Geoff Law

  • published Adani’s burgeoning love affair with coal in Blog 2021-06-11 09:49:54 +1000

    Adani’s burgeoning love affair with coal

    On 5 June 2021, World Environment Day, Gautam Adani tweeted in favour of clean, green energy, pledging to accelerate its development. On the face of it, this is a positive statement. Dig a little deeper, however, and you find unadulterated greenwash.

    The Adani Group is wedded to coal. It is investing in new coal mines, new coal power stations, new markets for coal-fired power, and new infrastructure for transporting coal. It is doing so in Australia, India and Bangladesh. This comes on top of the Group’s set of coal mines and coal power stations that are already operating in Indonesia and India. Adani is also participating in the Indian Government’s auction of coal blocks, a process aimed at encouraging the exploitation and burning of India’s extensive untapped reserves of coal.

    The Group operates coal power station whose capacity exceeds 12 GW. Another 7 GW of coal-fired capacity are in the pipeline. Coal mines operated by Adani extract 25 million tonnes of coal each year. An addition of 75-125 million tonnes per annum from new mines (including the infamous Carmichael mine in Queensland) is proposed. The Adani Group is investing in new coal-transport infrastructure across India and in Queensland.

    Gautam Adani's tweet on World Environment Day 2021

    Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine in Queensland is notorious. But this is just one of the Adani Group’s multitude of coal-based enterprises. The list below is not necessarily comprehensive:

     

    Existing Adani Coal Mines (about 25 million tonnes per annum)

    Parsa East & Kanta Basan Coal Block (India)

    Situated in the Hasdeo Aranya forests of Chhattisgarh, this mine commenced production in 2013, is operated by Adani on behalf of a Rajasthan power authority, and has the capacity to extract 15 million tonnes of coal per annum. The mine has destroyed forests that are a physical and spiritual resource for the local Gond people.

    The Parsa East & Kanta Basan mine, Hasdeo forests, Chhattisgarh. Image Abir Dasgupta

    Gare Pelma-III Coal Block (India)

    Located in the midst of a dense cluster of coal mines and coal power stations in Chhattisgarh, the Gare Pelma III mine has a capacity of 5 million tonnes per annum and is operated by Adani on behalf of a state-owed electricity company. It is likely that this mine has contributed to adverse health effects that have been documented by health professionals monitoring the local population.

    Lamindo Inter Multikon Coal Mine (Indonesia)

    Located on Bunyu (North Kalimantan), a small island at the mouth of one of Borneo’s big rivers, this mine produces about 5 million tonnes of coal per annum. A community advocacy group has argued that the mine violates a regulation aimed at protecting small islands from mining. The overall impacts of mining on the island have been blamed for degradation of water supplies, fishing resources, forests and local food production.

    Adani's coal mine on the island of Bunyu, North Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo courtesy JATAM

    Existing Adani Coal Power Stations (total capacity 12.5 GW)

    Mundra (India)

    The enormous Mundra power plant (4620 MW) is part of Adani’s sprawling port complex at Mundra (Gujarat). Operation of the power plant (with its fumes, fly ash and coal dust) has contributed to local health problems, as documented by expert reports quoted in this AdaniWatch story.

    Tiroda (India)

    Located in the state of Maharashtra, the Tiroda coal power station has a total capacity of 3300 MW.

    Kawai (India)

    The Kawai coal power station in Rajasthan has a capacity of 1320 MW.

    Udupi (India)

    The Udupi coal power station in Karnataka has a capacity of 1200 MW.

    Raipur (India)

    According to Adani's website, Adani operates a 1370MW coal-based plant near Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh.

    Raigarh (India)

    According to Adani's website, Adani operates a 600MW coal-based plant near Raigarh, part of a cluster of coal mines, coal power plants and other coal infrastructure that has been blamed for the bad health of part of the local populace.

     

    Existing Adani Coal Transport Infrastructure

    Abbot Point Port (Australia)

    The Abbot Point port, rebranded by Adani as the North Queensland Export Terminal, has the capacity to export 50 million tonnes of coal per annum. The terminal is 100% owned by the Adani Group, and while the company’s website studiously avoids use of the word ‘coal’, that is the main product exported. It is the proposed destination for coal from the proposed Carmichael mine via the Carmichael rail project (above). From Abbot Point, Adani’s coal would be exported to its Dhamra port in India (below).

    Dhamra Port (India)

    Situated in the north-eastern Indian state of Odisha, Adani’s Dhamra port is the intended entry point for coal from the proposed Carmichael mine. From here, the coal would be railed approximately 700 km (past many existing coal mines) to Adani’s proposed coal-fired power station at Godda (see below). The Dhamra port occurs in a tropical setting of estuaries, mangroves, islets, beaches and sandbars that comprise important habitat for the vulnerable Olive Ridley sea-turtle.

    Dhamra port (Odisha), north-east coast of India

    Mundra Port (India)

    According to Adani, Mundra is India’s largest commercial port and the ‘world’s largest import coal terminal’. The coal is imported for Adani’s Mundra power plant (see above) and for the huge coal power station owned by Tata. According to numerous reports, port construction here has destroyed great swathes of the coastal environment of the biodiverse Gulf of Kutch in the Indian state of Gujarat.

    Mormugao Port (India)

    According to Adani, Mormugao port (in the state of Goa) is a ‘fully mechanised coal-handling facility’ and a ‘strategically located coal terminal on the South-West coast of India’. Local opposition to the expansion of coal-handling facilities and coal-transport railways in the hinterland have led to passionate outbursts of protest by the people of Goa.

    Tuna Port (India)

    According to Adani, its Tuna port (Gujarat) handles coal.

    Vizag Terminal (India)

    According to Adani, the Vizag terminal in Andhra Pradesh was developed to handle steam coal and has a coal-storage yard of 25 acres.

    Krishnapatnam Port (India)

    According to Adani, the Krishnapatnam port (Andrha Pradesh) has been equipped to enable ‘faster discharge of coal cargo’.

     

    Proposed New Coal Mines (between 75 and 125 million tonnes per annum in total)

    The Carmichael Coal Mine (Australia)

    Located in north-central Queensland, the proposed Carmichael coal mine (under development) is currently licensed to export 10 million tonnes of coal per annum, but if the mine proceeds, this could increase to 60 million tonnes per annum (the original proposed amount). It could also pave the way for additional massive coal mines in the Galilee Basin, a giant coal deposit that is currently undeveloped. The business plan for the Carmichael mine is heavily dependent on taxpayer subsidies. However, the coal mine has effectively been subject to a boycott by financial institutions around the world, putting strain on the Adani Group’s continued support for the project. As well as the obvious and substantial climate impacts, the mine would also destroy local habitat and culturally important Country of the indigenous Wangan & Jagalingou people.

    Parsa Coal Block (India)

    According to Adani, this proposed mine in the Hasdeo Aranya forests of Chhattisgarh would produce 5 million tonnes of coal per annum.

    Kente Extension Coal Block (India)

    According to Adani, this proposed mine in the Hasdeo Aranya forests of Chhattisgarh would produce 7 million tonnes of coal per annum.

    Elephant habitat and coal country collide in the Hasdeo forests, Chhattisgarh, site of proposed new coal mines by Adani. Photo Brian Cassey, www.briancasseyphotographer.com

    Gidhmuri Paturia Coal Block (India)

    According to Adani, this proposed mine in the state of Chhattisgarh would produce 5.6 million tonnes of coal per annum.

