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“Ingilos’ Expressed Their Mistrust towards Kaheti Governor

11.08.2006
“Ingilos’ Expressed Their Mistrust towards Kaheti Governor

 

Ingilos living in Dedophlistskaro district village of Samtatskaro consider themselves victims of torture, who have been assaulted by the state representative of the president to Kakheti and his administration members and blame human rights defenders for indifference.

In unendurable heat and surrounded by numerous reptiles, without water and gas, facing danger of starvation, oppressed and threatened by authority representatives, Herrs publicly express their mistrust to Kakheti Governor Petre Tsiskatishvili after 7-month-captivity and they menace to start starvation in front of the State Chancellery and Parliament buildings if on 28 August at St. Maria Day the bridge to Saingilo has not been opened.

“We escaped the danger of internal converting to the Muslim religion in the 20s of the last century and settled on the Alazani embankment hoping that Saingilo was too close to us. We got used to terrible heat, having no road, water, doctor, also a lot of mosquitoes and reptiles, which move in our houses like ants. The trouble was distracted by the possibility of meeting with our brothers and sisters, parents and relatives in Saingilo easily via solid military bridge on the Alazani. Two dozen years ago that time government exiled the population from the mountainous Adjara, victims of the element, to our village. ‘Ingilos assisted them and we have been enduring this hard life together for thirty years already. Most part of them were baptised Orthodox under benediction of His Holiness. They have also obtained relatives on the other side. …We were hopefully looking forward to better changes after ‘Rose Revolution’ in the country. We expected the government to pay attention to us too; we expected our children to have minimal hopes not to grow up into potential slaves. We thought our unique breed ‘saferavi’ would be valued properly, also to be apportioned money for the grapes distributed from our marani which we had not received for a long time, we hoped to be paid attention for being a border village, but to our surprise masked people, sent by Kakheti Governor on 31 December 2005, pulled down the bridge and people having left for Saingilo were forced to stay there and visi versa. Seven months have passed since then and there are different reasons for the blockade: bird flue, smuggling or poor conditions of the bridge. We have held peaceful demonstration to find out real reasons for locking the bridge, but we were opposed by armed people sent by Petre Tsiskarishvili. This problem was illuminated in the newspapers, was broadcast on radio and TV, but neither high ranking nor lower ones supported us. We have sent a delegation to Kakheti Governor, including village and district authority. He did not receive us for being busy several times. Finally we met him, but in vain. He was rocking on his chair not listening to us. Having left we expressed our discontent. Governor’s counsellor, Davit Tsiskarishvili pointed us to the door saying ironically and rudely: “Go and demand your Saingilo from Ordjonikidze”.  It is too painful and insulting for us to be reminded of Ordjonikidze. It is like stepping on the wound what is still bleeding. The existence of new ‘Ordjonikidzes’ for the first time made us envy those Turkish and Iranian people, who live outside Georgia. They threatened us to punish severely if we dare to fill the holes near the bridge once more; the people are scared. Nobody has tried to cross the bridge afterwards. Our children’s eyes still are full of horror of being raided and unprotected,”- Samtackaro inhabitants declare. 

The population has applied to Georgian Patriarch for help. Herrs asked his Holiness to mediate between them and the government to allow them to travel to Saingilo at least on St. George Day but in vain.

On 5 May on the previous day of St. George Holiday ‘dedozari’ (big bell) was striking and calling for the people. “The boundary was full of people wishing to go to St. George Day to celebrate it throughout the night. We hoped that they would not attack us by masked people at least for St. George’s sake but we were hard mistaken. People, ready to pray were attacked; threw us about trying to raid us and threatened by detention. We spent that night on the bridge hoping to receive permission on going to the St. George’s Day but nobody remembered us… After that the governor sent for us and cynically informed that in two years they would invite investors, find out one or two millions and would build a new European-designed bridge. Meanwhile he advised us to take back roads or walk to our ‘dream’ Saingilo.” Besides he even threatened us that Samtackaro and three more villages would be left without water if our cars had destroyed the bridge.  There is some tube under the bridge, but why do not they enquire how long we have not had water? All in all the population and the grass-covered bridge have been serving our penalty for already seven months,”-says Julieta Abulashvili.

As ‘Ingilos’ state regional authority has blocked the military bridge on the Alazani to force the local people to leave the place. “Do you know how many high ranks have bought lands in Samtackaro using other names? Actually we, young people are slaves in the wine yards of Bokeria, Zodelava, Tsiskarishvili and the others. We meet old debt to the new one here. Private Bank based in Dedophlisckaro issues credit in exchange of the lease on wine yard or a house. We intend to pay debts just after selling the grape, but it matures last of all regions. That is why the harvest is bought by the enterprises from different regions. The governor himself has ordered to prevent us from purchasing our grape for a good price. Last year the Adjarian people having bought our grape were terribly beaten and they gave our product back. Finally they bought our pure Saferavi for 70 tetri a kilo and we have not received the money for it yet. Thus we can not pay our debts; somebody has resulted into the losing his house the other has lost his wine yard. If we complaint they threat us, and tell us not to forget what houses we are living  in, they are not privatized and if we speak up too much they would exile us. To tell the truth, we can not endure any more. It is not even living faintly,”-N. Atamashvili, A. Dumbadze, Chochashvili, Sakanelashvili and the others can not hide their anger.

It must be pointed out that blocking the bridge resulted into the increasing number of the death. Lia Aslamazishvili names not having a doctor in the village as a reason for the problem. “Let alone the shop, we have no drug-shop in the village.  We were treated in Zakatala hospital before locking the bridge. If somebody got ill, we used to take him there. Now if a person has heart attack, we can not help him. 6-months-old child Phutkaradze died in our hands for ambulance being late which was called form Dedophlistkaro and it took an hour and half to get here. Who knows how many more people would die for the reason?! Particularly in winter, when the way to Dedophlistskaro gets slippery and it is quite impossible to move along the road. In this case we would be totally isolated.”

Although we tried to get in touch with Kakheti Regional Representative of the President, Petre Tsiskarishvili did not reply us.

Ingilo population living in Samtatskaro and Saingilo applied to the president with the help of Elene Tevdoradze a month ago, but there is no reply from them. “On meeting with her Elene Tevdoradze promised us to aid, but when we are calling her to hear the answer she either does not reply us, or she is abroad. If there is someone who protects human rights in this country, why do not they get interested in the fact and enquire why the bridge has been locked for so long time without any administrative act and we are not allowed to live free. We are internally restricted. We can not see our children, parents. We are not allowed to go praying to Kurmukhi St George church.  Some people walked to Saingilo and they were attacked by dogs. This is torture. Can anyone understand it?”- The people ask.

The population tries to sue the locking of the bridge in the court. As Lia Khuroshvili, lawyer for ‘Human Rights Information and Documentation Centre’ states, they have sent official statements to several offices to estimate why and who has locked the bridge. “The court can discuss both written and oral administrative acts. The point is to ascertain who has ordered to lock the bridge. It is such illegal and unjustified behavior that I suppose that despite oppression, the judge should pass honest verdict.  We shall sue to the court in several days, I think,”-says lawyer Lia Khuroshvili.

Before court has passed the verdict and the president’s administration has replied, the ‘Ingilos’ would try to open the bridge through demonstrations held in front of the Parliament and the State Chancellery. According to our information, Herrs from Dedophlisckaro would be joined by the population from neighbor villages of Firosmani, Sabatlo and Kedi as well as Ingilos living in Azerbaijan and representatives of Kakheti based NGOs.

Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti

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