Umbergaon Day 5th JUNE 2000
27 05 2000
"LORD TAKE MY SOUL, BUT THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES" KEN SARO-WIWA, THE GALLOWS, NIGERIA, NOV 10, 1995
Thomas Xavier Kocherry
Co-ordinator, World Forum of Fish-harvesters and Fishworkers [WFF]
Co-ordinator, National Alliance of Peoples Movements (India), [NAPM]
Umbergaon Day 5th June 2000
Umbergaon is a fishing village in Gujarat situated at the border of Maharashtra of India. This is a natural harbor. About 100000 fisher men and women have been fishing here for centuries and it is a very sustainable fishery as well.
There is a proposal to construct a large commercial port in this area. Looking at the fragile and important ecology of the area, a port very close to the present site falling in Maharashtra State was cancelled recently.
It was established through a comprehensive assessment of the port traffic at present and the future estimates, that with the existing and ongoing port development this port was not needed for years to come.
The documents showed that UNOCAL, a North American Multinational and BSES, another Power Company were pushing the project for their profit, without considering the social and environmental cost.
KINARA BACHAO SANGHARSH SAMITI of the people to protect rights of the people of UMBERGAON oppose this project because the proposed project violate the basic right to life and livelihood.
The recent Judgement of the Supreme Court of India by a division bench of Justice S. Sighir Ahemed and Justice Doraiswamy Raju categorically said " the apex court had, in a series of judgements, widened the scope of right to life under the Constitution.
Any disturbance to the air, water, and soil come under right to life".
Against the people's perspective and position, without any dialogue and consultation, Government of Gujarat used extensive police force to survey the project area. Instead of protecting the democratic rights of the local community of Umbergaon, the so called elected government has been trying to use the police force against the very people who elected them, to help the Multinational Companies to make more profit under the guise of DEVELOPMENT.
The Government of Gujarat and their yes men police cheated the local fishing community by arresting all the leaders on 7th April midnight to help the surveyors of the Multinational Companies from the USA to complete their survey. 47 persons both men and women including Col. Pratap Save were beaten up mercilessly and Save's head was banged against the wall several times and immediately he went into coma and he was hospitalised. He underwent two neuro surgeries. On 20th April he died in the Hinduja hospital Mumbai. All this cruelty and state oppression was done under the leadership of Dy. S. P. Narendra Amin. Inspite of giving written complaint against him for murder charge, the police officer is going around scot free.
In this context the local people of Umbergaon protested against the brutality of the police twice. But the Government of Gujarat has taken no action against the Murderers. In this context KINARA BACHAO SANGARSH SAMITI, NATIONAL FISHWORKERS FORUM OF INDIA AND NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF PEOPLE'S MOVEMENTS OF INDIA decided to have a special programme on 5th June, to observe it as UMBERGAON DAY and request on democratic, human rights-defender citizens and organisations across the world to do the same.
On that day we have to express through different action, protests and call for the arrest of all the persons responsible for the Murder of Col. Save and the State Oppression upon the people of Umbergaon. We also call for the immediate stop of all the activities concerning the Umbergaon port.
Please send fax of protest and calling for action to the following persons:-
President of India
Prime Minister of India
Chief Minister of Gujarat
Please send a copy of your protest fax or letter or email to
Narmada Dam Struggles | IMF / World Bank Struggles | www.agp.org (archives) | www.all4all.org