Friday, August 30th, 2013

‘Phulbari Day’ 2013 observed:’Ban Open pit, Oust Asia Energy (GCM)’

 

‘Ban Open pit, Oust Asia Energy (GCM), Stop illegal share business on Phulbari coal mine by GCM’

‘No power plant by destroying Sundarban’

 

Thousands of people demand these on Phulbari day, tougher agitation threatened, and call to join Dhaka-Sundarban Long March on September 24-28, 2013

The people of Phulbari and different organizations including National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports (National Committee) observed the ‘Phulbari Day’ on August 26, 2013, in Phulbari, Dhaka and around the country in remembrance of the peoples uprising against disastrous open-pit coal-mining bid by a foreign company Asia Energy (now GCM) at Phulbari in northern district Dinajpur that sparked on August 26, 2006.

On this day in 2006, the National Committee declared a ‘gherao’ (siege) of the Asia Energy field office in Phulbari to press its demand for cancellation of the project. From the morning, processions came streaming into the town, gathered at the Phulbari Dhaka moar and GM Pilot High School. Thousands more were blocked in different intersections by Police and RAB. A procession of nearly 80 thousand women men Bangalee and indigenous people started around 2.30 pm towards the Asia Energy office. Police and BDR obstructed them on the way at the bridge over Choto Jomuna River after Nimtali corner. After getting assurance from the district administration about withdrawal of Asia energy from the area, the organizers declared end of the programme with relevant ultimatum. After few moments, BDR, the then paramilitary forces fired on the protesters.

Three young boys– Tariqul, Amin and Salekin– were killed on the spot and hundreds were injured, 50 were bullet-hit, and 200 others injured in baton charge when law enforcers turned brutal on the agitators who joined the gathering. It was cold-blooded murder on behalf of the Asia Energy to terrorize agitating people. Section 144 was declared in the area, thousands of RAB, BDR and police were mobilized to suppress people’s agitation. But people did not stop. 

The protestors called strike for an indefinite period in areas surrounding Phulbari. Roads and rail routes to and from Phulbari were blocked. Asia Energy officials fled from the area, BDR were withdrawn on August 28. Protestors were in control of all the four thanas and the town. People all over the country including capital city Dhaka expressed their solidarity by different means. National Committee declared countrywide strike on 30 August, 2006.

After days of strikes and of protest demonstrations, the then BNP-led government signed a six-point agreement on August 30 with the protesters, spearheaded by the national committee to expel Asia Energy from Bangladesh and ban on open-pit mining.

The former opposition leader and the present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited Phulbari on September 4, 2006, and expressed her strong support for the Phulbari agreement for cancelling the contract with Asia Energy for mining the Phulbari coal-field and for banning open-pit mining. She also made strong commitment to implement the agreement after coming to power.

The people have not forgotten the Phulbari killing, uprising, and about this agreement and also about the commitment. These all are living in their memory. Therefore people have expressed their anger at the non-implementation of the main articles of the agreement. Asia Energy (GCM) is still trying to find ground with the money they are making in fraudulent share market business. They are hiring criminals and consultants to campaign and spread lies. But all of their attempts were foiled by the people.     

The people in Phulbari and around the country carried out different programmes on 26 August this year, including hoisting of black flag, wearing black badges, mourning and protest rally, placing floral wreaths on the martyrs memorial and discussions to mark the day. About ten thousand people from Phulbari, Nawabganj, Parbatipur and Birampur upazillas joined the programme at Phulbari. Elected representatives, Upazilla Chairperson Aminul Islam Bablu and Mayor of Phulbari Manik Sarkar led different processions to demand ban on open pit mining and expulsion of Asia energy (GCM) from the country. Different chapters of National Committee around the country took similar programmes including at Dhaka central Shahid Minar.

In the memorial meeting at Phulbari, National Committee threatened to launch a tougher agitation programme if Phulbari agreement is not implemented by the remaining months of this government. They also demanded to stop fraudulent share business by GCM on Phulbari coal mine in London AIM. The leaders of the committee reminded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that she was committed to implement the Phulbari agreement which was signed between the former BNP-led government and the National Committee in 2006 on the issue.

