‘Coal mafia killed Sr. Valsa John’

November 30, 2011 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india, Orissa, Persecution

Baby John-brother of Sr. Valsa John

Baby John, brother of Sr. Valsa John

West Bengal, November 29, 2011: Baby John, brother of Sr. Valsa John, has claimed that his sister was killed by the coal mafia for whom she had become a “nuisance”.

“She had been under constant threat from Penam Coal Limited and had even told us about it when she visited us last,” he told ucanews.com.

John said that he is sad to have lost his sister but was proud of the fact that she stood steadfast for her mission.

Sr. John, who was brutally hacked to death on November 15, had been working among the tribal communities in Jharkands’s coal rich region of Santhal Parganas in Pachwara for the last 20 years.

Since early 2000, Penam Coal Mine Limited, a project of Punjab state electricity board and EMTA (Eastern Minerals and Trading Agency) from West Bengal, has been operating mines in the coal reserve of Pachwara and 32 surrounding villages.

To defend their rights over their land and its resources, the Santhal adivasi community had formed the Rajmahal Pahad Bachao Andolan.

Sr Valsa along with others worked to organise the community and were in the forefront of the resistance that was building against the exploitation by the coal company.

Despite the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the local community and Panem coal in 2006, tension had been mounting in the area, especially with regard to betrayal by the company.

John said that there were many incidents where the nun had raised her voice in support of the tribals which “provoked some influential people to eliminate her”.

– bijay kumar minj

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