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Archive for the ‘ORISSA’ Category

Bulldozer regime

Posted by ajadhind on June 3, 2010

PRAFULLA DAS
in Bhubaneswar

source – frontline

Protests against displacement by industries in Orissa show no sign of losing steam.

BISWARANJAN ROUT/AP

Kabita Sahoo inside her house, burnt during clashes between anti-Posco activists and the police at Balitutha village, on May 16.

In a State where more than two-thirds of rural families live below the poverty line and other social indicators are as dismal, the process of industrialisation that began at the turn of the century ought to have been a cause for optimism. But, of late, people have been fighting tooth and nail the many proposed industrial projects in Orissa because they threaten to take away their fertile lands and livelihood sources. The latest flashpoint was on May 15 at Balitutha, the main entry point to the project area of Posco-India Private Limited in Jagatsinghpur district, where the police fired rubber bullets and resorted to lathi-charge against hundreds of men and women who have been holding a dharna against the South Korean company’s steel project since January 26 this year.

The protests against displacement in the State have shown little sign of losing steam despite publicity campaigns by private companies “to be partners in progress” or Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s frequent statements on television about peaceful industrialisation. Highways of the State are replete with billboards of private companies announcing sponsorships, scholarships, health camps or skill development programmes.

The hard sell is no more evident than in capital Bhubaneswar where workshops and seminars on Orissa’s ‘development’ in various sectors have become a regular feature. Both the government and the private sector feed the media with information that suits them the most. Leading editors in the State are invited for exclusive briefings or meetings with corporate bigwigs.

In the far-flung districts where there is much opposition from people to industrial projects, company executives seem to have won over many local journalists; it is not surprising for a visiting journalist to find scribes canvassing for the projects. The Internet is a major tool used by corporate communications departments and public relations firms to issue press releases that squarely blame people’s organisations for the delay in the implementation of industrial projects.

The major projects facing strong anti-displacement protests in the State are Posco, Tata Steel, and Vedanta Aluminium Limited. In Jagatsinghpur district, Posco faces opposition from the people of three gram panchayats for its proposed steel plant with a capacity of 12 million tonnes. In Kalinganagar, Tata Steel is trying to acquire 3,200 acres (one acre is 0.4 hectare) for a six-million tonne steel plant.

Vedanta has plans to extract bauxite from the Niyamgiri hills at Lanjigarh for its alumina refinery situated near by. Besides, a foundation run by Anil Agarwal, the founder-director of U.K.-based Vedanta, is making all-out efforts to establish ‘a world-class university’ alongside the Puri-Konark marine drive. The State government, however, is nonchalant about the anti-displacement agitations. Indeed, the administration seems to have been left free to help the companies acquire land through various means. Using police force against the agitators has become the order of the day.

On January 2, 2006, 14 tribal men and women opposing ground-levelling work on the land allotted to Tata Steel in Kalinganagar were killed in police firing. Later, criminal cases were registered against those leading agitations against various companies in different regions, and many of them were arrested.

The next phase of action against those opposing industry-induced displacement started in Kalinganagar in March this year when the people of affected villages and activists of the Bisthapan Birodhi Janamanch were attacked indiscriminately. More than 700 armed policemen were deployed in the Kalinganagar area to facilitate the construction of a common corridor road. The local people say the road will primarily be of use to Tata Steel if the plant is established there. On March 30, hundreds of policemen entered Baligotha village in Kalinganagar and fired rubber bullets at the residents and beat them up for opposing the construction of the road. Apparently, many people who were injured did not go to hospital fearing arrest. A few days later, members of the pro-industry group attacked workers in the same area. A local journalist was hurt while covering the incident, and his camera was snatched away.

The police action then shifted to villages where people refused to vacate their land and homes for the Tata project. On May 12, the police opened fire in Chandia village and a tribal person was killed. The body of the victim, Laxman Jamuda, was cremated under mysterious circumstances, and the police refuted the villagers’ claim that the death was caused by police firing.

Rabindra Jarika, secretary of the Bisthapan Birodhi Janamanch, is, however, firm about continuing the protest. “We will not allow destruction in the name of development at any cost. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik cannot carry out industrialisation at gunpoint,” he said.

Balitutha incident

As efforts were on in Kalinganagar to carry forward the displacement process, on May 15, hundreds of policemen went berserk at Balitutha when they tried to chase away people who were holding a dharna against the Posco steel project. Many people were injured in the incident, which occurred in the presence of senior administration officials. The police were acting under the instructions of the State government, which was making a desperate attempt to facilitate the implementation of the project, already delayed by five years.

Those sitting in dharna at Balitutha had created a ‘laxman rekha’, resolving to prevent the entry of any official, the police or Posco employees to the gram panchayats of Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakunjang. The proposed project is likely to affect 20,000 people in these villages.

