Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Kalne mining protestors anticipatory bail applications rejected

Around 16 people who were charged under section 302 IPC for allegedly causing the death of mining company's one security person on March 19, 2009 had been denied bail today.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Brief Chronology of Kalne Rebellion

Some 30 year ago mining came to Sindadurg district (then Ratnagiri district) at Reddi.

In Dadamarg and Sawantwadi taluka People came to know about possible mining possibility some ten years ago. Then the organization "Mining Virodhi Sangarsh Samanvai Samiti" was formed. This organization engaged with Petitioning to the authorities during 1998-99. They also organized meetings with Tehsildars. Survey work on mining projects was stopped by seizing the measurement instruments from the mining company officials in the three villages - Assaniye, Zholambe and Kolzhar in Dodamarg Taluka. Militancy was noticed amongst the protestors in Sasoli village wherein the mining company's JCP was burnt and villagers were charged with criminal cases. It is around this time Goa's Dempo mining corporation opened office near Banda city in Dodamarg taluka.

In 2002 workshop for college students was organized, awareness leaflet published and 20 kms distance cycle rally organized to create awareness amongst possible people to be affected due to mining in Dodamarg taluka. These villages form the buffer zone for the dense Western Ghats forests.

Kalne has been active in protest against mining since August 2008. Kalne Gram Sabha passed a resolution against mining. In the last week of September Public Hearing was conducted in Kalne village. Vested interest sent in goons to create the nuisance at the venue of public hearing. then collector Nidhi Pandey took mining company’s side and refused to act against the goons present. Since the material was not circulated in English that is not the local language of the people authorities was force to postpone the public hearing. The postponed public hearing took place in October 2008.

On 2nd January 2009 Maharastra Government's Environment Ministry declared mining proposals for the Sindadurg. Ironically the stated objective has been for ecological development and protection!

On 16th January 2009 villagers publicly gathered and burnt the above government order. The mining company's vehicle was intercepted, officials was forced out of the car and made to walk the distance of 2 kms to the village temple. The officials were then gheraoed by the village women and forced to fold hand before the village deity.

On 5th February Circle officer was ghraoed by the Kalne villagers and demanded the cancellation of mining land transaction.

On 19th March 2009 at 3.30 am - several hours before the sunrise - around 30 mining goons in uniform armed with lathis in their hands masquerading as mining company's security along with 40 workers descended in Kalne village and started the work of road construction to the mining site from the property of Anant Dessai. When in the morning people came to know about this they tried to stop the work but the armed security did not relent and started attacking the villagers. Police when contacted and informed about this development, refused to intervene. The villagers then resorted to 'Rasta Rako' on the main road connecting Dodamarg and Banda and demanded that revenue official come to the site to meet the villagers. Revenue official superior to mamlatdar but junior to Collector came to meet the villagers. He found that the construction work on the road by mining company was illegal and imposed fine of Rs.5 lakh on the mining company. The company's JCP on the site was sealed. Mining company's jeep was caught by the villagers and stoned.

At 4 pm mining company's security personnel was noticed by the villagers and was chased away. Securities ran towards hostile hilly terrain against the slope. Then at a distance of one and half kilometer one security personnel while jumping into the vehicle fell down and sustained injuries. He was taken to Sawantwadi hospital and given first aid. Then shifted to Goa Medical College, Bambolim, Goa and there he was declared dead. He hailed from Mumbai.

On 20th March 2009 Kalne villagers’ delegation called upon local Deputy Superintendent of police at Dodamarg Police Station at 9.00 pm. On their way back to Kalne, they came to know that false cases against the villagers are being registered under section 302 of IPC for causing death of the mining company's security. 16 people were charged under Sec. 302 IPC. Four prominent amongst them are Teacher, Satish Ghotge, General Practitioner Dr.Manoj Sawant, Cashew factory owner Ganpat Dessai and husband of the village Sarpanch Kamlakar Bhise.

On 21st March 2009 Police raided Kalne village. Every house was searched but police did not find any human beings in any of the houses during the raids. So no one was arrested on this day.

On 22nd March 2009 critical assessment was made about the situation and decision was taken to undertake Bhajan Satyagraha at Gram Devata Temple. Bhajan Satyagraha is ongoing till date of writing this today April 06, 2009. Satygraha brought in the support from intellectuals - writers, lawyers and Professors.

