Claiming that they don’t trust the local legislator and Health Minister, Vishwajit Rane, who says he is with the people, after allegedly using power and police force on the Shel Melauli villagers, protesting the IIT project, the various tribal associations gathered in front of the Margao municipality on Wednesday demanding the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, issues a notification scrapping the said controversial IIT project.
Members of the Gakuved Federation, Adivasi Sanghatana Quepem, the scheduled Tribe Association of Sao Jose De Areal and Goychea Kull Munkaramcho Avaaz collectively said the movement to oppose the IIT project will continue till the chief minister gives in writing or issues a notification or takes a cabinet decision to scrap the IIT project,
which is being pushed on the Shel Melauli villagers and that the IIT name shown in occupant column of survey I & XIV bearing survey number 67/1 be deleted and the land be given to Shel Melauli villagers.
They also demanded that all the charges levelled against the Shel Melauli villagers and activists be dropped and that police inspector, Sagar Ekoskar to be terminated from service further initiating criminal proceedings.
The convenor of the Gakuved Federation, Rupesh Velip said, “Minister Rane himself had put a note to the chief secretary on September 11, last year to acquire additional land of 3 lakh square meters for the purpose of IIT. Rane has used the police force to harass the Shel Melauli villagers. And, after nine long months of protest, he suddenly realized to be with the people. We don‘t trust him as his recent stand is an eyewash. The people of Goa are with the Shel Melauli people. Until the government officially declares scrapping the IIT project the
agitations will continue and will be intensified across the state of Goa,’’ stated Velip.
“It is unfortunate that the Goa government is now using goondas and criminal force to suppress the voice of the activists. Tribal member and activist Rama Kankonkar’s car was burnt out of frustration by some unknown persons. Police, who registered an illegal FIR against Kankonkar, could not trace him. We have to see, whether the Goa police are capable in investigating this car burning incident,’ they said. Those who spoke on the occasion includes Ram Krishna Jalmi, and John Fernandes.