The local residents who ran for their life on May 15, however, returned to Balitutha on May 19 with the same resolve to resist the project and attended a public meeting organised by the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti. The Samiti has been opposing the steel project since the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the company and the State government in June 2005.

The leaders of six opposition parties – the Communist Party of India (CPI), which is backing the Sangram Samiti; the Communist Party of India (Marxist); the Samajwadi Party; the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and the Forward Bloc – addressed the meeting. CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan condemned the police repression and warned the State government against using police force to acquire land for the Posco project, which would affect thousands of families. “Use of force will only add strength to the agitation,” he said.

PRAFULLA DAS

Rabindra Jarika, Bisthapan Birodhi Janamanch leader, leading a rally of tribal people against displacement in Kalinganagar area, on May 22.

Sangram Samiti president Abhay Sahoo criticised the State government for not taking the village committees into confidence and for submitting wrong information to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests with regard to the use of nearly 1,200 acres of forest land in order to help the company get the final forest clearance for the project. The government said no one lived on the forest land when there were tribal people living there and cultivating the forest land. Under the existing laws, villagers living on forest land have genuine rights over the land on which they have been living for generations together, he added.

A day after the meeting, the Chief Minister held a discussion with the Lok Sabha Member from Jagatsinghpur, Bibhu Prasad Tarai of the CPI, and four legislators of the ruling Biju Janata Dal from the area. He gave them a proposal that Posco would be asked to exclude 300 acres of private land under Dhinkia panchayat from the 4,004 acres of land earmarked for the steel plant. The CPI rejected it.

Bardhan, who was camping in Bhubaneswar, told the media the next day that the State government should shift the project to another place. Although he welcomed the government’s willingness for talks between senior officials and those opposing the project, he said there would not be any deviation from the demand for the shifting of the site.

He also demanded that the State government issue a White Paper on the Rs.52,000-crore Posco project stating how much Orissa would lose in terms of land, captive iron ore and water from the Mahanadi river; the impact the project would have on the people and their livelihoods; and the impact of the proposed captive port of Posco on the existing major port at Paradip.

Vedanta’s projects

As for the agitation against Vedanta Aluminium’s proposed bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri hills, which is considered sacred by the Dongria Kondh tribal community, and the pollution the company’s alumina refinery is allegedly causing, the Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti is hopeful that the Centre will deny mining clearance to the company in view of the latest reports by three experts who were sent to the area by the Union Environment Ministry. The tribal people of Niyamgiri had failed to resist the construction of the company’s refinery, but they are now united in their fight to save Niyamgiri from being mined (see “Battle for survival”, page 37).

Similarly, hundreds of families and many people’s organisations in Puri are strongly against the acquisition of 6,000 acres of land for the Vedanta University project. While there are many cases pending in different courts against the project, those opposing the venture are sticking to their stand against handing over a vast expanse of land for the establishment of a university in alleged violation of coastal zone management rules. Acquisition of land for the proposed steel plant project of ArcelorMittal with a capacity of 12 million tonnes also faces opposition in mineral-rich Keonjhar district, which has been in the headlines for large-scale illegal mining.

But even as protest continues in different places against the handing over of thousands of acres of land, displacement, diversion of water meant for irrigation to industries, illegal mining and pollution of the environment, the companies, with the help of the local administration and political leaders, are trying hard to divide people in the name of development in order to achieve their goals. The main opposition parties in the State, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, which express their opposition to displacement now and then, have not been able to force the government to resolve the issues of land acquisition and displacement. Meanwhile, the district administrations concerned are making serious efforts to facilitate land acquisition for the industries.

The Chief Minister reiterates that his government favours peaceful industrialisation and warns that no one should take the law into their hands. He has also been saying that not a single drop of water meant for irrigation will be diverted to industries. He has been attending most of the ceremonies organised at the State secretariat for the signing of MoUs to set up new steel plants, alumina refineries, ports, thermal power plants and other such ventures.

He has also been assuring companies and promoters of all cooperation from the government. He also reviews regularly the progress on different industrial projects such as Posco.

But he has not visited any of the villages opposing the industrial projects – even the tribal hamlets of Kalinganagar since the 2006 police firing or Lanjigarh or the coastal villages in Jagatsinghpur where innocent people have been facing the wrath of the police and pro-industry groups.

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Tata sponsored ‘Green Hunt’ in Kalinga Nagar to destroy democratic tribal movement

Posted by ajadhind on April 9, 2010

Yesterday the Collector of Jajpur district assured Dabar Kalundia, a tribal leader of Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch (BBJM) that he would come to Baligotha village on 28 March for a meeting with the dissenting villagers and find a solution to the prevailing conflict. But within a day the Collector has broken his word as today about 24 platoons of armed policemen have been deployed in Kalinga Nagar to suppress the democratic & non-violent movement of the BBJM. It is feared that there will be bloodshed at a larger scale than 2 Jan 06 when 14 tribal men, women & children were killed in a police shootout. The villagers fear the police will attack tomorrow morning.

