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ESG - BMIC: It's Out In The Streets Now

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On Oct 25, 2007, ESG ran into trouble on the BMIC PRR at the Somapura Junction. From the pictures taken by the ESG members it is clear that Ashok Kheny was there and so was the police. So that was how serious this was. Now there are four versions to this episode, the NICE version, the ESG version, the police version, and the media version.

Even though Ashok Kheny is known for his talks and is known to bowl over listeners, NICE is not exactly known for their openness and this case is no different either. Nothing on their website when I last checked it. There is no direct way of knowning their side of the story. Only media reports. But ESG is quite net savvy and carries a copy of the FIR that Leo Saldhana (co-ordinator, ESG) as filed with the police along with photographs on their website. In addition Arun forwarded me an email from Leo Saldhana(coordinator ESG) that he received.
ESG Version of The Story....
Copy of the FIR and pictures taken by ESG members can be found here.

Leo Saldhana's Email...

Hi,

For those interested in the details of this attack, pl visit the ESG website where my IR is available along with photographs.

I find this assault absolutely unbelievable, as it as based on ontested notions of privatising the commons. oads, as much as aterbodies, are commons and should always be.

In this particular case, we were merely travellers on a highway that ESG has systematically opposed on environmental and social justice grounds. All our efforts have been peaceful and employing a range of campaign and litigation tactics. And, as it stands, the company in question does not have any rights to block access or employ private security forces to selectively target anyone.

At no time have we made this issue personal in any manner. The response, as is to be expected, has almost always been personal. When one engages in such issues, one is aware these are the risks involved, and utilises whatever resources are at command to constantly clarify the purpose of a challenge. The media and police are major players in such causes, and of course the wider network of support.

In this instant case we were attacked by the MD of M/s NICE. This is clearly an indication of the extent to which the law is taken for granted by corporate India. This is a growing menace in India, and we have not even started worrying about the
implications of such forces. These types of violent attacks are bound to grow unless we collectively address such situations constantly, effectively and collectively.

The violent attacks did not injure me critically.
But that it was at all employed so brazenly and in the presence of police, is in fact a serious issue. Especially because it was used against a group which mainly consisted of women, and students (most being foreign nationals, who had no conception of what was going on till much later).

Sincerely
Leo Saldanha

PS; The complaint provides an accurate description of what happened. It is to be expected that the press has to also carry what the company claims to be their version.


Media Coverage of the Issue:
A highly confused report by Deccan Herald is found here. (It talks of ESG faculty and all... ESG is no school)
A pithy report of the incident by The Hindu is found here.

NICE Version as Reported In The Hindu
Mr. Saldanha said that he was on a study tour with American students to explain to them the impact of urban growth on tanks and lakes when the security personnel got into an argument with him and beat him up. A complaint has been filed at the Talaghattapura police station, Bangalore Rural district.

A NICE spokesperson, however, denied the allegations. He said that Mr. Saldanha and his team were asked to leave the area as they were blocking the road.

“Villagers in the area whom Mr. Saldanha abused had beaten him up. We went there to rescue him,” he added.

NICE Version as Reported In The Deccan Herald
NICE PRO Manjunath refuted the allegations. “It’s a private road. They did not take prior permission to study the project. Moreover, they parked the vehicles right in middle of the road hampering vehicular movement. Saldanha is a known opponent of NICE. None of the NICE workers either manhandled or misbehaved with woman faculty and girl students,” he added.

Police Version As Reported in the Deccan Herald
Talaghattapura police station sub inspector Manjunath also refuted the charges of Saldanha. The police rushed to the spot as soon as they were informed about the incident, he said.

Comments

City.Zen's picture

Public party on private road

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72 users have liked.
The BMIC Road is a private road and the proper way for ESG would have been to go there after seeking permission. Why did ESG behave as if it is their father's property? City Zen
City Zen
tsubba's picture

bmic

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Yeah CZ perhaps it was illegal parking, but why beat people up, they could have simply towed the vehicles no? ;) i for one, would like to see the PRR completed and put to use, while all these legal, environmental, political battles sort themselves out. once all this is settled, then they can allow NICE to collect toll and do further development. meanwhile why put people through hardship? complete the road. It is nobodies case thet PRR is not important for Bangalore.

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