from Jharkhand in Colomba, Quepem. Top officer of Goa Police present at the meeting agreed with Mr. Parrikar’s assertion. Goa Police however came out with official statement denying presence of Naxalites in the State of
- June 24, 2008
Quepem Police Sation, Quepem
Quepem Police Inspector Santosh S. Dessai took a written statement from Colomba’s Rama Velip on naxalite issue. Extracts: “…I say that I know one Sebastiao Rodrigues r/o Siolim Mapusa since last 05 years from the year 2003. The said Sebastiao Rodrigues use to visit our home at Colomba alongwith br. Philip of Don Bosco, Sulcorna and Venkatesh Prabhudessai of Colomba – Kevona. The said Sebastiao use to move along with brother Philip Neri D’Souza.
I say that whenever there was a meeting in our village regarding mining issue and other environmental or land issue he use to visit our village. Most of the time said Venkatesh Prabhudessai and also Br. Philip use to attend the said meeting of “GAKUVED” and use to take photographs and was doing videography also. Mostly he use to do work on the internet…”
- October 11, 2008
Eight protestors were beaten up by goons of the mining industry in the presence of police personnel headed by PI Santos S. Dessai and protestors arrested and sent to jail. 85 year old Dora de Souza too was arrested while she with a group of protestors chained herself on the road carrying iron ore away from the mine. She along with other 3 women were sent to Aguada Jail. Zilla Parishad member Subhas Phaldessai led the attack on protestors at Dinar Tarcar Mine. PI Santos Desai remained passive observer during this time. Priest Mathias D’Cunha sdb, Filmmaker Kurush Canteenwalah and Sebastian Rodrigues too was beaten up and taken into police custody. Quepem Police team led by PI Santos S. Dessai remained mere spectator as the mining goons were beating up the protestors
- October 15, 2008
Police protection to Fomento mine T.C. 06/1949.
- November 13, 2008
Police night patrolling in the village with three police Jeeps began. Police night patrolling continued for three weeks.
- November 12, 2008
86 protestors on Fomento mine T.C.No. 06/1946 were arrested and later released on bail. Fr. Mathias D’Cunha sdb from Sulcorna was abused and by some unruly elements defending Fomentos. He has lodged police complaint. Police took no action. PI Santos S. Dessai was present on the site. At the police station placards of Colomba villagers were confiscated and torn apart under the oral instructions from PI Santos S. Dessai. Police also destroyed people’s food while effecting arrests. Goa Armed Police van and two jeeps full of Police personnel were put in action in defense of the Fomentos. One lady constable bearing badge number 6769 assaulted Colamb female protestor Dument D’Souza just before the arrests in the afternoon in presence of mamlatdar. Similarly Fomento security staff and truck drivers beat up two protestors Shamsunder Naik, Durgadas Gaonkar and Gajanand Raikar causing minor injuries to them. Former editor of Goamtak times Sujoy Gupta who joined Fomento mining company as its vice president directed the security staff to identify the targets for violence from the mining company’s office on Hiralal Khodidas mine at Colomba on this day.
- November 17, 2008
Quepem Police Station, Quepem, Goa
7 villagers from Colomba, Sanguem protesting against mining invasion of their village were arrested in fabricated criminal case filed by Fomento mining company supporter Surya Naik. PI Santos S. Dessai began arrests by taking Egyps D’Souza into Police custody while he was moving around in Tilamol market. 8 arrested were later released on bail. The villagers are Motesh Antao, Egyps D'Souza, Dument D'Souza, Shanto Velip, Rama Velip, Telu Dias and Xavier Fernandes. They were punished with day long forced stay at Quepem Police station on the next day - November 18, 2008.
- Novemeber 19, 2008
Quepem Police Station, Quepem,
Warning of Tadi Par – Exile by Police – informally sent to Egyps D’Souza by PI Santos S. Dessai. Egyps would be debarred from entering
South Goajurisdiction, including his home in Quepem taluka once Tadi Par in invoked on him.
- November 22, 2008
Police team visited village with intention to arrest young Tedoz Antao based on the complaint filed against him by Fomento security personnel.
- November 27, 2008
Police in riot gear clashed on streets when Ambaulim villagers who blocked
transport of Dinar Tarcar and Fomentos due to over loading and dust pollution. Iron Ore
- November 29, 2008
Police Protection provided to Fomento Manager en route to Quepem Police Station to file complaint against villagers after they forced stopped the mining transportation.
