6 May 2016 - 5:52am | AT News
NAPM Condemns Police Firing, Demands Commission of Enquiry and Moratorium on Dams in Arunachal Pradesh.
On May 02, 2016 in an ugly turn of event, two people, namely Monk Nyima Wangdue and Tshering Tenpa, were killed and many injured, while protesting against the arrest of Lama Lobsang Gyatso in Tawang including a young Buddhist Lama. The Victims were protesting for the release of Lama Lobsang Gyatso, one of the most vocal opponents of hydropower projects in the Tawang region and secretary of Save Mon Region Federation (SMRF), an organization of the Monpa Community in the Mon-Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh. National Alliance of People’s Movements condemns this brutal police action on peacefully protesting communities and demands immediate action against the responsible officials.
The State govenrment continues to remain apathetic to the whole situation. Even as Tawang continues to reel under the shock of police firing, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Kalikho Pul at ASSOCHAM forum in New Delhi in a complete insesnitive statement has advocated for fast-tracking environmental clearances for hydropower projects and suggested single window clearance to the hydro project developers. This only shows complete contempt for the sufferings of the people and environemtnal destruction and concern for corporate profteering.
Our experience from struggles against the big dams have shown that, when world over the big dams are being done away with, it is extremely unfortunate that we are till trying to harness the hydro power in the most environmentally sensitive regions, or in densely populated areas, displacing massive populations. Around 250 hydro-power projects are in pipeline in Arunachal Pradesh only, which would prove fatal for the whole north east and Himalayan region. For long, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) have been opposed to the Lower Subansri Hydroelectric Project, which would threaten the livelihood of more than 5 lakhs of fishworkers, farmers and others dependent downstream. It needs to be noted that even though a eight member expert committee report is awaited the construction on dam has started once again, facing challenge from people.
This remains the case for many of the dams in North East where public hearings have been a complete hogwash and based on half-baked and unscientifically conducted Environmental Impact Assessment keeping communities often in dark. The overall planning of hydro development in the State and Himalyan region needs a thorough examination keeping in mind the people’s interest first, until then put a moratorium on the planned projects.
Our own experience of struggle against the Narmada, Tehri, Waang Marathwadi, Gosi Khurd and other Dams across the country have exposed the false claim of clean energy by hydro power projects. In the process of building big dams, we have destroyed rivers, villages, townships, lives and livelihood of millions. The people are still suffering from the impact on agriculture, livelihoods and the cultural disconnect along with ecological disasters like frequent landslides and loss of forest cover in the areas. Its time we stopped damming the mountains and bringing ecological destruction. Everywhere these dams and hydropower projects are facing resistance and protests from communities and often govt. has resorted to violence and arrests. This must stop now!
In Tawang Valley, police forces made complete mockery of the rule of law and killed two of them and opened fire at mere gathering of 200 people who were demanding release of their leader. All these events suggest a dangerous political motivation to strike down the people’s voices and provide a free hand of destruction to corporate through hydro power projects planned in the state.
In light of the above, we strongly condemn the political involvement and misuse of police forces in this matter and demand the following :
1) AP government must constitute an independent judicial commission, under the Commission of Enquiry Act, headed by a sitting or retired judge, to investigate the whole incicdent including role of police officials, local MLA and other politicians.
2) Untill completion of the enquiry, suspend the involved police officers along with SP, Divisional Commissioner and others.
3) Put a moratorium on all the planned hydro power projects untill a complete scientific review is conducted, opinion of the communities concerned taken and consent achieved. This must take a comprehensive look at the serious risk of environmental disasters and geological instability.
Medha Patkar - Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM); Prafulla Samantara - Lok Shakti Abhiyan & Lingraj Azad – Samajwadi Jan Parishad - Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM, Odisha; Dr. Sunilam, Aradhna Bhargava - Kisan Sangharsh Samiti & Meera – Narmada Bachao Andolan, NAPM, MP; Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe - NAPM, Maharashtra; Gabriele Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan – Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN; C R Neelkandan – NAPM Kerala; P Chennaiah & Ramakrishnam Raju – NAPM Andhra Pradesh, Arundhati Dhuru, Richa Singh, Nandlal Master - NAPM, UP; Sister Celia - Domestic Workers Union & Rukmini V P, Garment Labour Union, NAPM, Karnataka; Vimal Bhai - Matu Jan sangathan & Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand; Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant - Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat; Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan – Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan & Mahendra Yadav – Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar; Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, J S Walia, NAPM Haryana; Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan; Amitava Mitra & Avik Saha, NAPM West Bengal; Bhupender Singh Rawat – Jan Sangharsh Vahini & Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar and Shabnam Shaikh – NAPM, Delhi