Victory to women agitators! Govt. releases all protestors, agrees to halt work at Dow’s site

Shashi Sonawane
National Convenor – Yuva Bharat
February 28, 2008
Friends, as you are aware, since last night there was tension in the village of Shinde (Chakan) Dist. Pune, Maharashtra. This is the latest update.
Yesterday, the govt. tried to forcibly start construction work at the site of the proposed R&D facility of the notorious DOW Chemicals.
dow center under constructionx.jpg
Dow’s R&D construction site at Chakan, near Pune
Since the last 43 days, the villagers, who have been organised under the leadership of Justice Kolse-Patil and Com. Vilas Sonawane (Lokshashan Andolan), formed Bhamhandra Dongar Bachao Warkari Shetkari Sangharsh Samiti and had stopped any kind of construction work at the site for the last 42 days.
Villagers use bullock carts to blockade Dow’s construction site…
Yesterday, the govt. tried to start the work forcibly by terrorising the villagers. However, the same villagers who have blocked the road organised a massive protest rally. This protest meeting was addressed by Justice B.G. Kolse-Patil (President Lokshashan Andolan) and Com. Vilas Sonawane (Working President Lokshahan Andolan). Justice Kolse-Patil challenged the authorities to arrest them. However, the Police did not take any action.
Soon after the meeting, when Justice Kolse-Patil, Com. Vilas Sonawane left the place, the police took action and arrested 12 leading activists of the Bhamhandra Dongar Bachao Warkari Shetkari Sangharsh Samiti. The women protestors soon gheraoed the remaining police force, who were literally held as hostage. The women demanded the immediate release of those arrested. Till then, they refused the police force (numbering approximately 200) permission to leave the village. The situation became worse when an additional force was called. The women protestors and the other villagers were arrested after midnight between 12.30 am to 1.30 am. Around 143 villagers were arrested, including 69 women who were arrested after midnight. Police even arrested 16 children (below 18 yrs).
The fearless women of Shinde and Vasuli villages
In the morning, the tension increased manifold. Finally, due to the initiative of Justice Kolse-Patil, the police agreed to release the protestors unconditionally. They even agreed to maintain the status quo, whereby no construction work at the site shall be taken up till the govt.’s committee on this issue submits its report. Even now the road blockade is there and the protesting villagers – who have no faith in the govt., which is protecting the interests of the notorious DOW Chemical – have resolved to fight DOW and the govt. tooth and nail.
A formidable, unlikely barrier to Dow’s plans for Indian expansion
Activists of Lokshashan Andolan and Yuva Bharat are in the village and organising the protests.
Kindly go through the earlier report (below).
DOW Chemicals Go Back!
DOW Hatao Pune Bachao!
Bhamhandra Dongar Bachao Warkari Shetkari Sangharsh Samiti Zindabad!
Jai Tukoba Jai Shivraya!
dow go backxx.jpg
Dow go back!
The latest information about anti-DOW struggle.

17 villagers have been arrested by the Police in Shinde. They have been kept in Chakan Police Station. Women protestors have still gheraod the police at Shinde. Police planning brutal action against the women. Anything can happen in the coming hours. Kindly circulate this message and help as you can in this situation of crisis.

Shashi Sonawane

The list of 17 villagers who have been arrested.

Shantaram Panmand, Vithal Panmand, Gorakshnath Panmand, Balu Timghire, Navnath Ghanvat, Ankush Ghanvat, Fakira Tamboli, Babaji Mhatale, Subhash Panmand, Shrikant Gaikwad, Suresh Gaikwad, Kisan Karle, Mahadu Panmand, Kailash Panmand, Shivnath Panmand, Tukaram
Mhatale, Narayan Mhatale

Dear Friends,

Police action against the protestors who are opposing the coming up of so-called R&D facility of notorious DOW Chemicals

As you all, an R&D plant of notorious DOW chemicals is proposed at Shinde and Vasuli villages of Khed taluka in Pune district. The farmers have come together and formed Bhamchandra Dongar Bachao Warkari Shetkari Sangharsh Samiti under the leadership of Justice B.G.Kolse-Patil (retd.) and have been opposing the coming up of the facility. Since 16th January, the villagers had stopped construction work at the site. Even the suppliers have boycotted supply of raw material to the site. However, the govt. has been making every effort to somehow start the work.
Villagers have been opposing the chemical plant on valid grounds to which the govt. has no answers. The notorious DOW has not taken any responsiblity of Bhopal Gas Victims.

The details of the agitation have been sent to all you regularly. On 23rd Feb, 2008, the organisations, concerned citizens of Pune had come together under the banner of DOW Hatao Pune Bachao and demonstrated against the proposed DOW R&D facility. After consistent agitation, the govt appointed a committee to look into the matter. On 25th Feb, in its second meeting, the govt. officials were not able to give satisfactory answers to queries by villagers pertaining to the hazardous chemicals to be used, the project report, about disposal of chemical wastage, emissions, environmental impact etc.

The issue is yet to be sorted out and now the govt. has resorted to represssive action for the vested interests of a notorious company like DOW which has been responsible for making chemical warfare materials and other hazardous chemicals and has never taken any responsiblity for its criminal acts.

Today at this moment police have taken brutal action against the peaceful protestors of the village of Shinde and the surrounding villages of Bhamchandra Dongar in Chakan (Pune). Today, in the morning, police forcibly tried to start the work of DOW Chemicals. Villagers opposed this move. Large number of villagers, farmers and warkaris of the surrounding villages assembled at Shinde (at the site) and a massive protest meeting was organised under the leadership of Justice B.G. Kolse-Patil (retd.), Com. Vilas Sonawane (Lokshashan Andolan.
Following the meeting, in the evening police arrested 7 villagers and took them to an unknown place (Right now we are trying to trace
them and worried about their security). Around 400 women have now gheraoed the Police who are there for bandobast in large numbers. The women have demanded the immediate release of those 7 villagers who have been arrested. Police are using brutal force against women (without sufficient women constables being mobilised). There is a tension in the village and we fear for the security
and well-being of the women protesters.

List of those arrested –

Shantaram Panmand, Vithal Panmand, Balu Timghire, Navnath Ghanvatm Ankush Ghanvat, Pradip Tamboli, Babaji Mhatale, Subhash Panmand, Shrikant Gaikwad, Suresh Gaikwad, Kisan Karle, Mahadu Panmand.

On one side, the govt. claims that Maharashtra is a progressive state, it is the land of saints and warkaris and on the other hand it is shamelessly unleashing a reign of terror on the warkaris and shetkaris of these villages for the sake of a foreign company like DOW, which has only worked against humanity. The Govt. is trying to give the land of Saint Tukaram Maharaj to the notorious DOW Chemicals.

We appeal to all of you to support this struggle and pressurise the govt. to stop the Singur-Nandigram style police attack on peaceful agitators in the Bhamchandra Dongar area.

Stop the brutal police action against the warkaris-shetkaris!
DOW Chemicals Go Back!
Release the those arrested immediately!
Immediately stop the Police action at the village Shinde against the women protestors!

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