    Gare Pelma-I Coal Block (India)

    According to Adani, this proposed mine in the state of Chhattisgarh would produce 5.6 million tonnes of coal per annum.

    Gare Pelma-II Coal Block (India)

    According to Adani, this proposed mine in the state of Chhattisgarh would produce a colossal 23 million tonnes of coal per annum. It would add prodigiously to the environmental and health impacts already documented by health professionals in the Raigarh region of Chhattisgarh.

    Talabira II & III Coal Block (India)

    According to Adani, this proposed mine located in the state of Odisha would produce an enormous 20 million tonnes of coal per annum. Development of the site has provoked opposition and protests by indigenous farmers.

    Gondulpara (India)

    According to media reports, the Adani Group won a contract for the Gondulpara coal block in the state of Jharkhand. It is reported that the mine has geological reserves of 176 million tonnes of coal.

     

    Proposed New Coal Power Stations

    Godda Coal Power Station (India)

    Under construction near the town of Godda in the north-eastern Indian state of Jharkhand, the Godda power station would, if completed, be the final destination for coal from Adani’s proposed Carmichael mine (above). Located in its own ‘special economic zone’, the 1600MW plant would export power to Bangladesh under an arrangement which exempts the Adani Group from most of the customs duties and other taxes that would ordinarily apply to such developments. Reports have been published of dirty tricks and coercion used by local authorities to acquire the land from the local indigenous farmers. AdaniWatch visited villages adjacent to the Godda construction site in February 2020.

    An Adivasi (indigenous) farmer at a family grave plot - over the fence is land confiscated for Adani's Godda power plant. Photo Geoff Law

    Pench (Chhindwara) Coal Power Station (India)

    In the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, the proposed 1320MW Pench power plant (otherwise known as the Chhindwara power plant) has become mired in controversy and court cases pertaining to its environmental approval and the displacement of local farmers. In 2011 and 2015, protest leaders were viciously assaulted by assailants described as ‘company goons’. Work (other than a boundary wall and some administration buildings) has yet to commence on the tainted proposal.

    Villagers (including some injured by pro-Adani assailants) march in protest at Adani's proposed Pench power station near Chhindwara. Photo courtesy KSS

    Dahej, Udupi Expansion and Kawai Expansion Coal Power Stations (India)

    Dahej (Gujarat state) is planned to be 2640 MW. The Udupi (Karnataka) expansion is planned to add 1600 MW to the existing 1200 MW. And the Kawai (Rajasthan) expansion is planned at 1600 MW. Together, these would comprise a colossal 5840 MW of expansion.

    Proposed New Coal Transport Infrastructure

    Carmichael Rail (Australia)

    Adani is building a 200-km railway to link with existing rail infrastructure in order to transport coal from its Carmichael mine (above) to its port at Abbot Point.

     


  • New Adani coal mine in central India will worsen already toxic situation

    In April 2021, the Adani Group won the right to develop another big coal deposit in central India. The proposed mine still needs environmental approval. However, if it proceeds, a region already beset by the toxic effects of a cluster of coal mines and coal-fired power stations will have to contend with even more pollution. The harmful effects on the local people, including indigenous farmers on ancestral lands, will be significant. Meanwhile, people who have defended the rights of indigenous people against the onslaught of more and more coal developments have suffered abuses at the hands of local authorities.

    The Raigarh District in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh already has at least six coal-fired power plants, seven coal mines and two coal washeries.

    According to its website, the Adani Group operates one of the coal mines in Raigarh District, the Gare Pelma-III mine. The mine is owned by the state-owned power utility and has a maximum output of five million tonnes of coal per annum. (Adani says it has pioneered the ‘mine developer and operator’ model in which it runs mines owned by other parties) The Adani-run mine occurs amidst a cluster of other large coal mines run by different operators. However, it appears that Adani’s share of the coal-mining impact in the area is about to get a whole lot bigger.

    In April 2021, it was announced that Adani Enterprises had submitted the winning bid to develop and operate the nearby Gare Pelma-II coal block, which is owned by Maharashtra State Power Generation Co Ltd (MAHAGENCO). If it proceeds, Adani will be extracting up to 23 million tonnes of coal per annum from this site, a massive amount. This would make it the biggest of all of Adani’s operating or proposed coal mines in India.

    In the central Indian district of Raigarh, pollution from coal mines and power stations is poisoning the environment and people. Image courtesy Business Standard

    In June 2019, people in the Raigarh area protested against Adani’s proposed expansion of coal mining, saying ‘at least 13 villages will be ruined if mining starts in this area. Villagers do not want to let it happen and leave their ancestral land’.

    But it’s not just the mining of coal in the Raigarh district that’s being pursued by Adani. The Group also has a major stake in coal-fired power stations.

    According to its website, Adani Power owns a 600MW coal-fired power station in the Raigarh District and a 1370-MW coal-fired power near Raipur, the state capital. A global database of coal plants run by an NGO identifies these as being the Korba West and Raikheda plants respectively. The site's interactive map shows clusters of power stations and smelters throughout the area. When the Adani Group acquired the Korba West power station, the Group founder, Gautam Adani, said Adani’s footprint was expanding in India’s coal belt and that ‘we are bullish of expanding our presence further.’

    Read more

  • Cycle for Country by W&J supporters a great success

    More than 100 people have embarked on the Tour de Carmichael – a 105-km cycle for Country through sacred Wangan & Jagalingou homelands to Adani’s Carmichael coal mine site, led by Wangan & Jagalingou man, Coedie MacAvoy, son of Cultural Custodian Uncle Adrian Burragubba.
    For the next 5 days, Coedie is leading a guided tour through Wangan & Jagalingou Country, sharing stories, culture, sites and totems, and exposing Adani’s destruction of W&J land and water first-hand.
    The Queensland Government stole Wangan and Jagalingou land, extinguished native title, and handed it over to mining giant Adani to dig their dirty coal mine. The Wangan & Jagalingou people assert their obligation to protect our homelands and culture. They remain determined to protect Country.

  • published India's tragic second wave of COVID-19 infections in Blog 2021-04-30 11:31:55 +1000

    India's tragic second wave of COVID-19 infections

    Everyone has seen media coverage of the calamity unfolding across India. The scenes of distressed patients outside hospitals and makeshift funeral pyres are horrifying. AdaniWatch sends a message of solidarity and admiration to all of our brave contributors from India, who are continuing to send reports despite the grim predicament faced by their communities.

    For those who wish to make donations to assist the people of India, a list of verified charities can be found here.

    The circumstances that have led to proliferating infections have been described in numerous stories emanating from India. Here is a selection.

