The events that took place are as follows and it is a nightmare that I will not be able to forget throughout my life.
Here it goes......
On 20.03.2016 at about 9.30 pm, I got a call on my mobile from Contractor Santosh Gaonkar, r/o Kalem informing me that he is going to start mining transportation from the next day, that is from 21.03.2016. I replied to him that there were numerous issues to be resolved with the villagers before transportation of ore could be considered, since these issues were extremely relevant and had to be resolved before transportation could be started.
In spite of knowing that the villagers had issues with the transportation of ore and were willing to discuss and resolve the same, the mining companies decided to break all traditions and transport as much of the extracted ore as possible from the leases within the Village Panchayat Area of Caurem-Pirla, while the villagers were away. We (in the name of Shri Navnath Velip, r/o Caurem) immediately wrote to the Dy Collector & SDO, Quepem and Police Inspector, Quepem stating that as Shigmo was being celebrated, no mining transportation may take place in Caurem, during this period.
Despite the letters written to the authorities, the mine owners descended upon Caurem village on Monday, 21st March 2013 and commenced unregulated and large scale transportation of extracted ore from the Fomento’s mine, TC 6/61. When we went up to the miners to ask queries, 8 of us were arrested and later released on bail. We were promised by the Police Inspector, Quepem that no transportation would take place for the rest of the Shigmo festival, and we went home satisfied.
The next day on the 22nd of March, 2016, contrary to the promise of the Police Inspector, Quepem, large scale transportation of ore was started in Caurem village from Fomento Mines under police protection. Four other youth and I, who are all actively working for tribal rights, social justice and peace in Caurem village, went up to the police to ask questions regarding the legality of the ore transportation. We were arrested immediately and detained by the police. At this stage, I called up the Directorate of Tribal Welfare, Shri Anant Shirwaikar, who said that he could not do anything as it was a matter of transportation of e-auctioned ore. We were later taken into judicial custody and were transferred to Sada jail the same evening.
On the morning of 23.03.2016, when I was going to the toilet inside the jail during the period when cells are open, I was suddenly attacked from behind by at least four persons, who caught me from behind, blindfolded and gagged me with cloth, and then went on to beat me fiercely. I was lifted and thrown down from a height, resulting in multiple fractures to my forearm and severe pain in my neck. When I was lying down, I was mercilessly beaten with boots and fists. I managed to release the gag on my mouth and started screaming, at which the beating stopped immediately and the attackers fled. Within moments, the other prisoners from my cell, including the other four youth from Caurem, rushed to my side and took me into the cell. When I left the cell, I was the only one outside and all other inmates of my cell were inside the cell. It is clear that the persons who attacked me were others. In addition, I was attacked by persons wearing boots and no prisoner was wearing boots.
I was totally scared and traumatized by the incident. From threats received during the assault that my co-prisoners and family would not be spared, I felt that the warden/ jailors themselves were involved in the assault. Fearing for the lives of my co-prisoners, and suspecting involvement of the jailors and warden, I did not reveal the assault to the authorities during my imprisonment despite severe pain and trauma. Immediately after signing the bail paper, I told the jailer that my hand was broken and that I needed medical treatment. The jailer looked at me fiercely, giving me the impression that I would be further beaten if I pursued with my request. Totally scared, I did not insist and though it best for my security to get out from the place first.
I informed my advocate of the incident only after being released on bail while on the way home in my advocate’s car. My advocate immediately took me in his car to the Goa Medical College for treatment (as I was in unbearable pain). The medical authorities enquired about the injuries and I informed them the facts in brief. Medico-Legal Case No 16/2495 was registered by the hospital staff, copy being attached herewith. On examination and after X-ray, multiple fractures were observed by the doctor on duty. I was taken home to Caurem by the advocate as I refused to be admitted to any hospital due to fear of being further assaulted if admitted to a hospital.
From yesterday I am in fear and scared to get admitted in any of the hospital. Since last evening I am experiencing extreme pain in my fractured hand and I have been consulting to the doctors since last evening. I have freshly done X-ray and CT scanning of the fractured hand.
Today I have filed criminal complaint at Marmugao police station. Thorough inquiry is required in this matter as it was a pre planned murderous attack. I am alive only because of my co-prisoners and all the other prisoners of the cell where I was locked in.
Many thanks to the prisoners of Cell no 10 for saving my life.