Demand Government Inquiry into Police Lathi Charge, Nilesh Gaonkar Attack
Coming together for the first time, various NGOs from Goa who have taken up different causes plaguing Goa and now the menace of mining; in particular the atrocities committed on the people of Caurem – police lathi charge on men and women, and the attack on the Youth Leader Nilesh Gaonkar by unknown assailants have decided to join hands and decided to take necessary steps collectively to ensure that the government undertakes a corrective action to the human rights violation on the people of Caurem and justice is ensured. Also joining the support is GoaChronicle.com, the website that has petitioned the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in New Delhi on the Caurem issue and taking cognizance of this, a probe has been ordered by the NHRC.
This group consists of NGOs – Goenchea Xetkarancho Ekvott, Goenchea Rakhandarancho Awaz, United Goans Welfare Front, Voice of Villagers, Village Groups of Goa, Colva Civic and Consumer Forum, Benaulim Civic and Consumer Forum, Navelim Civic and Consumer Forum.
This group demands following from the Government of Goa, in particular, Chief Minister, Digambar Kamat.
- Setting of a Special Inquiry or Task Force to investigate to police brutality on the Caurem people during their peaceful demonstration; and suspend the officers who carried out the order and conducted lathi charge on the innocent villagers
- Twelve days have passed since Nilesh Gaonkar attack, yet the police have not been able to apprehend and book the assailants responsible for this cowardly act.
- We are giving the government and the concerned authorities to resolve these issues, failing which few representatives will take the issue directly to the Centre in particular to the Prime Minister of India through our supporters and sources.
- The time-frame given to the government is 7 days.
Speaking on the new development and on the unity of the NGOs, Judith Alemeida of the Colva Civic & Consumer Forum said that the atrocities heaped on the people of Caurem is shocking and there needs to be a stop to it; the attack on Nilesh is really taking matters to the worst and people now need to release the importance of cleaning out the evils and get justice for the innocent people in Caurem and across Goa facing the brunt of the mine owners and their business.
Dilip Hedge of the Goenchea Xetkrancho Ekvott said that it is time not only for the like-minded NGOs to come together but also for the people of Goa on the Caurem issue, since the atrocities and harm caused by mining to the people, will affect future generations from an environment, health and economic point of view.
John Filip of Village Groups of Goa felt that the police have acted very lightly on Nilesh Gaonkar issue. “Although some of the citizens have given names of some suspects, the police have failed to arrest them and get them paraded for identification by Nilesh”, he said and added that unless the culprits are booked, the NGOs will take up this issue to the highest level because mining in Goa is destroying the environment, forests and water resources.
According to Savio Rodrigues, editor-in-chief, GoaChronicle.com, “Because we have supporters in organization like the National Human Rights Commission and other Centres in Delhi including the PMs Office, we felt it was time for us as media house to not just report but take a proactive stance on the issue which is a clear case of Human Rights violation. We have sent all the material to NHRC with the video footages of the Lathi Charge and a probe has been ordered. We will extend all our support to the people of Caurem, Nilesh Gaokar and NGOs fighting this menace.”