In 1990, activist Kuranamoyee Sadar participated in a demonstration against the seizing of rice fields by a local industrialist; thugs connected with the shrimp industry attacked, throwing crude bombs and Kuranamoyee took the full force of the blast. She died instantly. Her attackers stole her remains. The anniversary of her death, November 7th, is now marked by international protests.
Similarly, late in 2002, activists from Nijera Kori - a leading Bangladesh NGO - were attacked alongside landless groups' leaders by thugs connected to the shrimp trade. Four were hospitalised and a dozen seriously injured. The attackers are reported to have demanded that activists take part in no further protests against the shrimp industry, provide no support to anyone else doing so and do not observe the anniversary of Kuranamoyee Sadar.
In India, violent conflict has also accompanied shrimp farm expansion. Protesters against illegally constructed shrimp farms at Chilika Lake, in Orissa State, paid the price when police attacked activists after a historic court ruling against any aquaculture expansion in the ecologically important Chilika Lake region. Villagers destroyed eleven illegal prawn farms in the region but were violently attacked by police with sticks, teargas and guns. Four people were killed - including a woman - and thirteen seriously injured. One activist, Banchhanidhi Behera, died instantly, while Digambar Behrera and Prema Behra died on the way to hospital.
None of those responsible are understood to have been brought to justice. The World Rainforest Movement urged the international community to contact the Indian government and demand prosecution against the Chilika attackers and those operating shrimp farms illegally. At the time of writing no such action is reported to have been taken. Campaigners claim this is not surprising as the shrimp industry in the Chilika Lake region is supported by local politicians and bureaucrats.
In Indonesia, government plans to dramatically expand
prawn production employing modern intensive aquaculture
techniques are, according to Friends of the Earth (FoE),
threatening ecologically important mangrove forests and
marginalising traditional (and sustainable)
shrimp farming communities.