By Our Representative
A fresh incident of attack on those campaigning against stone quarries in Rajasthan has come to light. The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said, on November 14, Shankarlal Mina, one of the most active workers in the struggle against stone quarry mafias, and is from village Toda, Neem Ka Thana tehsil, Rajasthan, was “brutally attacked in village market in broad day light”. It added, the attack, in which Mina’s hand and leg were fractured, was by “stone quarry mafia and goondas allegedly owing allegiance to former MLA Ramesh Khandelwal, who lost appeal at the National Green Tribunal (NGT).” NGT, Bhopal bench, in September put a stay on all mining activities and illegal stone crushing in Neema Ka Thana and Sikar district.
An apex body of tens of mass organisations across India, the NAPM, which issued its statement from New Delhi, said, has asked prominent citizens to “take immediate attention” by sending “protest letters” to Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia, sending them via emails [email protected] or [email protected], or faxing the them to 01412227687.
Earlier, on November 5, three women and a girl child were wounded in during an “illegal blast” in the stone quarries in Bharala (Jeer Ki Chowki), Neem Ka Thana. The incident 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”, NAPM had said close on the heels of the incident. The incident happened at 3.00 pm in the afternoon, and there was no warning when the three had gone to the jungle to collect firewood.
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 had in its statement 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 NGT judgment meant 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”, the NAPM suggested, adding, “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 had pointed out, “The 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.”
Saying 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.”