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Hyderabad, October 3 : Today, i.e on 3rd October 2011, during the environmental public hearing regarding the 350 MW Coal fired Thermal Plant of M/s VSF Energy Projects Pvt. Ltd, (SPV of VSF Projects, Hyderabad) at Ankulapaturu village, in Chillakuru mandal, in Nellore district, Dr. Vijay Kumar, a practicing doctor and activist of Jana Vigyana Vedika, has been mercilessly beaten by the Police, while the Chilakuru Circle Inspector Ram Babu has even tried to strangle his neck, which could have killed Dr. Vijay Kumar if not for the intervention of the local villagers.
The public hearing was presided over by the Joint Collector Saurabh Gaur, Tahsildar, and the EE of Pollution Control Board Satyanarayana. The meeting started at 11am, and after the presentation of the project by the Company representative, the Joint Collector asked the people and people’s representatives to come and submit their opinions regarding the project and invited Dr. Vijay Kumar and T. Ramanaiah of Jana Vigyana Vedika to give their opinions from the dais. Dr. Vijay Kumar during his turn was speaking about the harmful impacts from the said project to the local environment, agriculture and fisheries, when some people from the audience got up and abused Dr. Vijay Kumar, saying he has no right to speak on that podium as he is not from the village and they (the villagers) will settle the issue and that they want to have the project. To which, many other villagers, many women, agitated and said that they were already suffering from the impacts of the Steel Plant near the village and would not want any further damage to their health and environment. On this, an argument ensued and both parties got into a fight. During this tussle, the local Circle Inspector was pushed around and he was hurt on his hand when he hit the railing. At this, Dr. G.Vijay Kumar got down from the stage and tried to pacify both parties to make peace. While this was happening, some people in civil clothes, and the local police also hit Dr.Vijay Kumar, and the Circle Inspector Ram Babu even tried to strangle the Doctor. The doctor was badly beaten but was thankfully, saved from death, due to the intervention of the local people who pulled the CI and the police away. While the tussle and fight was going on, the Joint Collector Saurabh Gaur simply left the dais and walked away without giving any orders either to the police to withdraw nor giving any declaration regarding the status of the public hearing.
We, National Alliance of People’s Movements, consider this a heinous crime on behalf of the district administration and the police, where the intent to crush any democratic voices against the Corporate powers has become evident with this incident.
We express our solidarity to the movement of the people of Nellore, who are trying to save their lives against the large influx of Coal fired thermal plants which will surely bring disease, death and destruction to them. Instead of listening to people’s voices and appeals, the, “democratically elected” governments are resorting to have their way, even if it means to kill its own citizens, whose only crime was to raise their voice to protect their right to life.
B. Ramakrishnam Raju, P.S.Ajay Kumar, Dr. K. Babu Rao, Saraswati Kavula.