    Internationally acclaimed author Arundhati Roy writes a passionate and compelling indictment of the government of Indian PM Narendra Modi in The Guardian:

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/apr/28/crime-against-humanity-arundhati-roy-india-covid-catastrophe

    A paywalled story in The Economist describes how India's giant second wave is a disaster for the rest of the world as well:

    https://www.economist.com/leaders/2021/04/24/indias-giant-second-wave-is-a-disaster-for-it-and-the-world?utm_campaign=the-economist-today&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_source=salesforce-marketing-cloud&utm_term=2021-04-22&utm_content=article-link-1&etear=nl_today_1

    The government of Modi's BJP party is criticised for organising huge political rallies in the run-up to state elections during a perilous time:

    https://www.news.com.au/world/coronavirus/indian-government-criticised-for-praising-political-rallies-midway-through-covid19-second-wave/news-story/0ba15c5b0713b1bebfb3f6a73429b037

    Major political rallies are described as super-spreaders of India's calamitous second wave of COVID infections. Courtesy CNN

    More on the huge crowds at political rallies by the Japan Times, which speculates that PM Modi is losing his grip on the country:

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/04/26/asia-pacific/politics-diplomacy-asia-pacific/india-coronavirus-crisis-modi/

    PM Modi is accused of being a 'super spreader' of the virus in a story published in The Wire:

    https://thewire.in/government/pm-modi-a-super-spreader-responsible-for-covid-second-wave-imas-navjot-dahiya

    A month ago, medical experts warned that an impending series of political rallies could cause a severe outbreak of new infections in West Bengal:

    https://indianexpress.com/article/india/doctors-fear-bengal-is-heading-towards-severe-outbreak-of-second-wave-of-covid-7253216/

    And the Guardian's article describes the 'triumphalism' and complacency that led to the catastrophic second wave:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/29/we-are-not-special-how-triumphalism-led-india-to-covid-19-disaster?utm_term=c7e43f60d2c6e467784353b3149298e4&utm_campaign=GuardianTodayAUS&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&CMP=GTAU_email

    The Morning Context describes the absence of a plan by the Modi government to tackle the crisis:

    https://themorningcontext.com/chaos/why-india-cant-get-a-grip-on-covids-second-surge/?utm_source=daily_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=TMC&mc_cid=23138f14b1&mc_eid=06e1989765


  • 'Tour de Carmichael' - ride with Coedie in Wangan and Jagalingou country against Adani's mine

    Dear Friend,

    Waddamuli

    ngadyu narri coedie

    My name is coedie

    ngadyu dannga Wirdi

    My language is Wirdi

    ngadyu yamba nani wanggan yagalinggu

    My homelands are the wangan and jagalingou

    ngaya wandu-na wadirra bama gayu wurba-gu ngadyu yamba nani

    I'm asking every man and woman to come to my homelands

    yina dalgayu gundarra ngali gara banggayn

    This is a big fight and we're not afraid

    ngali wurba-na

    We're coming.

    In less than a month, I’ll be standing on Country with all of you for the Tour De Carmichael – Cycle for Country, a 5-day guided tour to learn more about my culture under the stars on Wangan and Jagalingou Country.

    For many of you that have been fighting to stop Adani’s coal mine for so long in your communities and on the streets, this is a chance to get up close and personal with Adani’s construction site and expose the damage they are doing to our sacred lands and waters, as we cycle very slowly together along the main road that services Adani’s mine construction.

    Along the journey, we’ll be stopping and sharing the significance of our Totems, Twin Hills, the Belyando, the Carmichael River and the importance of our sacred Doongmabulla Springs and other dreaming stories. You’ll be invited to the camp and ceremonial ground that I set up for a smoking ceremony in August last year where you’ll be part of some great yarns and teachings.

    Sign up to learn more about the Tour De Carmichael – Cycle for Country, May 3-7 on Wangan and Jagalingou Country.

    Already more than 50 people have registered to cycle with me – I hope you can join us.

    Tour De Carmichael – Cycle for Country: May 3-7 on Wangan and Jagalingou land

    What: A 5-day, 105-km guided cycle-tour led by Traditional Owner Coedie, son of Adrian Burragubba, to learn about Wangan and Jagalingou culture and see what’s at risk from Adani’s destructive mega coal mine. The tour is family-friendly, COVID safe and a lawful event. We will have support vehicles driving behind that will carry water, food and camping gear.

    When: Monday 3 May – Friday 7 May. 

    Where: Wangan and Jagalingou Country in central Queensland. The Tour is 105 km, taking place along the 85-km public road that services Adani’s mine construction – from the Gregory Hwy to the entrance of Adani's construction site, via a Wangan and Jagalingou ceremonial ground, with a 20-km extension to Doongmabulla Springs. 

    Registrations for the Tour are now open and close on Sunday 25th April.

    Sign up to learn how you can join the tour or help from home.

    There are plenty of important ways to be part of it, even if you’re not up for riding. Check out all the information on the Tour website here (where you can also register to confirm your place on the Tour if you are ready to take that step) and then sign up for updates here.

    For nine years we have said NO to Adani’s toxic coal mine that will rip the heart out of our Country and destroy our songlines. 

    We, as Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners of the Galilee basin, are continuing to fight. Join me in the next stage of the battle at the Tour De Carmichael – sign up to learn more.

    I’ll see you on my homelands in May,

    Coedie, Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owner

    P.S. Oh and please click click "GOING" on the Facebook event to demonstrate support for the event. If you can’t make it but want to support from home you can also chip in to cover the costs of the tour here.


  • International finance campaign against Adani’s coal mine continues to bite

    BREAKING (TUESDAY 13 APRIL 2021): Dow Jones dumps @AdaniPorts from its sustainability index. Business arrangement with Myanmar military company creates toxic reputation. This is a big rebuke to Adani from an international ratings agency! 

    Meanwhile, India’s biggest state-owned bank is wary of lending Adani money for its Queensland coal mine, according to a report in the Indian media. The list of international insurers avoiding the contentious mine continues to grow and has reached 33. The Adani Group’s business links with Myanmar’s brutal military are attracting more international criticism. And protests against the Carmichael coal mine have recently ramped up.

    Dow Jones's dumping of Adani from its sustainability index has received widespread international coverage. The campaigners at Market Forces are urging people to contact the remaining investors of Adani Ports here.

    The State Bank of India (SBI), owned by the people of India, has been torn for several months over whether to loan a billion dollars to the Adani Group for its Carmichael mine, or whether to give the controversial project a wide berth. In early April 2021, it was reported that the bank was ‘dragging its feet’ on deciding whether to provide the loan. The story was taken up by Bloomberg Green and in Australia.

    The bank’s wariness is not surprising, given the barrage of warnings and criticism it copped when news of the potential loan broke in last November. French finance giant Amundi threatened to divest from the SBI’s green bonds. And in April 2021, it was reported that a Norwegian ‘bond vigilante’ had warned relevant SBI investors of the reputational risk involved in backing Adani’s climate-wrecking coal mine.

    The SBI’s tortured deliberations have occurred as more and more international insurers rule out providing services to the infamous coal mine. In early April, it was reported that another leading Lloyds insurance company has ruled out backing Carmichael, taking the total number of insurers saying ‘no’ to 33.

    Meanwhile, the business arrangement between Adani Ports and a company owned by the Myanmar military continues to grow in notoriety. In early April, the New Zealand Super Fund was slammed by the NZ Greens for its investment in Adani Ports. Members of NZ’s two major political parties have also publicly responded to the issue, in stark contrast with the lame justifications issued by their Australian counterparts when a similar investment by Australia’s Future Fund was brought to their attention. Defenders of humanity in Myanmar have called for an international boycott of Myanmar’s military companies by all forms of investor.

    No such squeamishness was displayed by Australian citizens taking on Adani in repeated protests against the Carmichael mine. Their bravery in the face of violent reactions and state severity is an inspiring example to the nation.

