Resisting a coal plant can be a deadly action in Bangladesh. Yesterday in Banskhali (in the Chittagong district of Bangladesh) more than 1000 people marched against the building of a 1224 MW coal plant defying a police order banning any marches and rallies in the area. Around 3pm when people were mobilising peacefully, the police fired live rounds on them killing three people on the spot. Panicked villagers ran for their lives leaving the three dead bodies behind. But they say eight people have been shot dead and two more are missing. Two Chinese firms are backing the coal project — SEPCOIII Electric Power and HTG — who are financing $1.75 billion of the plants’ estimated $2.4 billion cost.
The proposed plant is located in the Chittagong district of Bangladesh.
Resistance against the coal plant in Banskhali has been building up over the past week. People have been regularly marching despite threats from company goons and police. To protect the company’s interest the police had banned any assembly or marches in the area. Incidents of violence had followed, but what happened today is unprecedented.
Resistance against fossil fuel based projects has been growing in Bangladesh. In Banskhali, the people have been resisting the S.Alam group’s coal plant for two years. The coal plant will be built on fertile farmland and doesn’t even spare mosques and temples in the area. The villagers say without farmland they won’t have any work. In 2012-13, a sustained movement forced the government to pull back from open-pit mining in Phulbari. In spite of violence and threats, the movement against a coal plant in Sundarbans is continuing.
An investor or company, state-run or otherwise, should realise that it is unacceptable to be involved with this kind of brutality anywhere in the world.