Letter to Press on Uranimum Mining in Meghalaya
Please find enclosed a letter requesting endorsements on the Uranium
mining proposal in Meghalaya. It is self explanatory.
Kindly DO NOT ignore this incident. Such action as arrests are being
undertaken under the new EIA Notification, and anyone who is a
researcher, activist, environmental enthusiast, NGO worker, etc. is
potentially a victim of such excesses by the State.
-------- Original Message --------
From: Himanshu Thakkar
Many of you may have followed the events in Meghalaya over the proposed
Uranium mining by UCIL. Tarun Bhartiya has sent the following letter from
Shillong, asking for people to put their names to a letter that they
want to release to the Press in Shillong on Friday, June 29, 2007.
Could you please pass this around urgently, and send your assent to
Open Letter for Release to the Press
We are deeply troubled at the repression unleashed by the Meghalaya
Government against activists of a movement against the proposed Uranium
Mining by the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) in the
Domisiat/Wahkaji area of West Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya
This popular non-violent movement has from the mid nineties opposed the
secretive anti-people behaviour of the Indian Nuclear establishment, and
with considerable courage and popular participation managed to stop the
mining of Uranium from the area. Instead of respecting the people's
opinions, UCIL, supported by the State Government has tried to split the
indigenous community's solidarity through bribes, and attempted to
silence any dissent through use of the draconian Meghalaya Preventive
Detention Act (MPDA).
On 12th June, 2007 after announcing a Public Hearing on the issue,
without sharing any independent environmental assessment of Uranium
Mining, a hearing which the movement opposed as flawed, the government
made all attempts to get a farcical assent to its plans through rigging
the public hearing by creating a situation of police terror in the area.
Although the movement , led by the Khasi Students Union and Langrin
Youth Welfare Association had opposed the hearing in principle, it
decided to break through the security blanket, and attend the hearing.
Even this rigged Public Hearing had a surprise for the government: more
than three-fourth of the villagers opposed the project . Rather than
accept the people's verdict, the government has since unleashed a
vindictive campaign against the activists.
Following the hearing, 16 activists have been arrested so far (many of
them have reported torture), and 7 of them have been booked under the
Meghalaya Preventive Detection Act (MPDA), which allows the government
to hold them under custody for six months without bail or judicial
trial. Most of the other activists have been forced to go underground.
We demand that these activist be released, and Governments heed to the
voices of people who do not want Uranium Mining in the state of
Meghalaya, or indeed anywhere else.