National Committee also declared Dhaka-Sundarban long march on September 24-28 to mount pressure on the government to cancel the Rampal coal fired power plant that would destroy Sundarban, to meet the 7 point demands of the National Committee including implementation of Phulbari agreement, peoples ownership over their own resources, ensure energy security, cancel bad deals, to ban export of mineral resources and strengthening national capability.

 

The people of Phulbari and different organizations including National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports (National Committee) observed the ‘Phulbari Day’ on August 26, 2013, in Phulbari, Dhaka and around the country in remembrance of the peoples uprising against disastrous open-pit coal-mining bid by a foreign company Asia Energy (now GCM) at Phulbari in northern district Dinajpur that sparked on August 26, 2006.

On this day in 2006, the National Committee declared a ‘gherao’ (siege) of the Asia Energy field office in Phulbari to press its demand for cancellation of the project. From the morning, processions came streaming into the town, gathered at the Phulbari Dhaka moar and GM Pilot High School. Thousands more were blocked in different intersections by Police and RAB. A procession of nearly 80 thousand women men Bangalee and indigenous people started around 2.30 pm towards the Asia Energy office. Police and BDR obstructed them on the way at the bridge over Choto Jomuna River after Nimtali corner. After getting assurance from the district administration about withdrawal of Asia energy from the area, the organizers declared end of the programme with relevant ultimatum. After few moments, BDR, the then paramilitary forces fired on the protesters.

Three young boys– Tariqul, Amin and Salekin– were killed on the spot and hundreds were injured, 50 were bullet-hit, and 200 others injured in baton charge when law enforcers turned brutal on the agitators who joined the gathering. It was cold-blooded murder on behalf of the Asia Energy to terrorize agitating people. Section 144 was declared in the area, thousands of RAB, BDR and police were mobilized to suppress people’s agitation. But people did not stop. 

The protestors called strike for an indefinite period in areas surrounding Phulbari. Roads and rail routes to and from Phulbari were blocked. Asia Energy officials fled from the area, BDR were withdrawn on August 28. Protestors were in control of all the four thanas and the town. People all over the country including capital city Dhaka expressed their solidarity by different means. National Committee declared countrywide strike on 30 August, 2006.

After days of strikes and of protest demonstrations, the then BNP-led government signed a six-point agreement on August 30 with the protesters, spearheaded by the national committee to expel Asia Energy from Bangladesh and ban on open-pit mining.

The former opposition leader and the present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited Phulbari on September 4, 2006, and expressed her strong support for the Phulbari agreement for cancelling the contract with Asia Energy for mining the Phulbari coal-field and for banning open-pit mining. She also made strong commitment to implement the agreement after coming to power.

The people have not forgotten the Phulbari killing, uprising, and about this agreement and also about the commitment. These all are living in their memory. Therefore people have expressed their anger at the non-implementation of the main articles of the agreement. Asia Energy (GCM) is still trying to find ground with the money they are making in fraudulent share market business. They are hiring criminals and consultants to campaign and spread lies. But all of their attempts were foiled by the people.     

The people in Phulbari and around the country carried out different programmes on 26 August this year, including hoisting of black flag, wearing black badges, mourning and protest rally, placing floral wreaths on the martyrs memorial and discussions to mark the day. About ten thousand people from Phulbari, Nawabganj, Parbatipur and Birampur upazillas joined the programme at Phulbari. Elected representatives, Upazilla Chairperson Aminul Islam Bablu and Mayor of Phulbari Manik Sarkar led different processions to demand ban on open pit mining and expulsion of Asia energy (GCM) from the country. Different chapters of National Committee around the country took similar programmes including at Dhaka central Shahid Minar.

In the memorial meeting at Phulbari, National Committee threatened to launch a tougher agitation programme if Phulbari agreement is not implemented by the remaining months of this government. They also demanded to stop fraudulent share business by GCM on Phulbari coal mine in London AIM. The leaders of the committee reminded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that she was committed to implement the Phulbari agreement which was signed between the former BNP-led government and the National Committee in 2006 on the issue.

National Committee also declared Dhaka-Sundarban long march on September 24-28 to mount pressure on the government to cancel the Rampal coal fired power plant that would destroy Sundarban, to meet the 7 point demands of the National Committee including implementation of Phulbari agreement, peoples ownership over their own resources, ensure energy security, cancel bad deals, to ban export of mineral resources and strengthening national capability.