    Citizens of Myanmar protest against coup by vicious military

    https://www.marketforces.org.au/adani-ports-removed-from-dow-jones-sustainability-index/


  • Adani Ports' links to Myanmar military lead to call for investor boycott

    MEDIA RELEASE BY AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE & JUSTICE FOR MYANMAR, 30 March 2021

    Pressure builds on Adani Ports investors as new report reveals Adani Ports paid tens of millions to Myanmar military company. Human rights groups call on Adani Ports’ investors to divest

    A new report by the Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) and Justice For Myanmar (JFM) exposes shocking new links between Adani Ports, and the Myanmar military owned company Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC). Last week, the United States imposed targeted financial sanctions against MEC and another Myanmar military conglomerate, MEHL.

    The report ‘Port of Complicity: Adani Ports in Myanmar’ publishes leaked documents establishing for the first time the amount paid by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited’s (Adani Ports) Myanmar subsidiary, the Adani Yangon International Terminal Company Limited, which is constructing a container port in Yangon on military owned land. The Adani Ports subsidiary paid a minimum of US$30 million in land lease fees to MEC and a further US$22 million in land clearance fees.

    The report publishes explosive photos of Adani CEO Karan Adani exchanging gifts with the Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar military,  Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, in a tour of Mundra Port in India in July 2019. At the time of his visit, the Senior General was barred from visiting the United States because of the military’s atrocities against the Rohingya ethnic minority. Further targeted sanctions, including financial sanctions, against the Senior General were imposed by the USA, Canada, the UK and the EU for his role in the military’s serious human rights abuses, and the recent military coup. The photos contradict Adani Ports’ February 2021 statement that deny engagement with military leadership.

    Adani's port development, Yangon, on land owned by a company owned by the Myanmar military

     

    The damning revelations exposing Adani Ports’ financial transactions with the MEC have prompted calls for major investors like HSBC, Norges Bank, BlackRock, PGGP and TIAA among others, to immediately sever ties with Adani Ports.

    Building on the legal analysis of the UN Human Rights Council’s International Independent Fact-Finding Mission Report in 2019, the report warns that investments in companies who partner with the MEC can help finance the activities of the Myanmar military. These activities  include systematic and widespread human rights abuses, some of which amount to atrocity crimes and are the subject of investigations by international tribunals.

    Foreign investments also facilitate endemic corruption which has allowed the military to channel crucial funds away from the public purse. The military led a violent coup on 1 February toppling the democratically elected civilian government, which has resulted in mass repression and the killings of over 250 peaceful demonstrators, and the arbitrary detention of thousands.

    The report also finds that contrary to claims made by Adani Ports, the Yangon port operation is connected to its Australia operation through shared management. In Australia, Adani Ports’ direct ties to the controversial Carmichael coal project were recently exposed. Adani Ports owns the Bowen Rail Company which will operate the coal haulage from Adani’s Carmichael mine to its port on the Great Barrier Reef.

    The groups warn that investors in Adani Ports are not only supporting Adani’s business dealings with the MEC and the Myanmar military but could also be supporting the funding of critical elements of Adani’s controversial Carmichael coal project.

    Pressure is building on Adani Ports investors with major bondholder PIMCO cutting ties with Adani Ports this week over its links to Adani’s controversial Carmichael coal project. The release of the damning new report also comes as the Adani Ports inclusion on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index is being reviewed after campaigners raised concerns over its links with the Myanmar military and the Carmichael coal project.

    Yadanar Maung, spokesperson for Justice For Myanmar says:

    “Adani Ports has continued its business in Myanmar, despite an illegal military coup, and the military’s ongoing crimes against humanity. Adani Ports’ business partner in Myanmar, now sanctioned by the US, is committing crimes against humanity as they deliberately kill peaceful protesters, torture detainees and steal public assets. Adani Ports’ stands complicit in the military’s atrocities and corruption through their direct payments to a military conglomerate. Despite repeated calls, Adani Ports has failed to take action by cutting ties with the criminal Myanmar military. We therefore call on Adani Ports’ shareholders and creditors to uphold their human rights responsibilities by cutting ties with Adani Ports for its continued business with the criminal junta. Stand with the people of Myanmar.”

    Ahsan Ul-Haque from the Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia says:

    “The images of Adani Ports hosting the Senior General Min Aung Hlaing in Mundra, India less than two years after the General led a campaign of ethnic cleansing against my people shows that Adani Ports is willing to disregard human rights in pursuit of business profits. Businesses who continue to indirectly support the military through making deals with their companies assist in shielding the military from accountability. It’s time to hold such businesses accountable in the same light. We call on investors to immediately divest from Adani Ports.”

    Former Member of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, and Member of the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar, Chris Sidoti said:

    “The report establishes the links between the Myanmar military and Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited, which is intimately involved in the Carmichael coal project in Queensland. The question for Australia and Australians is whether we want to be hosting a company that is contributing to the enrichment of the Myanmar military. The question for investors in Adani is whether they want to fund the operations of the Myanmar military, because that is what they are doing indirectly by investing in Adani. This is a question also for sovereign wealth funds and pension funds that should have a highly ethical basis for their investment decisions.”

    Rawan Arraf, Executive Director at the Australian Centre for International Justice said: 

    “We’ve studied several statements from Adani Ports since May 2019 regarding its deal in Myanmar involving the MEC and we have no confidence it will uphold its obligations to respect human rights and disengage from Myanmar. It has been put on notice publicly by the UN on several occasions. At each turn it has denied or obfuscated its commercial operations in Myanmar.”

    “Adani Ports has had plenty of time to consider and review its operations in Myanmar. While other major multinational corporations are moving to suspend their operations in Myanmar, Adani Ports appears to have dug in its heels. And that’s appalling. If doing business with those accused of genocide does not trigger a fundamental revaluation of your business, one would have thought, that when your business partner stages a violent coup – that would be the final straw. From our point of view, Adani’s actions or omissions show that it doesn’t care about the human rights impacts of its deal in Myanmar. That’s why we’re calling on governments, investors and shareholders to act and divest from Adani Ports. By doing this, investors are showing that they support and stand with the people in Myanmar in their struggle to end the abuses and economic control of the military.”

    Labels showing the Myanmar general with key Adani personnel

    Pablo Brait, campaigner with Market Forces said:

    “Investors and bond arrangers like Barclays and BlackRock should not be risking their reputations by supporting a company that is so mired in controversy. Adani Ports’ role in the Carmichael thermal coal project – a project that will fuel the climate crisis and the extreme weather it is causing – shows it is not a responsible or ethical company. When you add its reported links to the Myanmar military you get a picture of a company with a very concerning environmental, social and governance risk profile.”

    Links between Adani Ports, Myanmar military and investors. Courtesy Australian Council for International Justice

    Footage of the Senior General of the Myanmar military meeting and exchanging gifts with Adani Ports CEO Karan Adani is available here.

    Media Contact: 

    Australian Centre for International Justice: Rawan Arraf, 0450 708 870  

    Justice For Myanmar, [email protected] 

     

     

    Read more

  • Prominent human-rights campaigner and opponent of Adani mine jailed by Indian authorities

    On 9 March 2021, Hidme Markam, a respected human-rights defender and a leader of a local anti-mining movement, was effectively abducted by the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. She was taken by police at an International Women’s Day event where she was speaking on behalf of several young women who have lost their lives as a consequence of brutal sexual violence committed by the police and security forces. She is also a staunch opponent of an Adani-operated iron-ore mine at a mountain sacred to indigenous (Adivasi) people.

