Gregory Patrao’s stir grows stronger day by day

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Mangalore, 29 June 2010: International Federation of Karnataka Christian Associations, Mangalore Catholic Mahila Sanghatane, Catholic Sabha, Krishi Bhumi Samrakshana Samiti and Bharathiya Catholic Yuva Sanghatane staged a protest to show solidarity with Gregory Patrao on 13th day of hunger strike of the Patraos outside Deputy Commissioner’s office on Tuesday. 

Addressing the gathering, Gregory Patrao narrating his hard luck story, said that seeing more and more people supporting him, MSEZ has started misleading the people by letting out false information.

“MSEZ PRO has dispersed press releases to media stating that my land has not been acquired for MSEZ at all,” Gregory said and challenged the PRO to come in person and talk to him so that he can prove with documents that the land was acquired for MSEZ. “Let them stop speaking lies. If they do not want my land, then why have they destroyed my land and house. Why don’t they hand it over to me,” questioned Gregory saying that his fight will continue till he gets justice.

The entire episode of how Gregory’s house was demolished amidst fierce resistance from family members, which was recorded on the spot was played at the protest venue. The video was heart wrenching and eyes of the protesters turned moist seeing how the protectors themselves resorted to high handed methods to vacate a poor farmer.

International Federation of Karnataka Christian Associations Co-ordinator Louis Lobo said that it is a good example for fence eating away the farm. “The authorities on the first place did not give Gregory an opportunity to utilise his right to move to the court. Now after Gregory’s movement gained momentum and support, the officials are asking him to come and collect his belongings. The authorities should come and hand it over to Gregory,” Lobo said.

Olinda Periera, Founder and Director, Vishwas Trust and Philomena D’Souza from Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (DCCW), Rev Dr Honey Cabral, Principal, Karnataka Theological College, Sunil D’Costa of  International Federation of Karnataka Christian Associations among others were present pushing for Gregory’s demands that he and his family must be allowed to reside and continue agricultural activities undisturbed on their property (14.27 acres) and status quo should be maintained, until all legal options available to them are explored, his belongings must be returned in its original form, suitable compensation should be paid for lost and damaged articles and the hardship the family has been put through, criminal cases lodged against Gregory Patrao, his mother and others should be withdrawn immediately and individual officers responsible for such acts as the illegal confiscation of Gregory Patrao and his family’s personal belongings and agricultural produce, and the hasty demolition of the homestead with the help of hoodlums should be held personally responsible and suitable punitive action should be initiated against them.


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