The disruption of an RTI meeting to discuss the Shah commission report on Saturday at Margao has evoked harsh criticism, with the Goa bachao abhiyan (GBA) and others alleging it to be orchestrated by vested interests protected by the state administration.
"The acts of infringement of the democratic rights of citizens to organize discussions are the government's recent tactics to divert attention from the illegal mining issue and its responsibility of bringing the criminals to book," GBA co-convenor Sabina Martins stated.
"Of late, vested interests have infiltrated all social groups to create confusion and chaos, to pit one organization against another, and to break the people's movements. The most dangerous trend is to suppress freedom of expression through acts of lawlessness and vandalism," Martins said.
The social activists expressed their resentment at the lack of action to bring the culprits of illegal mining to book. "Despite official admission of illegal mining by the government, not a single person involved in illegal mining has been charge-sheeted, nor have the errant mine owners been made to compensate the unfortunate victims of their greed," Martins added.
GBA also took exception to chief minister Manohar Parrikar raising fears about the safety of some activists, naming them, which appears more a veiled threat than a promise of law and order. It is shameful that he has not condemned the incident," Sabina Martins and Reboni Saha, GBA secretary said.
The threat to activists was meticulously executed in the name of mining-dependent people and the police stayed away from the scene. The Goa RTI forum condemned the intelligence failure regarding the gathering of a mob, and and demanded that the government initiate a judicial enquiry into who financed the buses carrying unruly mobs to the venue.
"The forum does not believe in closed-door meetings and does not act as a conspirator, but works towards ensuring that the government is accountable to the people. But the meeting held to bring the true contents of Shah commission report into the public domain was disrupted by a group adversely effected by mining," Shrikant Barve, secretary Goa RTI forum said. [TOI]