    The incarceration of Hidme Markam is yet another blow to freedom of speech in India. People objecting to her detention can sign a letter of solidarity here. Supporters of Hidme are also urged to write to the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh: [email protected]

    Detailed stories of Hidme’s contribution to protection of the environment and women’s rights have been published by Survival International and Article14.

    The police eventually stated that they had arrested Hidme on multiple charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).  However, these charges appear to have been concocted post-facto. The police statement of the charge against her is riddled with contradictions. The name used in the documents does not match that of Hidme, a respected public figure whose work is entirely in the public eye, and who has met with police and other officials on numerous occasions to raise cases of human-rights abuses.

    Hidme Markam is a leader in the resistance against the Bailadila iron-ore mine which will destroy the Nandraj hill, sacred to the local Indigenous people.  Mining in the area by the Adani Group and others would also result in severe ecological damage to the local forest, land and water and is a grave breach of Adivasi constitutional rights. The issue has received widespread media coverage.

    Villagers protest Bailadila iron-ore mine in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh. Courtey Scroll.In

    As a member of the Chhattisgarh Mahila Adhikar Manch, Hidme has been present in numerous public spaces and meetings in Chhattisgarh, asserting the constitutional rights of Adivasi women, especially against displacement and state repression.  As convenor of the Jail Bandi Rihai Committee (Committee for Release of Prisoners), she has been vocal in the demand for the release of thousands of innocent Adivasis implicated and incarcerated in false cases.

    Hidme is respected by local officials and has had formal meetings with the Governor, Chief Minister and Superintendent of Police to demand the release of arrested Adivasis, an end to construction of para-military camps in the region, and a halt to mining.

    Read more

  • published Adani Hot Spots Proliferate as Controversies Grow in Blog 2021-03-04 09:18:56 +1100

    Adani Hot Spots Proliferate as Controversies Grow

    See below for the interactive map (above image is an illustration only).

    As the Adani Group's businesses proliferate, the group's geographic footprint has enlarged accordingly.

    The tentacles of the sprawling Adani Group reach into more and more aspects of the lives on people in India, including coal mines, power stations, ports, edible oils, airports, defence industries, solar power, real estate and gas. Adani in Australia is attempting to open up the vast coal deposits of Queensland's Galilee Basin. Adani in Indonesia is excavating huge quantities of coal from a tiny island off the coast of Borneo. Adani in Myanmar is developing a large container port next to the Yangon River - on land leased from a company owned by Myanmar's brutal military.

    The interactive map of Adani's hot spots has been updated to show locations featured in recent stories, such as the East Container Terminal at Sri Lanka's port of Columbo, the immense array of solar panels on farmland at Kamuthi in Tamil Nadu, and the Gondulpara coal block in Jharkhand. It also shows sites featured in numerous stories about the Godda power station and Hasdeo forests.


  • published Ben Pennings takes on Adani in Supreme Court in Blog 2021-03-02 09:27:53 +1100

    Ben Pennings takes on Adani in Supreme Court

    UPDATE THURSDAY 4 MARCH 2021:

    Following Tuesday's Supreme Court hearing, Ben Pennings thanked his crowdfunder donors and legal team.

    'Thanks to my legal crowdfunder donors, my 4 excellent lawyers clearly outshone Adani's 6 lawyers. As expected, the judge reserved her decision. But I'm more than hopeful I'll get the particulars of the case against me that Adani are currently trying to withhold.

    'It was amazing to see the #StopAdani support outside the Supreme Court. My heart swelled, especially after seeing video footage of my eldest daughter bravely addressing the crowd and media scrum.'

     

    TUESDAY 2 MARCH 2021:

    Prominent Stop Adani activist Ben Pennings is taking Adani to the Supreme Court today, arguing Adani should not be permitted to withhold key particulars of the civil case they have brought against him.

    Adani is suing Mr Pennings for alleged breach of confidence, inducing breaches of contract and conspiring with others to commit unlawful acts, amongst other things. Each of these claims is based on Mr Pennings having allegedly received Adani’s confidential information. Together they make up at least two thirds of the total claim, as well as underpinning the temporary injunction against Mr Pennings. 

    Adani wants the Supreme Court to make broad confidentiality orders in the court case. These orders would permanently ban Ben’s lawyers from telling him what confidential information Adani says he’s already received. Ben’s legal team will be saying to the Court that he will have a fundamental difficulty in defending the case if those orders are made. Kiera Peacock, partner of Marque Lawyers, said:

    “Adani says Ben has taken its confidential information, but won’t tell him what that information actually is. This creates a real tension with Ben’s fundamental right to natural justice, to know the case he has to defend. That is the tension the parties will be asking the court to resolve.” 

    Mr Pennings said: 

    'It’s impossible to defend myself against a multi-billionaire if Adani withholds details of its case against me. 

    'Adani originally followed my wife to work and our child to primary school in failed attempts to search our family home. I need to know what exactly Adani says I did wrong, so that I can actually defend this case and end the ongoing pain this is causing my family.'

    Greens MP Michael Berkman and Ben’s eldest daughter Isabella will be available to the media at the court solidarity event organised by Stop Adani Brisbane. Ben will hold a press conference after the day in court as needed. 

    When: Tuesday March 2, 9:15am

    Where: Supreme Court of Queensland - 415 George St, Brisbane City

    Contact: Ben Pennings on 0418 164 014

    Read more

  • Adani’s ‘creepy and abhorrent’ attempts to crack down on dissenters to be tested

    A test of Adani’s attempts to crack down on its critics will occur on Tuesday 2 March 2021, when the Queensland Supreme Court will hear the company’s case against climate campaigner Ben Pennings. Supporters of Mr Pennings will be out in force outside the court. Meanwhile, the Adani Group’s attempts to muzzle its critics in India are also being tested, both by the judiciary and in the court of public opinion.

    Adani (now trading in Australia as Bravus) alleges that Mr Pennings ran a campaign of intimidation and harassment against the company’s attempts to open up the Galilee coal basin to exploitation. Adani’s Carmichael mine, if it goes ahead, would be the first in a series of proposed mines aimed at extracting millions of tonnes of coal from the massive basin. For several years, Mr Pennings was the public face of Galilee Blockade, a community endeavour aimed at protecting the Earth’s climate by keeping the coal in the ground.

    Adani instituted proceedings against Mr Pennings in August 2020. Later that month it was revealed that Adani had secretly but unsuccessfully sought the court’s permission to mount a raid on Mr Pennings’s family home in Brisbane in order to seek confidential documents supposedly acquired by Mr Pennings. In October 2020, it was further revealed that Adani had organised surveillance of Mr Pennings and his family by hiring a private security firm. The secret photographing of Mr Pennings walking his nine-year-old daughter to school was widely described as a ‘creepy’ and 'abhorrent' move by Adani.

    Adani secretly applied for permission to raid the family home of Ben Pennings

    In statements to the media, Adani attempted to excuse its behaviour.

    ‘Any surveillance activity related to the relatives of Mr Ben Pennings, was an effort to determine the time of day to carry out a search order that would see the least disruption to residents, if it was granted by the courts,’ a company spokesperson said.

    ‘Our court proceedings relate to Mr Pennings alone, and we were proactively trying to avoid disrupting his family where possible. These activities were legally undertaken.

    ‘We are unapologetic for exercising our legal rights and we will continue to use all legal means available to us to protect ourselves, our employees and contractors from individuals or groups who act unlawfully.’

    Similar attempts to use the courts to crack down on those who criticise or question the Adani Group have been used in India.

