Illegal mining and village protest in Caurem, Goa, India

State violence in 2016 against tribal leaders in Caurem village in Goa who want to stop illegal iron ore mining and transport.


Ravindra Velip, tribal activist and panch of Caurem village, was arrested on March 21 2016 along with other villagers, after they stopped trucks transporting ore from the Fomento-owned mine in the village. They were released on bail but arrested again the next day, when they once again stopped the trucks. Political parties, civil society groups and NGOs came down heavily on the Goa government after 26 March 2016, condemning the attack on Ravindra Velip while he was in judicial custody in Sada jail in south Goa. The Goa Foundation, an environmental NGO which has taken illegal mining in the state to the Supreme Court, demanded an inquiry by the Inspector General of Police (Prisons) into how unauthorised persons could enter the premises, blindfolded Velip and beat him up mercilessly. “The assault could only have been possible because of the collusion of the jail authorities. It was therefore premeditated,” Goa Foundation director Claude Alvares claimed, adding that the incident will delay total resumption of mining operations indefinitely. “Velip has consistently exposed illegalities committed by mining lease holders in Caurem. It was due to the efforts of his group that authorities located lakhs of tonnes of iron ore illegally extracted and hidden in artificial mountains under layers of mud after mining was suspended by the government,” Alvares said.

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Basic Data
NameIllegal mining and village protest in Caurem, Goa, India
SiteCaurem, Quepem Taluk
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Mineral ore exploration
Specific CommoditiesIron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe Fomento mining company. In the Cauvrem-Pirla Panchayat there are five mining companies which are operating:

1. Minescape Minerals Pvt Ltd which had leased land from one Jairam Neogi; the TC no was 59/51

2. the Devapan ou Devadongar Iron and Manganese Ore Mine TC No 01/51

3. Ajit Kadnekar owned land on which Magnum Mines TC No. 12/52

4. G N Agarwal owned on which Fomentos TC 06/61

5. Zolerancho Dongar mine

Caurem tribal village has a population of 1200. The propose cooperative iron ore mining.
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population1200
Start Date01/01/2009
Company Names or State EnterprisesFomento from India
Relevant government actorsSada sub-jail, Goa Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, State Govenrment of Goa, Inspector General of Prisons, Directorate of Mines and Geology in Goa, Director General of Police (Panaji), the Police Inspector of Mormugao Police Station (Mormugao) and Chief Secretary (Porvorim), Indian Bureau of Mines, Ministry of Environment and Forests and epartments of State viz. the Forest Department, the Goa Pollution Control Board and the Department of Mines and Geology
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGoa Foundation, Federation of Rainbow Warriors, Caurem Adivasi Bachao Samiti, Caurem-Pirla Panchayat, Goa State Schedule Tribe Action Committee
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills, Other Environmental impacts
OtherThe springs of the villages went dry due to pumping of the water from mining pits; the mines were operating below the water table. None of the mining company has implemented its mining closure plan and because of siltation during monsoon season, many fertile fields have been destroyed.
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts
Potential: Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Specific impacts on women, Increase in violence and crime
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Development of AlternativesCo-operative mining, proposed by the village assembly
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The protests by tribal leaders against illegal iron mining carried our by the Fomento company and others have been met by state violence. Villagers of Caurem were on the forefront already in 2012 to point out illegal mining going on in their village. While local leader Nilesh Gaonkar was mercilessly beaten up in 2012, in 2016 Ravindra Velip was assaulted in a judicial lock up after police arrested him and other villagers for stopping the ore transport.
Sources and Materials

For background, book review by Sudhirendar Sharma 9 Jan. 2016 of Hartman de Souza, "Eat Dust. Mining and Greed in Goa".
[click to view]


Goanews, 18 April 2016, Caurem tribals march to Panaji, approaching SC to expose illegalities
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The Herald, Goa, Can this government give Ravindra Velip and Caurem some answers? 26 Mar, 2016.
[click to view]

Struggle Of Caurem Village In Goa And State Repression, by Vasudha Sawaiker. 30 March, 2016.
[click to view]

The Hindu (Panaji), March 26, 2016, Goa: parties, NGOs condemn attack on activist, by Prakash Kamat
[click to view]

Ramachandra Guha in the Hindustan Times, 23 April 2016, report of a visit to Goa including Caurem village.
[click to view]

Other Documents

Ravindra Velip (Caurem village, Goa) in April 2016
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorRadhika Mulay & JMA
Last update29/11/2016