On 23rd March 2009 four police vans entered the village. they wanted to arrest the people and were continuously calling people out from the temple. Nobody listened to police orders. Instead villagers particularly women challenged the police to enter the temple and arrest all the villagers. Police had no guts to do so.

On 29th March 2009 protesting villagers called for "Mahasatsang" - massive gathering of the nearby villagers in support of the Kalne villagers. Around 5,000 people turned up during the day. Food arrangement was made for the entire supporter. Supporters also came from different regions in Konkan, Pune, Mumbai in Maharashtra, Belgaum in Karnataka and group from Goa including 5 representing Goa Federation of Mines affected people (GOAMAP) to express support and solidarity with Kalne villagers. Kalne village itself has the population of about 1,500 people.

On 2nd April 2009 Kalne villagers led by group of women marched for nearly 10 kms from Kalne village to Dodamarg police station with chained hands and mouth wrapped with black colored cloth of protest and asked police to arrest whoever they want. Police arrested 46 people under section 144 of IPC. The arrested people then was taken to Sawantwadi Court and bailed out on the same day.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Glimpses from inside the Mauli temple of rebellion

The heated discussions are on...

Inside the Temple gallery where protesters are squatting. On 23rd March four police vans came to the village to arrest the villagers. Police asked the villagers to come out of the Temple in order to arrest but villagers refused to come out. Police guarded the Temple till the sunset with the hope that they will see the villagers out of the Temple and then arrest them. But villagers challenged the Police to enter the Temple and arrest them but Police clearly was not in a Position to create fall outs like that of Operation Blue Star and retreated back.

Old and the Young, all join the Protest inside the Mauli Temple

"Our fight is for justice, to live with human dignity" protestor inside the temple

More placards of Protest and Unity...

"Hand over Kalne investigations to CID" poster inside the temple.

" Long Live Unity of Kalne villagers!" message on the board

Condemning Inspector Desmukh for registering false cases against Kalne villagers

Prayer to God to get Government head in its proper sense
Sebastian Rodrigues

Kalne Flame grips press in Konkan region

Press in Konkan region has been covering the revolt of the Kalne villagers with unimaginable focus. This has put the power balance of Konkan in crisis. From March 22, 2009 villagers are on Satyagraha (non-violent protest demonstration) inside the Mauli Temple.

In Talaune village too one woman Maria Itor Fernanades has been reported in the above newspaper report as waging struggle against mining industry. Clearly Kalne flame is on the move!

Sebastian Rodrigues

Rebellion from the lybrinth of Mauli Temple in Kalne

Kalne village in South Western Maharastra is in the middle of intense struggle against move to start mining activities in the village. Sebastian Rodrigues travelled to the village to shoot some pictures from the village. Here are some of the pictures below

Inside the Mauli Temple - women sing Bhajans and Protest songs together.
And out in the village are the posters painted and put up on the trees and other visible places. This particular poster above says "Land is ours by right and not of anyones father"

"Satisfy our demands or vacate your chairs"

"We are united"

"They rule in Delhi, we rule in our village"

Mining crossed!

"Government land is our land"
"Water, Land and Forest be in the custody of Public"

The above poster is protest against police repression in the village of Kalne. False cases under Section 302 of IPC are filed against key leaders of the Kalne revolt for allegedly causing death of mining company's security on March 19, 2009. Mining company tried constructing road through private property by force at 3.30 am that day. State authorities responded by fining Rs. 5 lakh to the company and confiscated the machinery. One security was hurt in the evening after falling down from moving vehicle trying to jump inside the vehicle and sustained injuries one and half kilometer away from the Kalne village. He died in Goa Medical college on that evening. State administration found very good excuse to file false cases against the agitating villagers.

"We will not give our land"

"Condemning Inspector Deshmukh for registering false cases against the villagers"

"Mining companies are looters"

"We will not give our land"

"Condemning Police for registering case against local doctor active in the movement"
"Condemning mining supporters"

"Long Live Kalne villagers Unity"

"Mining companies are looters"

Kalne fields on April 5, 2009. These are sought to be mined.

"Withdraw section 302 or vacate your chairs"

Condemning police

Will will fight, we will win!

Long live Kalne villagers unity!

Condemning State sponsored terror

Condemning Corrupt police, corrupt administration

Poem about Kalne in Marathi at Mauli Temple

Withdraw section 302!

In defence of Konkan

Inside the temple

Women are in the forefront of the agitation
Protest meeting with a rhythm in Kalne...

Bhajan and Protest songs together inside Mauli temple...