     

    Read more

  • Flood of calls to potential Adani insurers follows wet-season rail-line damage

    Footage taken by local environment groups reveals that the coal railway being constructed by Adani between the proposed Carmichael mine and Abbot Point has been swamped by wet-season floods.

    According to the resulting media reports, Adani is under investigation for environmental breaches on the rail-line construction zone because of sedimentation of intersecting creeks. StopAdani groups have said that the flooding of the rail line has polluted these waterways.

    The Mackay Conservation Group said that Adani had failed to implement adequate sediment controls. The group said its lawyers had written to the Queensland government outlining the damage and calling for a thorough investigation of associated environmental damage.

    The #StopAdani movement says this is a crucial opportunity for members of the public to tell the insurance industry to rule out support for the Carmichael mine and associated railway. Various Lloyd’s insurers are the main recipients of the campaign.

    Photos show flooding, sedimentation of creeks on Adani rail line

    Details of potential insurers and sample messages to them are in the tool kit below.

    Meanwhile, Adani (trading as Bravus Mining and Resources), had refuted the allegations in a statement.

    The company said: 'We refute the allegations made today by anti-coal activist organisations Environmental Justice Australia and Mackay Conservation Group, about the appropriateness of the sediment controls we have in place to manage dirty rainwater run-off and flood waters at our remote rail construction sites.

    'The Carmichael Project takes our environmental obligations seriously and we have erosion and sediment control measures in place at all of our construction sites, to ensure we comply with our environmental approvals for daily operations and extreme weather events.

    'These environmental controls align to the International Erosion Control Association (IECA) Best Practice Erosion and Sediment Control Guidelines. This is industry best-practice in line with the standards outlined in the project approvals.

    'Environmental Justice Australia have also made allegations that sediment controls in June 2019 were not sufficient, and referred to an independent report produced for the Isaac Regional Council.

    'Following that report, Isaac Regional Council wrote to Bravus, advising an investigation had occurred. Isaac Regional Council subsequently stated that the actions undertaken by Bravus were satisfactory.

    'The Carmichael Project has some of the strictest environmental conditions ever imposed on a mining project in Australia.'

     

     

    Read more

  • The Myanmar coup leader visiting Adani Ports in 2019

    In 2019, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the commander in chief of Myanmar's military and the leader of last week's coup, visited the Adani Ports and SEZ company at its massive port in Mundra, India.

    According to the senior general's website:

    'The Senior General and party visited Adani Ports and Logistics at Mundra Port. Officials of Adani Port & SEZ Limited (APSEZ) gave a presentation on operating the functions at the port to accept docking of container ships for export and import processes. The Senior General asked about safety process in preventing natural disasters and other points he wanted know. The Senior General and party viewed round undertakings of safety process for disasters at factories and tasks being undertaken along the deep seaport. Officials conducted them round the port. Then, commemorative gifts were exchanged at the meeting hall.

    'Adani Ports and Logistics, a deep seaport at the Gulf of Kutch in India, is one of the ports which can admit docking of large vessels.It is a main gatepost of transporting commodities to inner part of India.The port stores and distributes crude oil, automobiles, and other export and import items. The port which has jetties to admit docking of many tons of cargo ships is the world’s largest coal import port to supply coal to Adani coal-fired power plant and TATA coal-fired power plant.'

    Myanmar coup leader visits Adani Special Economic Zone, Mundra, 2019

    Adani Ports and SEZ is leasing land from a company owned by the Myanmar military for its port development in Yangon, Myanmar. This has led to several instances of criticism of the Adani Group by human-rights advocates. There have been renewed calls for Australia to impose sanctions on the military leader since last week's coup.


  • Persecution of senior journalist comes against a backdrop of nationwide anti-Adani protests

    The persecution of a senior journalist in India as a result of defamation cases initiated by the Adani Group comes at a time of a wider government crackdown on press freedoms. The unsafe climate for journalists has been reported globally.

    Last month, international press watchdogs objected strongly to the issuing of an arrest warrant against journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta by a court in Gautam Adani’s home state of Gujarat. The warrant arose from a 2017 defamation case by Adani from which all defendants other than Paranjoy have been dropped. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Indian journalist unions and other media groups condemned the warrant and the Adani Group’s use of defamation cases to stifle public criticism.

    Last week, a higher court suspended the above ‘non-bailable arrest warrant’ (effectively a prison term) against Paranjoy. It’s a reprieve. Nevertheless, the 65-year-old journalist is still required to travel during a deadly pandemic from his home in Delhi to a court in far-off Gujarat. This is manifestly unfair.

    In addition, a gag order applied by a different court in relation to another case brought by Adani against Paranjoy still applies. The gag order prevents Paranjoy, Abir Dasgupta (a frequent contributor to AdaniWatch), and the media outlet NewsClick from publishing stories about the Adani Group. The gag order has applied since September 2020. As the Adani Group is one of India’s biggest conglomerates, with businesses in mining, energy, ports, defence industries, real estate, gas, edible oils and logistics, the gag order seriously undermines the ability of the media to report on matters of vital national interest.

    A reprieve: veteran journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta. Photo Geoff Law

    Adani’s attempt to muzzle its critics comes at a critical time for India.

    In recent months, large, rowdy protests have occurred across the length and breadth of the nation, involving people from all walks of life. The causes are many but there is a common theme. People are sick of crony capitalism in general – and are particularly angry about the notorious closeness between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and billionaire Gautam Adani.

    According to media reports, Gautam Adani tripled his wealth in 2020, cementing his position as India’s second richest person with assets worth an estimated $32 billion. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of his compatriots have suffered the economic and biological ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Read more

  • Calls for sanctions against Myanmar coup leader who visited Adani Ports in 2019

    Calls for international sanctions against the head of Myanmar's military have intensified after Monday's coup. The main target is Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who visited Adani's massive Mundra port in July 2019, exchanging gifts with officials of the Adani Ports company.

    On Monday 1 February 2021, in the wake of the military coup, human-rights groups intensified calls for international sanctions against Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who is Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar's armed forces.

    The rights group ‘Justice for Myanmar’ said in a media release that the coup had been ‘been orchestrated by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and his enablers in the military leadership’. It said that the general is the ‘main beneficiary’ of the coup and called on ‘the international community to apply immediate and comprehensive targeted sanctions against the Myanmar military, their leaders and their business accomplices’.

    Myanmar coup leader visits Adani Ports in 2019

    The company Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (‘Adani Ports’) is developing a container port in Myanmar’s biggest city on land leased from a company owned by the Myanmar military.

    In January 2019, it was reported that the Adani Yangon International Terminal Co Ltd (a subsidiary of Adani Ports) had received approval from Myanmar authorities to establish a container port in Yangon. The company was to develop, operate and maintain the Ahlone International Port Terminal on the Yangon River about six km from the centre of the city. (See interactive map for location) The deal was said to be worth $US290 million. About 20 hectares of land were to be leased from the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC), a large company owned by the Myanmar military.

    According to the UN Mission that investigated the 2017 human-rights abuses in Myanmar, the MEC is fully owned and controlled by the Myanmar Ministry of Defence and is a direct source of revenue for the military. The Mission cited evidence that the MEC and other military-controlled entities generate revenue that dwarfs that of any civilian-owned company in Myanmar. The MEC therefore helps enable the operations of a military machine accused of genocidal crimes.