For more than 3 months now the resistance villages of Kalinga Nagar have been besieged by police forces who have randomly arrested dozens of villagers who stepped out of their village. People have been framed under false charges. There has been repeated midnight attacks by policemen and Tata goons to annihilate key activists of the BBJM. Hired assassins have also tried to eliminate the tribal leaders of the movement and one such attempt caused the death of Amin Banara of Baligotha village. Recently large number of police forces had been deployed on the pretext of building a road through the villages. Every attempt of the police and administration to quell the dissent of the people has been countered in democratic and non-violent ways by the BBJM.

The BBJM has clarified several times that it is not a Maoist backed organisation and does not want violence. The BBJM has made it clear that it will not accept displacement and mindless industrialisation that is already causing massive pollution in the area leading to widespread disease, crop failure, air, water & sound pollution. The Collector also agreed to the meeting only after the BBJM wrote several letters to him demanding that their concerns be addressed first as the Collector had been announcing in some meetings in the area that the Common Corridor Road would be built at any cost.

Surprisingly the print and electronic media have so far ignored developments in Kalinganagar which itself is a threat to democracy. Mainstream political parties also have reached a consensus with the ruling party which creates concerns among all citizens who understand the implications of mobilization of armed police in kalinganagar villages resisting Tata induced displacement.

We demand that the Govt should stop acting like a hired mercenary of Tata Steel company and withdraw all police forces from the area immediately. If there is any bloodshed the sole responsibility will lie on the Govt. The Govt should also give up the Common Corridor Road project as it will be built on fertile farm land and the community land of the tribals. The Govt should respect the sacrifice of the 14 tribals killed by the police and scrap the Tata project immediately. There should be no further displacement & dispossession of tribal people from their land. The Govt should immediately start working towards restoring peace in the area by assuring the tribals that there will be no attacks on them by the police or Tata goons. A medical team should be sent to the villages immediately as people have not been able to visit doctors for days in fear of arrest.

We appeal to all concerned citizens, progressive groups & media persons to raise their voice against the Fascist tendencies of the Govt and express solidarity with the tribals of Kalinga Nagar.

Prafulla Samnatara, (Lok Shakti Abhijan)
Lingaraj, (Samajbadi Jan Parishad)
Radhakant Sethi, (CPI-ML Liberation)
Prashanta Paikrai, (PPSS)
Bhalachandra Sadangi, (CPI-ML New Democracy)
Lingaraj Azad, (NSS)

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10 policemen killed by maoist attack in Orissa

Posted by ajadhind on April 5, 2010

A powerful bomb blast in eastern India has claimed the lives of at least 10 policemen.

Another 10 policemen were injured in the attack that took place in the Koraput district of the state of Orissa on Sunday.

The police officers were killed when a landmine planted by Maoist rebels struck the vehicle they were travelling in.

“We are confirming 10 deaths, but it may go up,” senior police official Sanjeev Panda told reporters.

Sources said the security personnel were on patrol as part of anti-insurgency operations.

Maoist rebels have stepped up attacks in response to a government offensive that was launched late last year.

The Maoist insurgency began as a peasant uprising in 1967 and has now spread to 20 of India’s 28 states. Over 6,000 people have died in clashes over the decades.

Posted in NAXALISM, ORISSA | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

POLICE ASSAULT WOMEN FACTFINDING TEAM IN NARAYANAPATNA, ORISSA

Posted by ajadhind on December 23, 2009

PRESS RELEASE
POLICE ASSAULT WOMEN FACTFINDING TEAM IN NARAYANAPATNA, ORISSA
Update at 2.45 p.m., 9 December, 2009

A 9 woman fact-finding team and their driver were assaulted in the Narayanpatna Police Station premises when they went to enquire into the conditions leading up to the police firing of 20 November, 2009, in Naryanpatna, Orissa. The 20 November, 2009, firing which left 2 adivasis dead and hundreds injured has triggered tensions in the area. The team which fled the police and other armed people in Orissa just concluded a press conference at Parvathipuram, Vijayanagaram District, Andhra Pradesh. The team was in Orissa after receiving disturbing reports of state-sponsored violence, rape, molestations and atrocities against adivasi villagers, and members of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh. According to reliable reports, the CMAS, a peaceful, democratic movement fighting for the dignity and rights of adivasis, is being branded extremist by the State in a prelude to unleashing terror on the tribal inhabitants of the area. Prompting the State’s violence is the CMAS’ campaign for land rights and against the liquor-moneylender-mining lobby. Following the firing of 20 November, 2009, the conditions in Narayanpatna have been vitiated, with platoons of state police, CRPF and the dreaded Cobra battalions posted in the area. The routes to the area have been sealed off, and reports filtering out of the area from adivasis speak of atrocities against adivasis. This bears a striking resemblance to Home Minister P.Chidambaram’s Operation Greenhunt launched against indigenous people in Chattisgarh to evict them from their lands, and free up the areas for occupation by mining corporations like Tata and Essar.

