Panaji: Federation of Rainbow Warriors has strongly condemned the gross abuse of section 144 by Shri S Ekoskar, the Police Inspector, Valpoi Police Station to detain 4 persons from Melauli village, preventing them from holding a Press Conference at Melauli, Sattari.
The Federation has said that the villagers were only attempting to explain to the people of Goa their resistance to the attempt to usurp their lands under the guise of IIT Goa and to respond to the arrogant threats given by the local MLA, Vishwajeet Rane, the day before this incident.
The current orders of the District Magistrate, North Goa do not prohibit the holding of a press conference by 4 persons, as was the case in the present instance. In fact, large gatherings with hundreds of people, such as the one at Cansaulim village just the day before under the directions of the Chief Minister and attended by MLAs Alina Saldanha and Reginald Lourenco, are being allowed.
Numerous press conferences are being held across the State in the attendance of many more persons. Commercial activities including tourism, markets, coal handling, mining transportation, industries are being allowed, while poor, law-abiding farmers following all social distancing norms while exercising their Constitutional Rights are being arrested and threatened by the police.
Sattari is the most oppressed taluka in Goa, where the iron grip of feudal landlords has not faded despite 60 years since liberation. The land which the Government is trying to usurp from the villagers has belonged to the tribals and other villagers of Melauli for thousands of years, but was mysteriously and illegally transferred to the Revenue Department about 40 years ago. Interestingly, the Revenue Department is refusing to divulge to the villagers under RTI the records of how the lands were recorded in its name.
But, the real reason behind the insistence to give these lands to IIT Goa is the keen interest of the feudal landlords to sell the lands of unsuspecting oppressed villagers across Sattari to real estate interests that will descend on this taluka if IIT is allowed here.
The imposition of neo-liberal economy on this feudally oppressed population will be disastrous, and we demand that the Constitutional promise to uphold the land rights of farmers, codified by Tenancy laws, Forest Rights and other laws must be first fulfilled, before neo-liberal economies are allowed to permanently displace the thousands of oppressed families of the indigenous people of Sattari.
Federation of Rainbow Warriors demands that the Police Inspector be immediately suspended, and the role of the local MLA in this shameful arrest be investigated by an independent, judicial agency, especially in view of the extreme likelihood of further violence against the oppressed sections, such as the murder of Manjula Gaude not so long ago.
We also demand that the rights of the local communities over their lands bearing sy no 67/1, Melauli village must be immediately recognized, thus saving our presitigious IITs from the ignominious branding as a violent, anti-people institution, which will the biggest loss to our Nation.