- December 01, 2008
Police protection provided to Fomentos to transport
at Hiralal Khodidas mine (T.C. No. 06/1949). Iron Ore
- December 04, 2008
Quepem Police Station, Quepem
Colomba villagers warned of Tadi Par. Served 4 days deadline by PI Santosh Desai to end agitation against Fomento mining company and accept sustainable mining. According to PI Santos S. Dessai if Colomba villagers don’t listen then their agitation will be crushed with heavy police force. Entire Police force from
Goawill be mobilized to unleash terror on Colamb villagers. Rama Velip, Salvador Dias, Telu Dias, Xavier Fernandes, Purso Gaoncar, Arjun Velip, Chandrakant Gaonkar and Surya Gaonkar witnessed PI Santosh Dessai telling them all this in presence of two Fomento mining company officials.
- December 13, 2008
Stranger male moving around with photograph of youth from Colamb – Tedoz Antao – approached Milagrine Antao and Dument D’souza while on marketing visit to Sanvordem town. He told them that Quepem PI Santos S. Dessai has commissioned him to catch the person on photograph and hand over to him at Quepem Police Station. According to him this youth protesting mining company’s onslaught on his village is involved in Dacoities. Such a insidious defamatory propaganda! This questioning of Colamb women in Sanvordem market by stranger on behalf of Quepem Police was one more instance of desperate attempts by Goa Police-Fomento nexus to spread terror and fear amongst common people resisting mining industry by outsourcing its functions to private agents.
- December 17, 2008
Police violence – lathi charge – on peaceful demonstrators against mining trucks creating air pollution and traffic hazards as all the written petitions were not respected and acted upon by Digambar Kamat government.. 7 villagers arrested (William Luis, Satulin Luis, Fatima Fernandes, Franky Rebello, Glen Rebello, Diego Fernandes besides Anton Jose Fernandes who was arrested from his home after the lathi charge.) Police assault on lawyer John Fernandes and attempt to murder criminal case under section 307 of Indian Penal Code filed against Advocate Fernandes. Police Inspector Santosh S. Dessai alleged in local marathi daily - Tarun Bharat issue of December 18, 2008 that Adv. John attempted to murder policemen - ASI Arvind Nagekar - while lathi charging the protestors against transportation of Iron Ore from the road in their village causing enormous dust pollution and traffic congestions. Wife of Advocate John Fernandes, Paulina Fernandes too was criminally charged on this day for rioting and unlawful assembly. Seven school children beaten by police violence, Franky Rebello was hit on head by Police. Amongst other injured includes smt. Lourencina Rebello (65), Andrew Fernandes, William Fernandes, John Fernandes, Smt. Remij Fernandes (50) Francisco Fernandes, Monica Fernandes, Pobre Fernandes and Soccor Fernandes. Quepem PI Santos S. Dessai and Deputy collector Venancio Furtado denied lathi charge though it took place in their presence; in fact administered by both of them – in reply under RTI. This proved that Deputy collector present did not order the lathi charge. South Goa Collector Gokuldas Naik justified it in interview to Times of India of December 19, 2008 and Goa Police authority headed by Justice Eurico Silva defended this lathi charge in his judgment. The legality of this lathi charge is clearly a suspect.
- January 06, 2009
Police protection provided to Fomento mine in Colamb. It continued on January 07, 2009.
- January 15, 2009
Police launched search operation for two days – January 14 to January 15, 2009 to arrest Pobre Fernandes, an active person in resistance to mining industry.
- January 20, 2009
Five tribal youth resisting mining company were arrested by Police at Quepem Police Station. Their names are Satyendra Gaonkar, Ashish Gaonkar, Sandesh Gaonkar, Ramesh Gaonkar, and Deepak Gaonkar. They were arrested after mines manager Kulkarni at Nevgi mine - operated by Dinar Tarcar - filed complaint against them on January 18, 2009.
33. February 01, 2009
Villager Franky Rebello’s house was visited by Quepem Police Constable Mohan Dessai in the night and Franky’s wife and aged parents were threatened with rendering Franky unemployed. Franky was not at home. Mohan Desai was drunk when on his visit.
34. February 03, 2009
Goa Police attached to Quepem Police station served the notice to Tedoz Antao to
surrender before Quepem Police station within 17 hours in response to criminal
case filed against him by Fomentos.
35. February 13, 2009
Police visited the residence of Motes Antao, youth resisting mining invasion of his
36. March 20, 2009
Motes Antao was whisked away by Police at 10.00 am from his truck in Quepem and arrested over the charge of assault on Government Servant based on the complaint filed by one Ganesh Velip on 29/1/2009 over the incident taken place on 9/1/2009 the Quepem police booked Motes under section 353,504 and 506 r/w. 34 of IPC for giving abusive words to a court bailiff. Motes is one of the active voices of mining terrorism in
- March 20, 2009
On this same day brother of Motes Antao, Tedoz Antao too was arrested – picked up by police while he was waiting for public transport bus at Tilamol junction. He was criminally charged for restraining one Yeshwant Salunke, security guard of Hiralal Khodidas mine (operated by Fomentos in Colamb) on 13/9/2008 and was booked under section 341, 323, 427, 506(ii) r/w. 34 of IPC.
