The Social Justice Action Committee has condemned the brutal attack on activist and panch of Caurem village, Ravindra Velip. It has stated that these attacks are a clear act of intimidation against Velip and the villagers resisting illegal undemocratic mining operations. The Committee has further stated that it is also apparent that the efforts of the villagers to form a cooperative to work on mining are seen as a threat by mine-owners and those who get exclusive unconscionable gains from the trade.
The Committee has pointed out that there has been a continuous exploitation and misappropriation of tribal area resources, and it sees this brutal attack as an act to perpetuate this misappropriation by inflicting atrocities against local tribal communities to intimidate them into continuing submission.
The Committee has stated that the situation calls for a judicial inquiry because the assault occurred in judicial custody and also given the reports emerging about lack of evidence due to factors such as CCTV cameras not working. The Committee has echoed the concerns of Ravindra Velip that the co-inmates of his cell should not be intimidated and made scapegoats for what is clearly a planned and premeditated attack. The Committee has called for immediate suspension of the concerned officers, stating that in the absence of this measure, a free and fair inquiry is not possible. The Committee has also pointed out that given the long established antipathy of the administration, where the National Human Rights Commission’s was urged to and ordered compensation for human rights violations of the Caurem tribals.
The Committee has announced that it will be approaching the Chief Justice of the High Court of Bombay to demand a judicial probe and is seeking an appointment with the administrative judge in pursuance of this action.
Social Justice Action Committee (SJAC), Goa
Albertina Almeida, Thalmann Pereira , Alito Sequeira, Amita Kanekar, Augusto Pinto, Favita Dias, Atul Anand, Vasudha Savaiker, Abdul Wahab, Victor Savio Braganca, Subhash Kerkar, Seeja KS & Dadu Mandrekar