Antonio Padilla, a Spanish citizen from Andalucia is on hunger strike in India in a protest against the Indian authorities in Haridwar (northern India) who won’t let him build a football stadium on land he bought in 1997. Following 13 days without eating he has been hospitalized.
Padilla, who has a degree in Sports Science, has accused the Indian authorities in Uttaranchal of intimidation. He says that they want to expropriate land that he bought 10 years ago for 37,000 euros with the aim of setting up a sports stadium.
However, the land acquired by Padillas is in an area undergoing urban redevelopment and is now valued at 350,000 euros. According to Padilla this is one of the reasons why the authorities are interested in expropriating the land.
When building work on the project began the authorities stopped it because under Indian law foreigners are not allowed to invest in property. Padilla said that when he bought the land everybody involved knew he was a foreigner including the seller, the estate agent, the lawyers who drew up the papers and the land registry.
Therefore he firmly believes that the land belongs to him. In addition he stressed that the land was acquired for social purposes not speculation – he intended to use the sports facilities to train children in poverty.
Juan Manuel Rojas, Padilla’s business partner also went on hunger strike in Pushkar (western India) last September, so that the authorities would allow him to build a football stadium there, something which he finally achieved following 13 days on hunger strike. Padilla said that he felt weak following 13 days on hunger strike although now he was receiving intravenous fluids something which he said would only serve to prolong his hunger strike which he says he is determined to continue to the end if necessary