"If I lose my life today, please know they will be the reason," said Tapal Ganesh, Owner, Tumti Iron Ore Mine in Bellary.
Three days after Tapal Ganesh, a third-generation miner in Bellary, told NDTV this after he was attacked in broad daylight by club-wielding goons.
The unidentified men attacked Ganesh and two of his brothers, when they were waiting outside a hotel to meet the Survey of India team set up by the Supreme Court to determine whether reserved forest areas have been encroached by the Obulapuram Mining Company, owned by G Janardhana Reddy.
The attackers, who came in a car and were armed with sticks, also beat up four journalists present there before fleeing the scene, police said.
Police rushed to the spot and shifted the injured mine owners to a hospital. The incident has triggered panic in the city. Police said they were investigating into the incident.
The Reddy brothers - Janardhana and Karunakara - are Karnataka ministers and mining magnates. (Read: The rise of the Reddy brothers)
Ganesh had told us, he feared an attack from the Reddy Brothers - Janardhana and Karunakara because his four-year-long RTI and court battle has landed their mining empire in a Supreme Court inquiry.
On Saturday, the Supreme Court-appointed inspectors have landed in Bellary to assess the Reddy mines in Andhra Pradesh that have allegedly encroached Karnataka land.
The five-member Survey of India team, which has been camping in the city, was holding discussions with forest and mines and geology department officials in the private hotel and the three representatives of TNR mining company, including Ganesh, were there to meet the team. (Read: What the dispute is all about)
On one such piece of land is Ganesh's mine, Tumti. He had filed his first police complaint in 2006. Two years later, when the Reddys became ministers, they ordered a land survey that ruled out Ganesh's allegation.
In 2009 Ganesh moved Karnataka High Court and filed another case: Alleging the Reddy Brothers' had encroached areas outside their mining leases in Siddapuram in Andhra.
The Centrally Empowered Committee On Forests found this true. K Rosaiah, the Andhra CM, suspended all mining leases Reddy Brothers held in his state and when they opposed, took them to Supreme Court that is now surveying these mines.
Meanwhile, Ganesh's family lives in fear.
"I myself received the phone madam. A gruff male voice said, "You are crossing the line too much. We will finish you off," said Sadhana, sister of Tapal Ganesh.
How easy is it for an ordinary citizen to take on a ruling party politician who has money, muscle, clout and a large mining empire? But Tapal Ganesh has, and his story might well be the symbol of the power of RTI. (With PTI inputs)