Skip to main content

Environmental battle: British NGO singles out India as one of 16 countries where activists died globally

By Our Representative
India is one of the 16 countries which a British non-profit organization, Global Witness, has identified where environmental activists were killed in the year 2015. In its latest report, titled “On Dangerous Ground”, the top advocacy group has said, of the 117 non-indigenous people who died fighting for environmental rights worldwide, six were Indian.
Giving the five examples of deaths globally it has revealed, the report singles out that of Sandeep Kothari, an Indian journalist, who, it says, “was found burned and beaten to death in Maharashtra state on June 20, 2015,” because he “had written critically on sand mining by local mafia groups in Balaghat district, which the state has allowed to grow unchecked.”
The report says, “Prior to his murder, he had faced considerable threats, including intimidation by the police and spurious legal charges in alleged retribution for his journalism.” Other countries from where examples of similar nature have been chosen are Guatemala, Myanmar, Peru, and Brazil.
“The environment is emerging as a new battleground for human rights”, the report says, adding, “As demand for products like timber, minerals and palm oil continues, governments, companies and criminal gangs are exploiting land with little regard for the people who live on it.”
“Increasingly”, it points out, “Communities that take a stand are finding themselves in the firing line of companies’ private security, state forces and a thriving market for contract killers. The numbers are shocking. We documented 185 killings across 16 countries, a 59% increase on 2014 and the highest annual toll on record.”
“The worst hit countries were Brazil (50 killings), the Philippines (33) and Colombia (26). Mining was the industry most linked to killings of land and environmental defenders with 42 deaths in 2015. Agribusiness, hydroelectric dams and logging were also key drivers of violence”, the report says.
Singling out India as one of the countries where illegal loggers were responsible for 15 killings along with the Philippines, India, Guatemala and Cambodia, the report says, across the globe, “logging trade operates in remote areas with weak law enforcement and often works hand in hand with corrupt local officials”, adding, “Loggers are encroaching into previously untouched areas in the search for high-value timber and coming into conflict with local communities.”
Regretting that the data it has collected, especially from Asia, may be inadequate, the report says, “In 2015, almost 40% of victims were indigenous.” None of those who have been reported killed in 2015 from India belong to the “indigenous” category – tribals.
“There was little evidence that the authorities either fully investigated the crimes, or took actions to bring the perpetrators to account”, the report regrets, adding, “Our findings highlight another alarming trend: while impunity for perpetrators prevails, the criminalization of activists is becoming more commonplace.”
It says, “Governments and powerful business interests use their influence to marginalise defenders and turn public opinion against them, branding their actions as ‘anti-development’... There is growing international awareness of this growing crisis, with many NGOs and human rights experts calling for urgent action.”

Comments

TRENDING

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).