Sunday, January 15, 2006
Independent Media Update 14/01/2006 on Kalinganagar
We must apologize for delays in the updates on Kalinganagar. There has been reasonably extensive press coverage of the Kalinga Nagar in various newspapers and TV channels, which need not be covered by us. However, the coverage does tend to ignore certain critical aspects of the situation.
The reality of Kalinganagar is becoming obscured by subtle propaganda launched with the help of a compliant media and collaborating political parties. In this media blitz designed to obfuscate the reality of the situation, the tribal people of Kalinga Nagar have been the ones who have remained steadfast with their demands. It is interesting to note that those who visit Kalinga Nagar try to twist these demands to meet their own political agenda, and often miss the central and radical demands of the people of Kalinga Nagar, which simply says that they will not yield an inch of land for industries come what may. It may also be noted that they have demanded for a complete ban on industries in tribal areas and demanded the resignation of the CM and the Finance Minister and filing of criminal cases against them. They also demanded the immediate dismissal of the then Collector and SP and their arrest for murder.
It is for the fulfillment of these demands that the Tribal people of Kalinga Nagar continue to sit on the National Highway since last 12 days in the biting cold. They scorn the amounts of money being offered for compensation, and inspite of the efforts of the current "enlightened" Collector, continue to spurn all offers to bribe them. An offer for multipartite talk on 14 th Jan. was spurned by the tribals, even though the Collector, Jajpur, waited the whole day at Duburi.
It is also to be pointed out that they are angry, not only with the Government, but also with the media which refuses to believe the extent of police brutality and heinousness visited on innocent tribals. The media has very comfortably hidden the tribal people's grim version of the events of the 2 nd January, which depict the deliberate and callous killings indulged in by the State – however, the truth is trickling out bit by bit. Only yesterday the Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes Kunwar Singh said that " people have alleged before the commission that the hands and private parts of the victims were chopped off after the post-mortems". Another fact finding team from OPDR said that dead bodies were dismembered with palms, breasts and other private organs being chopped off.
In our update on 4th Jan, 2005, we pointed out that "The firing was indiscriminate and in all directions, and continued for over an hour. Even people who were 200-300 meters away were injured. Many people who were trying to escape have bullet injuries in the back, whereas others, who stood and tried to fight back, have been injured in neck and torso in front….. Most shockingly, the representatives of Visthapan Virodhi Janamanch have alleged that six adivasies who were lightly injured and couldn't run away were picked up by the police, and their hands were chopped off by the police. The bodies have been received by the people and all the six bodies have their hands chopped off. Their names are Mukta Bankara (a woman), Landu Jarika, Bhagwan Sai, Jinga jarika, Ramu Gagare and Arti Jamuda ".
However, the police and the State administration initial said that chopping hands is a standard procedure in post mortem. Then they claimed that the Doctors conducting the post-mortem were at fault in cutting off and keeping the hands. The three doctors concerned were suspended, though they claimed that they were asked by the District Administration to cut and keep the hands. All this sounded very plausible and has been lapped up by the press and media, as well as the political parties. The chapter was more or less closed, till the relatives managed to get the explosive information about mutilated genitalia and breasts out to the press.
It is the same persons whose private parts (males) and breasts (female) were chopped off along with their hands. This was discovered by their relatives when they uncovered the bodies to wash them before they cremated them. The relatives said that they were too embarrassed and scared to inform everyone, as the situation was very explosive, and spreading of this information would have led to immediate retaliation by the assembled tribals and consequent bloodshed. However, all their efforts to inform the media after the cremation was in vain till the NDTV took up the issue in their national broadcast on 13 th January, 2005.
This information raised certain questions and provides directions for investigations. The District Administration has flatly refused the tribals claim that private parts have been chopped off. However, given the credibility of the District Administration, one has to give more credibility to the statements of the relatives of the deceased. Given the tribal culture, it's extremely embarrassing for the relatives to come up with this claim – but they have reiterated the fact of mutilation with press, including on camera. This claim strengthens the statement of the tribal leaders that the mutilations cut off not during the post-mortem, but by the police as an act of retribution, either before or after death of the injured tribals taken to Jajpur. If one considers this claim seriously, following questions come to mind:
i) Cutting of hand, genitalia and breasts are not part of post mortem procedures. However, these are standard means of extreme retribution and revenge all over the world, and especially in India.
ii) In case these were post-mortem removals, they are highly irregular and criminal in nature.
iii) Why were the people not informed in advance that body parts have been removed for post-mortem?
iv) The people say that all persons taken to Jajpur Hospital were lightly injured when they were picked up by the police. How is it that all persons taken to Jajpur Hospital ended up dead, and were returned with chopped off hands and private parts?
v) When cornered over the chopped hands, the administration suspended the Doctors. Why it is that even at that time, the administration didn't mention about the mutilations of private parts? Why is it trying to hide the same now?
