An anti-sand mining activist was hacked to death on June 2 in Ilayanur village of Ramanathapuram district in Tamil Nadu. Three people have surrendered and the police are in search of four more accused in the murder. The sand mining mafia has been active in the district for more than a decade allegedly with the support of the administration and the officials.
B Mohan, a former village head and an anti-sand mining activist was reportedly forcefully drowned and beaten up with iron rods for questioning the mining gang. He along with few of his friends had questioned the mining gang when they went to take bath in a pond. On hearing sounds of JCBs being operated from a nearby pond, they rushed to the spot and opposed the illegal mining of sand by the gang. This led to an altercation and ended in the murder of Mohan.
The gang reportedly isolated the activist by chasing away his friends from the spot. They allegedly took his body in a car and threw it near the Ramanathapuram Government Hospital before fleeing the scene. Five others who accompanied Mohan were also severely injured during the attack. The victim’s relatives blocked the road and even poured kerosene on their bodies in a bid to immolate themselves condemning the inaction of the police.
An anti-sand mining activist told NewsClick, “Illegal sand mining has been happening in the district for years with the blessings of government officials and officers. There is news that the mining mafia has the blessings of a state minister from the district. The government’s inaction too justifies the accusation of the general public and the opposition parties. While the government took severe action against the people who used bullock carts for taking sand, it continues to maintain silence on massive mining.”
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He also said, “A deputy tahsildar in Kadaladi area took severe action and managed to prevent these groups from mining, but he was transferred to another location. If a deputy tahsildar can stop mining why can’t the state government take action against the perpetrators? All these incidents force us to point fingers at the state government for its silence on the issue. This large scale sand mining also leads to water scarcity in an already water deficient district.”
The government of Tamil Nadu has been accused of being insensitive to major issues affecting the people from all quarters. Despite the illegal sand mining claiming the life of an activist the government and the administration remain apathetic towards the issue.
Also read: India’s Rivers in Ruined Condition Due to Unchecked Illegal Sand Mining