Below is a narrative of the day’s happenings as told by Shweta Narayan and Madhumita Dutta over phone:

Even before our visit, we had alerted the District Collector on 8 December 2009, of our intent to visit and enquire into the situation. We had sought his assistance in facilitating a meeting with the adivasi leaders of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh imprisoned by the police in the wake of the 20 November, 2009, firings. We were particularly interested in meeting one woman leader who was allegedly raped in police custody. The Collector was told clearly about our intent to visit and our identities.
The team comprised:

1. Sudha Bhardwaj, Advocate, and PUCL-Chhattisgarh

2. Mamata Dash, NFFPFW, Delhi
3. Madhumita Dutta, The Other Media, Chennai
4. Shweta Narayan, The Other Media, Chennai
5. Rumita Kundu, Campaign Against Violence on Women, Bhubaneswar
6. Pramila, Muktigami Mahila Sanghatana, Bhubaneswar
7. Kusum Karnik, NFFPFW, Vidarbha, Maharashtra
8. Ramani, Progress Organisation of Women, Parvathipuram, Andhra Pradesh

9. Durga Jha, Chattisgarh Mahila Adhikar Manch, Chhattisgarh
At 10 a.m., an All India Women’s Fact Finding Team consisting of 9 women reached Narayanpatna Police Station and requested to meet the Station In-charge.

We were told that the policeman was busy, and were asked to come in the evening. The person questioning us asked us for names and mobile phone numbers and names of organisations. We gave all of that. We noticed quite a number of uniformed policemen, and many people in plainclothes. None of the people in uniform (we assume they were policemen) had any name tags. We asked one of them who the people in plainclothes were, and were told that they were all policemen. We asked the man how many police were there in this area, and he said more than 2000 police. One striking thing is that none of the many people gathered there were adivasi.

About 20 adivasi men were huddled, squatting inside the police station premises. We asked the police man near us who they were, and were told that the adivasis were former activists of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh, who had come to surrender. This has been happening for a few days now, and many newspapers are reporting this.

By this time, the crowd of so-called plainclothes police were getting restless. We heard people commenting saying: “Ab aa rahen hain. Jab hamarey gaon jal rahe the, tho kahaan the?” (When our farms were being burnt, where were you? Now they show up.)

Madhumita felt the situation was looking troublesome, and suggested we leave. As we were stepping out of the police station, our driver was cordoned off and was being questioned in a very hostile manner and being threatened. We heard someone saying that he is a regular to these parts, and they enquired as to his antecedents.

We somehow managed to extricate the driver. One of the policemen in plainclothes, who we saw inside the police station premises, was taking photographs, and he said “Maaro Inko.” (Beat these people up). That is when more than 200 people surged ahead. The driver was being slapped repeatedly. Madhu and 75-year old Kusum Karnik tried to intervene and that is when one man went for Madhu’s throat. Kusum was hurt too.

Rumita Kundu was verbally abused inside the police station. One man crudely said that all these women had come to sleep with the men there. Mamta Dash was hit on her back, and abused. One man attempted to strangle madhu. When she moved to save herself, her jaw was injured. All this happened inside the police station premises.

The driver was the one that was being assaulted most, and we did all we could to extricate him and board our vehicle. By this time, the vehicle was being broken. The rear windscreen was broken. With great difficulty, we fled the area driving towards Bandhugaon. We were followed by the plainclothesmen who claimed to be police on bikes. Somewhere between Bandhugaon Police Station and the village itself, we were stopped by two men in plainclothes. They said they were police, and they demanded to see the driver’s license. As he was enquiring, about 20 people gathered there. But nothing untoward happened here. We were scared nevertheless.

From there, we proceeded to Kottulpetta. Even before we got to this village, news seemed to have reached them about our visit. A road blockade had been organised, with a bullock cart blocking the road. There were no oxen. The people there, again all non-tribals, pulled out the driver and started assaulting him. They tried to pull down another male colleague of ours, Mr. Poru Chandra Sahu. and tried to beat them up. We intervened, and that’s when Kusum didi, the 75-year old activist, was hurt on her head. We were there for more than 15 minutes. More violence. More damage to the vehicle. More slaps for the driver. Our friends outside had been notified almost as soon as problems began, and phone calls must have been pouring into the Collector and SP’s office.

