‘On November 8, two women activists were assaulted and left for dead because they were following the illegal mining trail. This is how bad the coal mafia is in Meghalaya.’
‘Most politicians own coal mines, some policemen own coal mines and some in the administration own them.’
‘So what you have is a nice cocktail and everybody is protecting each other.’
A fortnight later, three helmets have been found, but nothing else.
Even as the families of the miners pray for them, Kyrmen Shylla, Meghalaya’s disaster management minister, has pinned his hopes on ‘God’s grace and some miracle’ to keep them alive.
The manner in which India is handling this humanitarian crisis is in stark contrast to the successful rescue operation in Thailand to save a young football team and their coach, where India played a key role by sending high-powered dewatering pumps.
“Very little was done. Now even if you do it, it is too little too late as those people are dead anyway. You cannot survive in a rat hole coal mine for 14 days