    The MEC also has a wholly-owned private subsidiary, Myanmar Economic Corporation Ltd (MEC Ltd), whose board is reported to include Chiefs of Staff of the Army, Navy and Air Force, with the implication that it is influenced by senior leaders such as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

    Read more

  • published Global Actions to Stop Adani to 2 February in Blog 2021-02-01 10:34:48 +1100

    Global Actions to Stop Adani to 2 February

    WEEK OF ACTION: Young people in India and Australia have launched a Global Week of Action to Stop Adani! They are determined to protect their future from climate change and to stand in solidarity with community resistance to Adani’s projects around the world.

    For the next seven days, Stop Adani will be spotlighting social movements in Australia and India that are resisting Adani’s devastating coal projects and crony capitalism, as the many fights to prevent Adani’s devastating projects come together to support each other.

    'The Stop Adani campaign stands in solidarity with Indian communities, including Adivasi communities, resisting Adani’s coal projects, and we stand with Indian farmers saying no to Modi’s farm law changes which benefit Adani. The Adani Group disregards Traditional Owners and the community, and it brings environmental destruction,' a StopAdani spokesperson said.

    'We also recognise the privilege of campaigning for change without fear for personal safety, and send our best wishes to those who campaign for justice and take on personal risk to do so.'

    Links to actions in India can be found here: Global Week of Action to Stop Adani: Toolkit (coda.io)

    To see people in action all across India, look at this inspiring video:

    Pass The Mic: Unheard Voices from Adani Sites - YouTube

    And for songs of protest, here are 53 tracks to access, from Hashtag Justice, to Word Sound Power, and Chennai Poromboke Paadal:

    Youth Action to Stop Adani: Songs of Resistance; Songs of Hope - YouTube

    Read more

  • published Adani Gag Order on Indian Journalists Slammed in Blog 2021-01-21 15:35:25 +1100

    Adani Gag Order on Indian Journalists Slammed

    Media Release
    21 January 2021

    ADANI GAG ORDER ON INDIAN JOURNALISTS AND NEWS OUTLET SLAMMED

    Revelation of gag order follows coverage of arrest warrant against veteran Indian journalist and other moves by Adani against critics

    Bob Brown today slammed billionaire Gautam Adani for his attack on freedom of speech in India and Australia. The criticism followed the revelation today that veteran Indian journalist, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, has been the subject of an Adani gag order for four months.

    Yesterday it was reported that Paranjoy was the subject of an arrest warrant issued by a court in Mundra, the Indian city in which Adani’s largest container port is located. The arrest warrant arises from a 2017 SLAPP suit in which Adani alleges that he was defamed by Paranjoy. The SLAPP suit refers to a story describing a $100-million ‘bonanza’ for Adani as a result of a decision by India’s Modi government.

    Today it has been revealed that Paranjoy has been subjected to a gag order arising from yet another case initiated by Adani. A court in Ahmedabad, capital of Adani’s home state of Gujarat, agreed in September 2020 to an interim injunction sought by an Adani company preventing Paranjoy from reporting on the Adani Group.

    ‘Adani has piled one case after another on Paranjoy in an attempt to silence him,’ said Dr Brown. ‘The courts in Adani’s home state of Gujarat have complied, issuing a gag order and an arrest warrant. This behaviour is more that of a police state than what you would expect in a proud democracy like India.’

    The injunction also applied to Paranjoy’s colleague, Abir Dasgupta, a frequent contributor to AdaniWatch, and to NewsClick, the outlet in which the pertinent stories were published.

    AdaniWatch investigator, Geoff Law, warned of the dangers to the public’s right to know about the activities of such a massive corporation.

    ‘The same repression is infecting Australia where Adani has already used ‘attack dog’ lawyers and moved to repress critics such as BBF Environmentalist of the Year Ben Pennings,’ Mr Law said. ‘Adani’s actions are a serious threat to free speech in at least two countries.’

    The stories described Supreme Court decisions favourable to the Adani Group made by India’s Supreme Court. Adani claimed that the reports were libellous and mounted a case of criminal defamation. Proceedings have yet to commence in the case, but in the meantime, Paranjoy, NewClick and Abir Dasgupta are restricted from reporting on the Adani Group.

    NewsClick editor, Prabir Parakayastha, speaking to ,newslaundry said ‘the way it’s construed, it’s a blanket bar that we are not supposed to write anything on Adani. And because Adani’s is one of the major companies in the country, asking us not to write about them is restraining freedom of speech.’

    Further information: Geoff Law 0409 944891

    Court documents (the third one, Exh. 14 contains the gag order) follow the flip:

    Read more

  • Journalist unions, media groups condemn court order to arrest veteran journalist

    Updated 2 February 2021

    The High Court of the Indian state of Gujarat has suspended the 'non-bailable arrest warrant' (basically a prison term) for veteran journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, according to media reports. The 65-year-old journalist is still being compelled to travel during a pandemic to attend court hearings in a 2017 defamation case that has acquired notoriety for its singling out of Paranjoy. This is manifestly unfair.

    The arrest warrant was issued by a lower court in Gautam Adani's home state of Gujarat and sparked outrage. Journalist unions and other media groups, in India and internationally, condemned the move. AdaniWatch, too, condemned this persecution of a highly respected journalist. The warrant arose from the 2017 defamation case in which Adani has dropped proceedings against all other defendants. 

     

    INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF JOURNALISTS - Media Statement

    22 January 2021 

    The IFJ said and its Indian affiliate the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) condemn the widespread misuse of defamation law in India to target journalists and silence the media.

    “The targeting of Paranjoy Guha Thakurta is a despicable abuse of power and influence by the Adani Group that shows how India is falling foul to the weaponising and twisting of existing laws, including defamation law, to silence  critics. The higher judiciary should recognise that defamation law has long been misused to impede press freedom in India.”

     

    COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS - MEDIA STATEMENT

    22 January 2021

    New Delhi, January 22, 2021 – Authorities in the Indian state of Gujarat should drop their arrest warrant for journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, and the Adani Group conglomerate should stop trying to intimidate journalists with legal harassment, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

    “It is outrageous for authorities to issue arrest warrants for defendants who don’t want to risk their lives in a pandemic to attend defamation hearings,” said Aliya Iftikhar, CPJ’s senior Asia researcher. “Gujarat authorities should rescind the arrest warrant for Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, and the Adani Group should immediately drop criminal proceedings and stop intimidating journalists.”

    CPJ emailed the Adani Group for comment but did not receive any response. CPJ emailed the Kutch district court at the address listed on its website, but did not immediately receive any reply.

     

    Opinion piece in The People's Review

    22 January 2021

    Arrest warrant for senior investigative journalist Paranjoy shows ‘shabby state’ of press freedom in India. Defamation suit a ‘weapon used by Adani to gag the free press’.

    Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, a prominent veteran journalist the subject of a 'despicable abuse of power' by the Adani Group. Photo Geoff Law

     

    Free Speech Collective says arrest warrant for Paranjoy is 'punitive and intimidatory'.

    The statement says 'the manner in which the warrant for the arrest of Paranjoy Guha Thakurta was issued despite his lawyer’s plea, is an excessively punitive response. Yagnik said that the journalist had remained present in prior hearings. Clearly, he has not made any attempt to evade any processes of justice. An arrest warrant, in this context, amounts to intimidation.

    'Indeed, the extensive use of criminal defamation to censor and silence journalists has become the norm and strikes a blow against freedom of expression. Despite several attempts, it continues to remain in the statute books, a handy tool to browbeat journalists.'

