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16 Nov 2018

Sikh Siyasat Burea, India

India: Amnesty urges investigation into attack on activists in coal mining district

Amnesty urges Meghalaya to investigate attacks on activists for exposing illegal coal mining,

10 November 2018

The grievous attack on activist Anges Kharshiing and her two aides -- Amita Sangma and Emiki Kurbah -- in Meghalaya, highlights a pattern of reprisals against activists who are standing up against injustice and exposing corruption in the state, said Amnesty India.

Activists working against rampant illegal coal mining in Meghalaya are under serious threat. There seems to be a nexus between the authorities and the 'coal mafia' in the state, which has resulted in a culture of impunity. Those responsible for this brutal attack must be brought to justice. 

On 8 November, 58-year-old activist, Agnes Kharshiing... and her aides were attacked by a mob…while taking photos of ‘coal dumping’ in the East Jaintia hills in the state. [Ms. Kharshiing] has been admitted in a hospital in Shillong with serious head injuries. Her condition continues to be critical while her two aides are stable...

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2014 had banned ‘rat-hole’ mining of coal in the state. Among a range of violations, this form of mining also exploits children who are made to work in such mines. Agnes Kharshiing was running a campaign against the illegal coal mining in the state…Kharshiing had lodged a complaint regarding coal-laden trucks in the region, a day before she was attacked…