- March 24-25, 2009
There was alteration on March 24, 2009 in Cawrem village between two anti - mining activists Alcine Dias and Egyps D'Souza on the one hand and Rivona Panchayat member of Panchayat Ram Gaoncar who once upon a time in 2003 was opponent mining operated by Radha Timblo belonging to Badruddin Mavany mining lease but then surrendered himself and his land to Timblos pressure tactics.
When the two men Alcine and Egyps went to the Police station to register the complaint against Ram Gaoncar, Timblo mining company Manager and another contractor of the Fomento mining company in Colamb swung into action and pressurized the police to register the case against Egyps D'Souza. A case was registered for assault and breach of Public Peace against Egyps. Egyps was detained at the police station for the full one night.
39. March 25, 2009
Quepem Police Station, Quepem
Rama Velip on visit to meet arrested Egyps D’souza at the Quepem Police Station on March 25, 2009 afternoon he was arrested and forced to accept bail and move out of the police station in one old case pertaining to blockade of the mining transport near Fomento mine in Colomba.
40. April 01, 2009
Motesh Antao threatened by Quepem Police Inspector Devendra Gad of booking under National Security Act (NSA) to continue harassment in furtherance of numerous false cases filed by Fomento mining company against him. PI Devendra Gad promised to use his police powers to harass Motesh Antao to the last. Motesh was called to the police station by serving call letter when he was awarded with this warning.
41. May 10, 2009
Suresh Babani Gaonkar and Dhruvanjay V. Harmalkar were arrested by Bicholim Police Sub Inspector Terence Vaz and head constable Pradeep Kubal for protesting against Chowgule mining company plying its mining trucks through their property. They were picked by from Sirgao village in
Once taken into police custody they were put into police lock up. They were not served any meals and were starved till they were bailed out at around 5 pm on the same day.
42. May 20, 2009
Two villagers from Advalpal, Bicholim – Shamsunder Naik and Vijay Pandluskar are arrested at Bicholim Police Station for protesting against Sesa Goa mines on May 10, 2009 under section 151 of Indian Penal Code – Disturbance of Public Peace! They were released from Bicholim Police Lock up at night at 9.00 pm.
43. July 18, 2009
For two weeks Rama Velip of Colamb village in Sanguem Taluka was harassed by
Rama Velip is heading Gawda, Kunbi, Velip and Dhangar Fedearation (GAKUVED) unit under the jurisdiction of Rivona Panchayat and in the middle of resistance movement against mining in Sanguem and Quepem Talukas of
CID officer who is involved in harassing Rama Velip is one Premanand Phaldessai attached to Quepem Police Station. He hails from Sanvordem and according to the sources his family members are involved in business of transportation of
44. September 25, 2009
Colamb villager Motes Antao arrested at Quepem Police Station in the morning at 9.15 am. He was called to the police station to collect information he had sought involving detailed information of three police officials – PI Santos S. Dessai, PSI Prakash Desai and HC Arvind Nagekar- under Right to Information Act 2005 (RTI). Motes was threatened at the police station for filing application under RTI on August 14, 2009. Motes Antao was arrested on complaint of November 28, 2008 filed by one Shri C.S.Patil Asst. Personal Manager of Hiralal Khodidas Mine – operated by Fomento mining company in Motes’
45. October 12, 2009
157 people protesting against Sesa Goa mines in Condli arrested and released on bond. They had blocked transportation of ore for one week prior to their arrests.
In addition to this there are also incidents of Telephone tapping of the people resisting mining industry in
On Second occasion on Sunday, August 02, 2009 someone call came in on landline of Sebastian Rodrigues in Siolim saying that the person is calling from telephone exchange and trying to find out if the landline is working alright. Telephone exchange does not attend to telephone repair work on Sunday nor anyone had lodged any complaint pertaining to defect in telephone functioning.
The existence of Police State is evident from the above documentation. The democracy and its spaces are shrinking with Police Raj manifesting itself in an unprecedented manner. The tribal people and other silenced voices have been turning to voice out their grievances. They are however offered hostile reception with Police terror. The modus operandi of the State-Mining companies’ nexus in
Situation has come to head on in this manner as the
IV. Need for change in
Goa Police must undergo fundamental change in the outlook from being defenders of Goa’s mining industry - that is waging war with People of Goa – to being defenders of the People of Goa waging struggle against
Note: This paper is prepared to be presented at the State level Seminar on “Human Rights and Environment – A Focus on Goa” at the Department of Political Science, St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa, Goa on International Human Rights Day December 10, 2009.