The Goa Foundation today denounced the attack within jail premises of mining activist, Ravindra Velip, who also hails from the tribal community and demanded an inquiry from the Inspector General of Prisons as to how unauthorized persons could have entered the premises, blindfolded Velip and then beat him up mercilessly.

“If Ravindra Velip does not move the Human Rights Commission, the Goa Foundation will,” said Goa Foundation Director Claude Alvares adding that the assault could only have been possible because of the collusion of the jail authorities.

Alleging that the assault was  premeditated  the foundation demanded an inquiry  and  strict action thereof against the perpetrators of the crime.

The Foundation director, Claude Alvares,  further expressed concern that the  incident would vitiate further the environment against mining in the state of Goa and delay mining operations indefinitely.

Ravindra Velip has consistently exposed the illegalities of mining lease holders in Caurem. It was due to efforts of his group that the authorities located lakhs of tonnes of iron ore illegally extracted and hidden in artificial mountains under layers of mud, after the closure of mining was announced by the State Government.

“Velip had informed the mining directorate that the excess amounts discovered by his group of villagers were now being removed under the garb of e-auction, especially since the directorate has no staff to monitor movement of trucks and the situation is fast reverting to unmonitored movement of mineral ore in the mining belt, “said Claude.

Ravindra Velip has been promoting and espousing the idea of village cooperatives being used exclusively for some of the activities relating to mining, from excavation to transport. This would directly benefit majority of the villagers who till now continue to suffer from the ill effects of mining activity.

“Unless the local villagers are involved in all those mining activities for which they have capacity, they can never be expected to support mining. By assaulting even these persons who are not against mining per se, but who wish to ensure it is done by directly benefitting the local tribal community, those behind yesterday’s assault are only creating more problems for themselves and their activity in the state,” the Goa Foundation director added.

Mining agitator and Cavrem Panch Ravindra Velip was  blindfolded and assaulted inside Sada Sub Jail  on March 23. Ravindra along with four others who were part of the mob protesting against illegal mining operations at Cavrem in South Goa were arrested by the police.