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Goa: parties, NGOs condemn attack on activist

The Sesa mine in Goa—File Photo  

Political parties, civil society groups and NGOs on Friday came down heavily on the Goa government, condemning the attack on anti-illegal mining activist and Caurem village panch member Ravindra Velip while he was in judicial custody in Sada jail in south Goa.

The Goa Foundation, an environmental NGO which has taken illegal mining in the state to the Supreme Court, demanded an inquiry by the Inspector General of Police (Prisons) into how unauthorised persons could enter the premises, blindfolded Velip and beat him up mercilessly.

“The assault could only have been possible because of the collusion of the jail authorities. It was therefore premeditated,” Goa Foundation director Claude Alvares claimed on Friday and said the NGO plans to move state Human Rights Commission. Alvares added the incident will delay total resumption of mining operations indefinitely.

“Velip has consistently exposed illegalities committed by mining lease holders in Caurem. It was due to the efforts of his group that authorities located lakhs of tonnes of iron ore illegally extracted and hidden in artificial mountains under layers of mud after mining was suspended by the government,” Alvares said.

He said Velip had informed the State Mining Directorate that excess amounts of ore discovered by his group of villagers have now been removed in the name of e-auction, especially since the directorate has no staff to monitor movement of trucks. Alvares warned that the situation is fast reverting to unmonitored movement of ore in the mining belt.

Caurem villagers have been espousing the idea of village cooperatives being used exclusively for mining-related activities including excavation and transport.

“Unless local villagers are involved in all those mining activities they are capable of, they can never be expected to support mining. By assaulting even those who wish to ensure mining directly benefits the tribal community, the culprits are only creating more problems for themselves and their activity,” Alvares said.

“The police violence against citizens of Goa affected by mining is re-visiting us,” warned Goa Su-Raj Party(GSRP) general secretary Floriano Lobo while demanding a probe by a retired High Court judge into the assault on Velip.

Velip has consistently exposed illegalities committed by mining lease holders in Caurem

Claude AlvaresDirector, Goa Foundation

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 10:46:48 AM |

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