|"Many energy companies have invested in closed or repressive countries -- arguing that their investment would help develop the local economy and thereby improve the human rights situation. But in this case, Enron has invested in a democratic country -- and human rights abuses there have increased. Enron hasn't made things better for human rights; it has made things worse."||
Ratnagiri: Violations of Human Rights 1997
Table of Contents
Appendix A: Correspondence Between Human Rights Watch and the Export-Import Bank of the United States
Appendix D: Correspondence Between the Government of India and the World Bank
V. Ratnagiri: Violations of Human Rights 1997
Beginning in 1994, when construction of the Dabhol Power project began in Ratnagiri, local farmers, shop-keepers, fisherpeople, politicians, and other residents of the district staged protests against it. Protests ceased in 1995 through the end of 1996, because construction at the site was suspended due to the cancellation of the project by the Shiv Sena-BJP government and during consideration of the CITU case.
If the police actually bring people for treatment, they may bring them to the government hospital. I have seen at least ten to fifteen people over the last year who were brought by the police after demonstrations. All of these people had injuries consistent with beatings by lathis: contusions, abrasions, cuts. Two people had fractures on their arms and hands because of beatings with lathis. When people are brought by police, the doctors do not take medical histories, they just treat their wounds. The police will take their information at the station and tell the hospital people to just treat them.112
The abuses took place in the context of a state of emergency that had been imposed for DPCs benefit, and those responsible were state agents acting at the companys request with additional surveillance provided by DPC.
After a brutal police raid on June 3, 1997 (see below), demonstrations became less frequent, because villagers feared the repressive tactics of police and many were facing charges still under adjudication. However, local opposition to the project remained strong. Ataman More, a local leader of the opposition to the project, told Human Rights Watch in early 1998, [P]eople still oppose the projectand protests could intensify except for the police atrocities and harassment.113 Prohibitory orders were still being renewed at fifteen-day intervals, and criminal proceedings against opponents of the Dabhol Power project continued to be adjudicated.114
This report focuses on a series of thirty demonstrations that took placeat the height of opposition to the Dabhol Power projectbetween January 13 and June 1997 in Guhagar and Chiplun, population centers in Ratnagiri district.
112 Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. S.B. Bhale, Guhagar village, February 15, 1998. 113 Human Rights Watch interview with Ataman More, Veldur village, February 14, 1998. 114 Indian Peoples Tribunal for Human Rights, Submission on Enron in India, April 17, 1998, p. 4.