Counterview, 5 Nov 2014, Rajasthan: Three women and a girl child were wounded in during “illegal blast” in the stone quarries in Bharala (Jeer ki chowki), Neem Ka Thana, Rajasthan, said a statement issued by the National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM) quoting sources from people’s organisations in the state. The incident, it said, happened because of the “violation of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order” not to continue with stone quarrying in the area, even as “exposing” the existing “nexus between mafias, police and politicians.” The incident happened at 3.00 pm in the afternoon “without any warning when the three had gone to the jungle to collect firewood”, the NAPM added.
Quoting the order of the NGT, Bhopal bench, which heard a detailed case against such illegal mining and came to the conclusion that all mining activities in Neem Ka Thana as well as in Sikar district must be stopped after September 23, the NAMP said, “The NGT had also ordered the Rajasthan government should conduct state-wide survey and seize all the illegal stone crushers in Rajasthan. However, despite the order, the nexus between mafias, police and politicians is putting villager’s lives into great danger.”
The NAPM said, it needs to be noted that the NGT judgment also pointed towards the fact that there could be “no mining of miner minerals, of whatever size, without the approval of the Ministry of Environmental Forest (MoEF), Government of India.” Despite this, the extraction of minerals continues unabated “causing irreparable damage to air, water, tree, land, etc.”
Calling it “yet another failure of the Rajasthan government to protect people’s well-being”, the NAPM said, “Today’s blast is a painful reminder that in spite of the judicial victory of the people of Neem Ka Thana, who have been agitating against illegal stone crushing and mining for over 10 years, and have faced attacks from police and mafias, the road to justice is still long.”
Declaring that people will resolutely struggle for their rights, the NAPM demanded “stoppage of illegal stone crushing and mining in Neem ka Thana and whole of Rajasthan” and “complete compliance with order passed by NGT so that people and environment are safe.” It urged upon all “concerned citizens to write letters to the Chief Minister of Rajasthan at the earliest to demand the same”, or “email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.”
‘Effort’ to disturb communal peace in Badwani
In a separate statement, the NAPM condemned efforts by communal forces to disturbances in Badwani in Madhya Pradesh, where the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) has its base since 1985. An incident, which involved some heavy crackers being thrown at members of a community, made the police “not permitting the Muharram procession to be taken out in the streets of Badwani, nor did the grand tajas lit the main streets of Badwani.”
Calling it a “big blow to the inter-cultural and religious harmony-based traditions of the Muharram celebrations which also included tajas put up by Hindu families”, NAMP said, “Badwani with a sizeable Muslim population has been a city with peaceful co-habitation by various sub-communities belonging to the two religions. There also exists a joint committee of Hindus and Muslims that organize various performances like mushayaras.”