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French journalists labelled spies over Indian mining investigation

Mining News - Published on Fri, 07 Dec 2018

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The Guardian reported that two French journalists have been labelled spies and are the subject of a criminal investigation after they tried to report on sand mining in south India - an assignment they took up because Indian journalists had been threatened for reporting on the issue. Arthur Bouvart and Jules Giraudat arrived in Tamil Nadu state in November to investigate the environmental impact of mining sand, a resource that has become scarce and increasingly lucrative amid a decades-long Asian construction boom.

The journalists, who were in India on tourist visas, work for Forbidden Stories, which pursues investigations other reporters have been killed, jailed or threatened over. Tamil Nadu has allegedly been the site of rampant illegal extraction of sand and other beach minerals, which activists estimate could have cost the state exchequer at least USD 300 million in lost revenues.

Ms Sandhya Ravishankar, Indian journalist, said that, she was stalked and harassed last year after publishing a series of investigative reports into the industry, which she alleged was allowed to operate illegally by colluding with state and federal officials.

According to a report filed by the Tamil Nadu state police, Bouvart and Giraudat entered a facility belonging to Indian Rare Earths Limited (Irel), a national mining agency, and spent five minutes on the premises before they were asked to leave the “prohibited place”.

The police document says the men, accompanied by a local priest, were permitted to enter the premises by a security guard, did not film inside and left when asked to do so.

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Posted By : Nanda Koijam on Fri, 07 Dec 2018
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