MAC: Mines and Communities

People of Phulbari celebrate victory

Published by MAC on 2006-08-15

People of Phulbari celebrate victory

By Staff Reporter

Daily Ittefaq

31st August 2006 Phulbari is reverberated with merriment from a virtual battlefield during the last 24 hours, as thousands of people are celebrating the victory in their struggles that claimed five protesters' lives.

According to report reached in the capital last night, the entire Phulbari of Dinajpur district turned a different look yesterday with joyous dancing on the streets and distributing sweets to each other.

The protesters were found happy with all their demands accepted after hectic negotiations on Wednesday night.

The agreement with its details was read out before thousands of people waiting at Nimtala area to hear the fruition of their movement launched against the Asia Energy, a British company operating in Phulbari coalmine.

The indefinite hartal (general strike) enforced by the local people was an expression of solidarity with the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Port was also withdrawn after the agreement.

Reporters visiting the spot said they found thousands of people holding colourfull banners in their hands took to the streets yesterday.

"The entire scene of the Phulbari looked totally changed now," a reporter from the area said last night.

A meeting was held at the Nimtala intersection to celebrate the victory of the people in Phulbari.

Professor Anu Muhammad, Member Secretary of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Natural Resources and Ports presided over the meeting that was addressed, among others, by CPB President Monjurul Ahsum Khan, Worker's Party Politburo member Haidar Akbar Khan Rano, Zonayed Saki of Samrajjayobasi Birodhi Gano Andolon, Rabindranath Soren of Adivashi Forum and Saifur Islam Jewel, convenor of the Phulbari unit of the Committee.

The speakers said that the victory is the result of the united strength of the people. Thousands of people of Phulbari, including women and Adivashis, fought together to win this victory.

The protesters' six-point demand mainly included withdrawal of the Asia Energy from Phulbari, removal of all establishments from the site of the coal-mining project, compensation to the families of deceased, withdrawal of all cases against the protesters and trial of the persons responsible for Saturday's killings. Expressing their resentment over the speech of Energy Adviser Mahmudur Rahman, they demanded his immediate removal.

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