By this time, two bikes carrying one of the plainclothes “policemen” who had taken our names in Narayanpatna, and another plainclothes guy who was tall and burly, reached there and asked the youth to disperse.

We reached Bondapalli, the border village within Andhra Pradesh. Almost in no time, a jeep load of Andhra Pradesh police along with plainclothes youth (young boys) armed with rifles and bullets arrived on the scene. They demanded to know who we were. We were treated more like criminals than victims, and our vehicle was searched. Only after Madhu spoke to the SP of Vijayanagar, and the DGP were we allowed to go. The police who stopped us immediately changed the tune, and offered to help us with medical assistance etc.

Our experience with armed youth and police has left us clearly terrified, and convinced that the situation created by the police in Narayanpatna and this part of Orissa is extremely vitiated. We have the following concerns and demands which we conveyed to the media at a press conference in Parvathipuram, Vijayanagarm District, Andhra Pradesh.
When Medha Patkar, Binayak Sen, Abhay Sahoo called the Collector, Koraput, his first response was that he had no prior information about the team’s visit and no information of any such incident in the area. Later, he said he is rushing in a RDO to the spot. His last version, when the team was trying to flee the area after it was attacked for the third time in police presence, was that the team’s vehicle was found abandoned near Andhra Border and that there was no one in the vehicle. He stated the same to Binayak and Medha also. This was the time when some MPs had called the Collector and Governor and Medha had spoken to the Governor’s OSD. So we realised that either he was lying outrightly or he was being deliberately fed wrong information, in anticipation of another brutal attack, by the SP.

Concerns:
1. The scenario of terror that we witnessed, and were subject to shows the kind of tense situation prevailing in the Narayanpatna area post November 20, 2009’s police firings in Narayanpatna.
2. There is no access for people to get in and out of the villages in Narayanpatna, with all routes blocked by armed goons.
3. There is no way to get information about what is happening inside, and no means of verifying the very disturbing accounts we are getting about abuses, molestations and violence against adivasi people.
4. The number of plainclothesmen who claimed they were police, and the comfort with which people outside the Narayanpatna police station were interacting with the police, and reacting to one policeman’s instruction to beat us up, suggests that there may be some truth to reports that there is a Salwa Judum style Shanthi Samiti in this area as well. This may either be sponsored or working in close complicity with the police and state.
4. If the Fact Finding team of prominent women has been treated with such violence, it is clear that there is absolutely no room for dissent inside the villages.
5. All the people who attacked us were non-tribals.

Demands:
1. The officers at the Police Station should be suspended to create an impartial stituation and enable the carrying out of investigations into the firing of 20 November, 2009, and the subsequent reports of atrocities against tribal people.
2. The SP Koraput should be suspended.
3. The Government should constitute a high-level independent investigation team and not depend on the police, who are clearly biased, and are using the language of terror and violence to suppress dissent.

For more information, contact:
Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj: 09926603877
Madhumita Dutta: 9444390240
Mamta Dash: 09868259836
All India Women’s Fact-Finding Team to Enquire into 20 November, 2009, Narayanpatna Police Firing, Orissa.

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Orissa: Mining company’s scare tactics against human rights NGO

Posted by ajadhind on December 23, 2009

There have been repeated protests against Vedanta’s planned mine.
© Satyabady Naik

Metals giant Vedanta Resources’ Indian subsidiary has launched an unprecedented attack on Survival International, apparently to drive its researchers out of an area where the company is planning to mine.

The mining company has falsely accused Survival of ‘forcedly interacting’ with the Dongria Kondh tribe who live around the area earmarked for mining, and of causing ‘unrest.’ Vedanta has prompted a police investigation into Survival, with officers making a late night visit to a hotel where they believed Survival researchers were staying.

Survival researchers were in the Niyamgiri area of Orissa, east India, to talk with members of the Dongria Kondh community whose future is threatened by a proposed Vedanta mine on their sacred mountain.

Pavan Kaushik, Vedanta Group’s head of corporate communications, wrote to journalists alleging that ‘foreign NGOs including Survival International… are provoking innocent tribal’s to defame the government and the company’. In the letter, he attacked ‘foreigners’ for ‘freely moving in the region’ and alleged that they were circulating ‘false information’. The letter also invites journalists to contact the regional Superintendent of Police, who is named as available for interview.

In September the British government ruled that Vedanta had repeatedly failed to respect the human rights of the Dongria Kondh, demanding a change in the company’s behaviour. The government asked Survival to report back on what steps Vedanta had taken to implement these ‘essential’ changes before the end of the year.

