By YKA Staff:
On April 6, 2016, about 70 kilometres from Panaji, tribal activists gathered at Cauvrem village in the Sanguem taluka to block trucks carrying iron ore. 40 activists were arrested by the police, including 30 women.
Cauvrem village, situated in the Western Ghats, has witnessed sporadic protests over this issue for the last five years. The tribals are against giving the mining lease in the hands of ‘capitalists’. Export of iron ore has resumed in Goa after the ban on mining activity was lifted by the Supreme Court. Their demand is that it is they, the tribals, who should be allowed to run it on a cooperative basis.
“Total 40 people, including 30 women, were arrested as they continued blocking the road,” the police spokesman said after fresh protests that morning. All the protesters were, however, released the same evening.
But there is more to it. An elderly villager named Ramchandra Velip said, “We were beaten up by police before being forced into the van. We were protesting peacefully, but police resorted to violence against us.”
This was confirmed by the protesters, after they were released in the evening, who alleged ill-treatment by the police.
This would, however, not be the first time this has happened. Earlier, one of the activists, Ravindra Velip, was beaten up inside lock-up by the inmates. This happened after Ravindra, along with seven other activists, was arrested recently for protesting and disrupting transport. The incident is reported to have taken place shortly before he was to be released on bail.
It has been reported that an inquiry into that matter has been initiated by the state government. It is to be led by North Goa Additional Collector Swapnil Naik who was given 21 days to submit his report according to Goanews.
Meanwhile, a delegation led by Goa state convener for the AAP, Rajeshree Nagarsekar, has sought to know why the villagers were arrested when the protests were “peaceful”. Since some of those arrested were found to be injured, including an elderly lady who had a severe leg injury, the delegation has further submitted a memorandum to Quepem police demanding that they be taken for a medical examination.
With inputs from PTI.