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Cover-up of uranium news in India

As we shuttled between the police station and the district court in Jamshedpur for a week to get our equipment back, we got a glimpse into the kind of helplessness local villagers experience throughout their lives. If a journalist working for a national newsmagazine could be arrested and booked for visiting villages that have an overview of the mine, who would listen to the villagers?

Uranium mines afecting health of workers and local communities, India Info Online, 20 Sept 10, “…….UCIL seems to believe that national interest overrides the baggage of liabilities the pursuit of nuclear ambitions carries. Is it in our national interest to stand by silently as this scenario plays out in other uranium mines in the next year?

OVERZEALOUS STATE CLAMPED DOWN ON US BEFORE LEAVING Delhi, my appointment had been fixed for 4 September with Ramendra Gupta, chairman of Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL), at the corporate office in Jaduguda. A day before, en route, 30 km from Jamshedpur, we were surveying the mines from a vantage point when CISF personnel told me, the freelance photographer and our local guide that we were trespassing on UCIL territory. They took us in their jeep to their campus. We were detained for hours, waiting for a ‘routine identification procedure’ by UCIL officials, who never turned up.

Four hours later, we were handed over to the police. My press card did not satisfy them. Charges of trespassing, photography and ‘disobedience to a public servant’ were slapped on us. Our equipment was seized. The Sundernagar Police Station in-charge persistently asked us if we were American agents. He wanted to see our cell phones so that he could verify whether we had received calls from the US. Meanwhile, my editors had appealed to all the relevant authorities, including the Jharkhand DIG, Jamshedpur SP and the CISF DIG. They contacted several ministers, including officials in the home ministry.

Thanks to these interventions, we were bailed out after nearly 12 hours…..As we shuttled between the police station and the district court in Jamshedpur for a week to get our equipment back, we got a glimpse into the kind of helplessness local villagers experience throughout their lives. If a journalist working for a national newsmagazine could be arrested and booked for visiting villages that have an overview of the mine, who would listen to the villagers? Later, when I interviewed the UCIL officials, one of them asked, “Why couldn’t you just ask us to show you around? Why were you so curious?” So, what should have we done? Behave like an embedded journalist in Iraq? PHOTOS: VINAY UPADHYAY

Uranium mines afecting health of workers and local communities

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September 21, 2010 - Posted by | India, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Uranium | , , , , , , ,

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