Gordon Bennett, a London barrister who represented the Kalahari Bushmen in their historic win over the Botswana government, has been acting on behalf of the Dongria Kondh in their complaint over Vedanta’s behaviour, and accompanied the Survival researchers.

He said today, ‘We have not circulated any false information about Vedanta’s mining activities. All the information we have given the Dongria has been culled from Vedanta’s own mining plan, which it has never troubled to discuss with the Dongria itself. We have not ‘forcedly interacted’ with the Dongrias: on the contrary we have been warmly welcomed by all those we have been able to meet.

‘We have not provoked ‘innocent tribals’ to defame either the government or Vedanta. It is true to say however that feelings run high in Niyamgiri and that many Dongria regard Vedanta with suspicion and distrust. They believe that their way of life is under serious threat.

‘We have done nothing to create ‘misunderstanding’. It is Vedanta which has done this, both by its refusal to meet with us, and more importantly by its repeated failure either to consult the Dongria about its plans for their sacred hills, or to pay any regard to their views.’

He added, ‘If Vedanta has nothing to hide, it is difficult to understand why it has gone out of its way to obstruct our inquiries. Their press release is entirely without foundation.’

Survival researcher Dr. Jo Woodman is available for interview in India on +91 9953 409 060. For other media enquiries please contact Miriam Ross on +(44) (0)20 7687 8734 or mr

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No news from Narayanpatna

Posted by ajadhind on December 23, 2009

Source: Radical Notes

“The fact is people have lost the fear of the law because they feel they can get away with anything. My job is to take hard police action against the Naxals. The fear of the law is to be ingrained in the people.”

This is how one of the leading police officers in Chhattisgarh defined his task. All of us understand what constitutes the mechanism of ingraining the fear so that it becomes part of the people’s collective unconscious for a long time to come. It has been practiced in Kashmir, in the Northeast, in Chhattisgarh among many other places, and now in Orissa.

The State has dealt with the Narayanpatna movement in Orissa too in a most brutal, yet tactful, manner so that the possibilities inherent in it are not realized, and its brutal suppression becomes a reminder lesson for others on what constitutes the legitimate within the evolving political economy in India.

As “a single spark can start a prairie fire”, the state apparatuses are not just busy beating the “spark” down, they are, in fact, trying to hide it or corrupt the vision of the beholders, so that the spark does not seem to be a spark. Even liberal fact finding teams are not allowed to enter the Narayanpatna block of Koraput. The bitter experience of the all-women fact finding team that consisted of prominent civil rights activists from all over India is only symbolic of how brutal the State can become when the question is of safeguarding the interests of capital and its agencies.

It would not be fallacious to say that the situation in Narayanpatna is a clear manifestation of the fascist conjuncture of capitalist development in India. We find a remarkable complementarity between the three wings of the Indian state and its coercive and consensual/ideological apparatuses in maintaining the rhyme and reason of political economic developments. The synergy among various levels of political and bureaucratic institutions and between the state’s repressive components (the local police, the cobra battalions, and civilian stormtroopers like salwa judum in Chhattisgarh) and the Fourth Estate of the hegemonic forces is unprecedented. Anybody who has attempted to organize press conferences in Raipur (the capital of Chhattisgarh) to highlight incidences of state repression is witness to mafia media men shouting at the organisers. All these form the fascio (a bundle of sticks or rods) by which the Indian state rules.

Today, we see entry into Narayanpatna virtually impossible. The police, local exploiters and the private militiamen whom the women’s fact finding team confronted on the 9th of December guard the very entrance of the area. To complement this, the local and to an extent the national media has been playing its role most sincerely projecting the movement as an expression of uncivilized violence, while remaining unabashedly antipathetic to the cause and scope of the movement. When fact finding teams have attempted to unravel the truth, what has happened is in front of our eyes. Hence, we have no news from inside Narayanpatna, except a few statements of the police present there – regarding how many are held or killed etc.

The height of brutality that must be going on in Narayanpatna can only be imagined from what treatment a women’s fact finding team received in the hands of ‘the armed bodies of men’ even after taking the requisite permission from the local authorities to enter the area. Abused and beaten came back a team of civil dignitaries with sincere intentions of finding the ‘neutral’ truth.

The media reports that Nachika Linga, leader of CMAS, who is now in the most wanted list of the government is under the shelter of the ‘Maoists’. It is necessary here to pontificate at the apathy of the media towards any move that has been taken in Bhubaneswar (the capital of Orissa) to empathise with the Narayanpatna movement. About 100 people from various organizations on the 10th of December silently demonstrated in the city’s Master Canteen Square against the issuing of the order to arrest Nachika Linga. This was something that could have been sublime to the media but what instead caught the media’s eyes is the probable alliance of Nachika with the ‘Maoists’. (However, if at all Nachika Linga is protected by the Maoists today, this is more a comment on India’s rule of law and those who see possibilities within it – it proves that the ‘democratic’ voices having faith in the present system are not able to protect people’s self-rule efforts).