     

    Press statement by the Media Foundation: The Media Foundation condemns the arrest warrant against senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

    New Delhi, Jan 21, 2021: The Media Foundation notes with deep dismay that a lower court in Gujarat’s Kutch region has issued an arrest warrant against senior journalist Mr Paranjoy Guha Thakurta in a defamation case filed by the Adani group.

    In June 2017, Mr Thakurta co-authored an expose in the Economic & Political Weekly outlining how the Adani group was able to evade paying the required amount of duty for an export venture with some help from the government. This series of articles was later reproduced in a news website, The Wire. Subsequently, the Adani group dropped the defamation charges against the publishers, the website and the co-authors of the investigation, barring Mr Thakurta.

    While we hope that the higher judicial forums will provide immediate relief to Mr Thakurta, it does need to be emphasised that this defamation case is a vindictive act and intended to intimidate journalists and discourage professional journalism. This is part of a larger emerging trend of powerful vested interests misusing the processes of law to harass and hound independent and intrepid reporters and commentators.

    The Media Foundation expresses its solidarity with Mr Thakurta and stands by him.

    Harish Khare, President, The Media Foundation

    Mannika Chopra, Honorary Secretary, The Media Foundation

    Foundation for Media Professionals condemns arrest warrant on Paranjoy

     

    MEDIA RELEASE: IJU condemns arrest order of Veteran Journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

    New Delhi/ 20 January 2021

    The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) expresses its grave concern at reports that a Gujarat court has issued an arrest warrant against veteran journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta. The arrest has been ordered for alleged defamation of the Adani group by Thakurta in one of his articles published in 2017. The impugned article that was published by the Economic & Political Weekly (EPW) alleged that the government of India had tweaked rules of the Special Economic Zone to enable Adani Power Limited to get duty drawback of Rs 500 crore from the government. The Adani group sent a notice to the publisher, threatening legal action. The Sameeksha Trust, the publisher of EPW pulled down the article and its editor Guha Thakurta resigned in protest.  It is strange that the Adani group has withdrawn charges against the publishers of the article-Sameeksha Trust and the co-authors, however not against Guha Thakurta.

    In June 2017 the Wire republished the article, with permission from EPW. The Adani group then filed a SLAPP suit on the Wire and the co-authors of the article Guha Thakurta, Abir Dasgupta, Advait Rao Palepu and Shinzani Jain. In May 2019 a Gujarat court ordered the publishers to remove one sentence and one word from the article. The Wire complied and the defamation suit was rejected by the court. Now it is strange that another court has ordered arrest of Guha Thakurta.

    In a joint statement IJU President Geetartha Pathak and Secretary General Sabina Indeerjit  condemned the arrest warrant of Takjurta. The IJU leaders said: ‘We condemn the  arrest order against a renowned journalist. IJU has earlier demanded decriminalisation of the defamation law which is a serious threat to freedom of press and media rights.’

    Sd/-

    Geetartha Pathak, President, IJU

    This is the story that led to the defamation action. It describes a decision by the Modi government that led to a $100-million 'bonanza' for the Adani Group.

    Read more

  • Senior, respected Indian journalist faces arrest thanks to Adani

    Adani’s moves to silence critics intensify

    In a further exhibition of political and legal power, multi-billionaire Gautam Adani has secured a warrant for the arrest of one of India’s most renowned and respected journalists, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta. It follows a series of other attempts to silence critics, including court actions against climate campaigner Ben Pennings and an Indian YouTuber; a request to the Indian Government to close down an anti-Adani twitterstorm; and an apparent attempt to close down the AdaniWatch website.

    A court in Adani’s home state of Gujarat has issued the warrant which arises from a defamation case mounted by Adani against Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, the doyen of investigative journalists in India. The story has been covered in India by NewsClick, Scroll and the Business Standard.

    The Adani Group had filed the defamation suit following his June 2017 article on a ‘Rupees 500 crore bonanza’ ($100 million) the group got from the government. The story was originally published in, and then withdrawn from, the Economic and Political Weekly. The story remains published in The Wire.

    ‘This is a SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) writ aimed at both silencing the journalist and sending a shiver of fear through the media to halt any genuine investigation into Adani’s commercial empire,’ Bob Brown said. SLAPP writs are banned in many states of the USA and in the Australian Capital Territory.

    This latest attack on free speech by Adani follows Adani’s lawsuits against climate campaigner Ben Pennings and an Indian YouTuber. In yet another attempt to silence critics, the Adani Group wrote to India’s central government in December 2020 seeking a crackdown of the ‘utmost severity’ on the supposed instigators of a Twitterstorm critical of Adani.

    The arrest warrant comes not long after the Bob Brown Foundation received a threat to close down its AdaniWatch website following a complaint to the registrar of its domain name by an IT security firm, presumably acting on behalf of an unnamed client (emails sent to BBF on 7 and 9 January – see below).

    AdaniWatch coordinator Geoff Law said that Adani is clearly spooked by the wave of protest against the group’s activities in India, where communities are opposing pro-corporate farm laws, moves to turn Goa into a coal hub, massive new port developments, and the takeover of indigenous lands for coal plants.

    Further information: Geoff Law 0409 944891

    Read more

  • Youth Action to Stop Adani - 27 January to 2 February

    Indian, Australian Youth Groups Launch Global Week of Action Targeting Adani.

    More than 25 youth groups have launched a global call for a week of action targeting Adani from 27 January 2021 to 2 February 2021.

    YAStA is a call to action by youth groups from around the world to Stop Adani from subverting democracies, suppressing community voices, harassing its critics, taking over lands belonging to and used by Aboriginal, Indigenous, farming and fishing communities, degrading the environment, aggravating the climate crisis, endangering our future, eroding livelihoods, and obliterating cultures and identities.

    Inspired by global efforts to #StopAdani, YAStA is calling for a Global Week of Action from 27 January 2021 to 2 February 2021 (World Wetlands Day). The farmers' protest outside Delhi highlights the extent to which the corporate sector controls the Indian government. Adani, which added $19 billion to its wealth during the COVID-19 lockdown, is considered one of the big beneficiaries of the Farm Laws.

    Young People for Politics resisting Adani's plans

    In every location where local communities are fighting Adani's ventures, the campaign is also to reclaim their own governments to work for the electorate rather than for Adani.

    Adani's businesses and proposals have dangerous ramifications for the environment. By taking over farmlands, commons, wetlands, seascapes and lands sacred to Aboriginal and Indigenous communities for mega ports, coal mines and carbon-intensive industries, Adani’s proposals end up impoverishing communities and aggravating the climate crisis.

    Adani's response to community campaigns has been vicious, according to spokespeople for the campaign. By branding dissenting communities as anti-development and anti-national, it goads democratically-elected governments to turn against their own citizens. It must be said that Adani is not the only corporation to behave in this manner. However, as the experience of communities from India and Australia suggests, Adani symbolises the dangers of untrammelled corporate power.

    Chennai Climate Action Group standing up to Adani

    As youth from across the world, we are very concerned for our future. We are convinced that a world under corporations will only enrich shareholders by robbing the environment, communities and generations to come. We extend our solidarity to the farmers protesting outside Delhi for fair prices for their produce and for more control over their own destinies.

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Wilderness conservationist, author and bushwalker, partner of Amanda Sully, father of Elliott. 2010 Churchill Fellow.