MAC: Mines and Communities

India: Journalists attacked at illegal diamond mining site

Published by MAC on 2014-12-23
Source: mines minerals & PEOPLE

Journalists attacked at illegal diamond mining site in India

mines minerals and PEOPLE urgent press release

19 December 2014

mines minerals and PEOPLE condemns attack on journalists and local people by illegal diamond miners and demands immediate action

New Delhi - Journalists Santosh Tiwari, Lokesh Sharma and Ashok Shakya and two other local people were brutally beaten up by the illegal miners and their hired goons when they went to the site to investigate on the illegal mining that was going on in Shahidan, on the Maja Forest Block close to the city in Madhya Pradesh. The journalists who needed to be hospitalised were saved providentially as a police patrol was in the vicinity after hours of their running into the jungles to save themselves from the perpetrators.

The Panna region has been a victim of illegal mining for decades and local communities and vigilant journalists have been making valiant attempts to stop this illegal activity. While several villages have been displaced and many are under threat of displacement to make way for a larger area for the Panna Tiger Reserve, the same region has been seeing relentless mining rising the question whether mining is more benign for the tiger than people living in villages.

It is alleged that some officials of the Forest Department have been in cohort with the illegal miners and it has been with their connivance that this activity has been carried on with impunity.

Expressing shock and dismay, R.Sreedhar, Chairperson of mm&P, has written to the Chief Secretary of the Madhya Pradesh Government and the Principal Secretary, Forests to immediately institute an enquiry and ensure that the guilty are punished. Yousuf Beg, Member of the Executive Council of mm&P visited the journalists in the hospital and assured them of all support in rasing this issue with the Government.

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