Today, the State has militarized the democratic movement of the tribals and landless. To tackle the movement of the landless and the near-landless inside Narayanpatna, there is an already existing State sponsored militia. It is important to clarify that this is a well thought out strategy of the state, by which it demarcates the “limits of legitimation” for any popular collective action. And the state understands that the people have crossed those limits in Narayanpatna.

So war zones are being defined and the “national” media is fast becoming a “nationalist” media – a propaganda machinery to fight the influence of “aggressors”. However, this time, the aggression is from within – the “cattle class” which was bred to be slaughtered threatens the “nation” of the first class. The media in India today gives expressions to the anxieties of the first class, packaging its hallucinations as facts and news reports.

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Call to stop an anti-Maoist witch hunt in Orissa

Posted by ajadhind on December 23, 2009

Posted by Rajeesh on December 7, 2009

Source: Radical Notes Posted by Satyabrata December 4, 2009 at 10:27 pm in India, Orissa, State Terrorism

On the 3rd of December, 2009 there was a general closure of all shops and offices in Athagarh to protest against the arrest of Tapan Mishra. On the 4th of December, a public meeting was organized in Lower PMG Square, Bhubaneshwar by several left groups like CPI(ML)(Liberation), CPI(ML)New Democracy, CPI M-L, Gandhians of Lok Shakti Abijan, Lohia-socialists of Samajbadi Jan Parishad and liberals of Athamalic Sachetan Nagarik Mancha. Human rights activists like Biswapriya and other progressive individuals together with the above groups comprised about 200 protesters. Among the speakers were Com. Jayadev, Com. Sivaram, Com. Bhala Chandra, Prafulla Samantara and Lingaraj. Beginning from the communists and Gandhians to Lohia-socialists and liberals, all of them united in their struggle against the ongoing McCarthyist repression in Orissa in the name of hunting down the Maoists. People who had come from different regions of Orissa reported similar arrests of tribal and dalit leaders in their areas. The protesters unanimously raised their voices against the crushing down of democratic movements in general and that at Narayanpatna. The apathy of the media towards the democratic movements was also discussed.

With already five days past the arrest of Tapan Mishra and with no response from the government after protests against his arrest, a four member delegation, consisting of Saraju Singh Samanta, Pratap Nayak, Mahendra Parida and Pramila Behera submitted a memorandum to the Governor of Orissa which included an unconditional release of Tapan Mishra among other demands.

With the government having turned a deaf ear towards the voices of dissent and using its fully armed machinery to crush them down, it is only creating a passion for destruction, of its own destruction, in the sphere of radical democratic politics and as Bakunin would say, “the passion for destruction is a creative passion too.”

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Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS) challenges government in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa

Posted by ajadhind on October 31, 2009

Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS) rally in Bhubaneshwar: Halt mining leases, MNC landgrab, free prisoners

October 21, 2009

The Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS), which held the Koraput district administration to ransom for months and forced non-tribals out of Narayanpatna, on Tuesday threw a challenge to the Government right in the capital.

The Sangha, its leaders announced in a rally, would carry out land grabbing movement by the tribals in other areas of the State. The organisation, considered a Maoist-backed outfit, had created a flutter by forcibly ploughing over 2,000 acres of land belonging to non-tribals in Narayanpatna block. The aggressive posture of the CMAS had sparked off protest and there were rallies demanding the arrest of its leaders at least in five places in the district.

The tribal rally was organised here amidst unprecedented security. The CMAS threatened that if their demands for amendment to the Land Reforms Act and halt to mining lease in forest areas were not accepted by the Government, the agitation will be extended to more areas.

Give us our genuine rights. Get prepared to be killed if there is any negligence,’’ said a poster at the meeting venue at the busy MG Road, which connects the railway station and the state secretariat. “We will forcibly free tribal land in the possession of landlords in other tribal dominated districts as the authorities have failed to give justice to the people,’’ CMAS adviser Gananath Patra told the gathering.

Criticising the Government for trying to “suppress democratic movements” in the name of Maoism, Patra alleged that even journalists and common men are not spared. He demanded immediate release of all innocent tribals languishing in different jails. Orissa Forest Mazdoor Union leader Dandapani Mohanty alleged that multinational companies are acquiring tribal land for mining and setting up industries. Social activist Prafulla Samantray demanded that cases should be lodged against police officials involved in false encounter cases.

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Bhubaneshwar, Orissa: Tribals take to the streets against police atrocities

Amidst unprecedented security arrangements, hundreds of tribals gathered in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday to warn the state government that it must be ready to face consequences unless it changes policies.

