Members belonging to several NGOs and associations held a peaceful candlelight protest in Margao, on Saturday evening, demanding revocation of permissions granted for the IIT project in Shel-Melauli while also condemning the police behaviour.
They also demanded suspension of PI Sagar Ekoskar, who had allegedly stepped on a woman during the protest.
Members belonging to associations including GAKUVED Federation, Goencho Awaaz, Goencho Ekvott, All India Trade Union Confederation, National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) and Goans for Dabolim Only joined in a candlelight protest and rally at the Margao Municipal Garden, under the watchful presence of the police.
After several warnings from the police against the use of a microphone, protestors resorted to sharing their thoughts and opinions without a microphone.
GAKUVED Federation general secretary Rupesh Velip while speaking at the rally said, “The IIT will not flourish in the midst of people’s objections. Other locations like the Defence Expo location in Quepem can be used to set up the IIT, but not at Shel-Melauli.”
“Development should be for humanity. It is wrong for the government to put sections of attempt to murder on people who were protesting there. If the government continues to do this, the people will show it the door during the next elections. The MLAs should express the people’s objections to the government and the project should be taken elsewhere,” he said.
A representative of Goencho Awaaz Zarina D’Cunha said, “There has been grave injustice done to our GAKUVED community and the people of Melauli and we stand with them in their objection to the IIT project. Today, with candles in our hand we strongly object and condemn what happened there. Farmagudi has a big area and the MLA of that area has also welcomed the IIT project there, but the government doesn’t want to do this.”
The protestors demanded dropping of all the charges filed against the Shel- Melauli people who had staged protest.
They also demanded a stop to the land grab there as well as to withdraw the proposed IIT plan, besides initiating criminal proceedings against PI Ekoskar and his suspension.
Fr Eremito Rebello, convenor of Goans for Dabolim Only (GFDO) said, “We condemn the behaviour of the police where they stepped on a woman. We are a democracy and what people want should be done. We demand that the voice of the people should be heard.”