At joint rally here, the tribals shouted slogans. The posters they were carrying read: “Kana kholi kari suna sarakar. Ama hak, adhikar amaku dia, na deba jabi mariba pai prastuta hua,” (Government listen carefully. Give us our rights or be ready to die).

The tribals, mostly from southern districts of Koraput and Rayagada, asked the state government to stop police atrocities on the people in the name of curbing Maoist activities. They demanded that the government stop allotment of cultivable and forestlands to industrial houses and said they will continue their land-grabbing spree until their rights were restored. They also demanded inclusion of changes in the Land Act and full rights over forestland.

“This is an integrated, anti-feudal and anti-imperialist movement against land lords, liquor mafia and multi-national companies, who have grabbed everything that belongs to the poor. This rally is a reminder to the government that time is running out,” advisor of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS) Gananath Patra said.

Also a member of CPI (ML), Patra said, the CMAS has so far captured 2,000 acres of land from the people and have re-distributed them to the poor and landless tribals in the nine panchayats of the two districts. The movement has already spread its tentacles into Keonjhar, Dhenakanal and Mayurbhanj districts.

“The government has admitted that there are at lest three lakh landless people in the state. But the government still gives away hundreds of acres of land, rich forest and water to the MNCs,” Raisun Habuda, a tribal from Narayan Patna block, said.

 

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Months of planning went into Naxal attacks

Posted by ajadhind on April 18, 2009

SOURCE
NEW DELHI: In a well coordinated action spanning five states, over 700 armed Red ultras did exactly what they planned for the first day of polling.
The violence unleashed by them in defiance of the presence of over 50,000 security personnel claimed 19 lives, while the fate of several villagers abducted by the Maoists was not known till late on Thursday evening. Though the number of polling booths affected by their attacks remained quite low (71 out of 76,000 across all Naxal-affected states), the well-choreographed violence succeeded in keeping voters away from polling stations in almost all naxal-affected parliamentary constituencies in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Maharashtra. The Maoists — as reported by TOI on Monday — had planned such attacks in February when they asked their cadres to prepare for simultaneous attacks in the run-up to polls to scare voters. Accordingly, they had launched attacks in Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh early this month, taking 48 lives — including 42 security personnel — in the past nine days. Officials claimed the attack only proved right their decision to hold polls in all the naxal-affected states together and in the first phase itself. The decision gave security forces from outside three weeks to work out a partnership with their counterparts already deployed there and to achieve area domination, besides better coordination among agencies in different states. They said that spreading the polls in the naxal-affected areas over two phases would not have given security forces the time to familiarise themselves with the topography and establish area domination. It would have also helped naxalites, adept at swiftly moving resources, to attack more targets. Security agencies stressed that it was not a one-sided affair. Ultras too had to face reverses in the wake of counter-attack by local cops in coordination with BSF and CRPF. But, the casualties among the security forces — 11 out of 19 — exposed their vulnerability in Red zones. Officials in the home ministry said majority of casualties occurred due to BSF’s failure to follow standard operating procedures (SOPs). Ten troopers lost their lives in a landmine blast in Latehar in Jharkhand as they preferred to travel in a bus even on the landmine-prone tracks — against the usual practice of walking through such areas, they added. Officials mentioned how such a precautionary step taken by CRPF men saved their lives a day before when they got down from their vehicle while passing through the vulnerable area in Jharkhand. As a result, their bus was blown up, but it didn’t result in major casualties. Incidentally, the home ministry reminded the paramilitary forces to follow the same SOPs in the naxal areas in the wake of the Jharkhand incident on Wednesday. BSF chief M L Kumawat, however, blamed such incidents on poor intelligence.

Posted in JHARKHAND, NAXALISM, ORISSA | 2 Comments »

India: sophisticated arms and ammunition as well as explosives seized

Posted by ajadhind on April 18, 2009

BHUBANESWAR: Seven CISF jawans were killed in a gunfight following a daring attack by Maoists on a well-guarded armoury and bauxite mine of NALCO in Orissa’s Koraput district, police said on Monday. ( Watch ) On line video: http://timesofindia .indiatimes. com/videoshow/ 4393830.cmsBefore fleeing from the spot, the heavily-armed Maoists numbering about 200, including some women, looted the CISF armoury in the mining area which contained huge quantities of sophisticated arms and ammunition as well as explosives.
Seven jawans of CISF posted at the hilltop bauxite mines in Damanjodi area were killed in the gunbattle that continued till early morning after the Maoists attacked it last night. The well planned attack, apparently aimed at disrupting the upcoming polls and loot explosives, took place shortly after 9.30 pm last night in Asia’s biggest bauxite mines.

Posted in NAXALISM, ORISSA | 2 Comments »

 
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