One would provide the benefit of doubt to people's version, and therefore consider the grim possibility of deliberate murder of injured persons by cutting of their body organs as revenge by the police. Following must be done to set at rest this heinous possibility:
i) Immediate CBI enquiry into the circumstances of the death of these five persons whose body parts were chopped off.
ii) The doctors involved in the post-mortem must be immediately taken into CBI custody and questioned regarding the reality. Lie detector test must be carried out on them
iii) In case the body parts have been removed for post-mortem, they must be immediately sealed as evidence, and forensic tests carried out to find out whether they were severed from body before or after death, and what instruments were used to dismember them.
iv) In case the above body parts are not preserved as per the standard post-mortem procedure, it will be interpreted that important evidence has been destroyed to whitewash the murders, and that the State and Police are guilty of these heinous murders.
The above steps are necessary if justice is to be done to the tribals of Kalinganagar and clarify what has really happened.
Meanwhile, a number of Fact Finding teams and Delegations have visited Kalinganagar, met the tribal and have issues press releases. We are attaching highlights from one of these reports.
Extracts from "Statement of Central Executive Committee Delegation of AIKMS after its visit to Kalinganagar on January 8, 2006" (released to Press on January 9,2006 at Bhubhanswar)
A delegation of AIKMS (All India Kisan-Mazdoor Sabha) led by its All Indian General Secretary G Diwakar visited Kalinganagar on 08/01/2006. Some of their main findings are:
i) People of Kalinganagar are an agricultural community who has toiled hard to develop their fields and villages. The Government has neither recorded the land ownership nor allotted any land to them.
ii) After the initial displacement in 1997, all the displacements have been forced on the people and have been done through brute force of the police including the use of explosions in the area. Very few of the displaced have been resettled. Those who have been resettled haven't been given given proper facilities or housing. Compensation given is only to those few (10 to 20%) who had pattas. None of the displaced have been given jobs as promised. Only a few have been employed as contract labour doing manual jobs.
iii) Displacement has specifically targeted the tribals while leaving out the non-tribals. It is a result of the rulesr treating tribals as second grade citizens without any basic rights in the society supervised by present rulers. It is also an attempt to divide the people.
iv) The attack on the tribals on January 2, 2006 was premeditated, well organized and with a desire to teach the protestors a lesson and demoralize them. The merciless and barbaric methods of torture used, the chopping off of their hands reflects the attitude of slavemasters towards slaves.
v) People's anger in the entire area and amongst all sections of people is high. They are prepared for disciplined and organized struggle and for paying the supreme sacrifice to defend themselves. Far from demoralizing them the repression has left them even more motivated and determined.
Some of the demands of the AIKMS are:
i) We support entirely the demands raised by the Kalinganagar Movement in the wake of the incident of the police firing on tribals on January 2, 2006.
ii) Not a single person should be displaced in the name of industry or otherwise. In the Kalinganagar area each of the persons who have been displaced already should be given 5 acres of agricultural land.
iii) Chief Minsister Naveen Patnaik, Finance Minsiter Prafulla Ghadei, Insdusty Minister Bishwabhusahn Harichandan, Mines Minister Padmanabh beherea and the SC/ST Development Minister should be removed from the ministry and Naveen Patnaik and Prafulla Ghadei should be tried for murder.
iv) The DGP, Home Secretary, then jajpur SP and Collector and ADM Kalinganagar should be dismissed from service and charged with genocide
v) Family of the deceased should be given Rs. 20 lakhs each and Rs. 10 lakhs for each of the injured must be given immediately
vi) Multinational Companies and monopoly industrial houses should be thrown out of Orissa
vii) Tribals should be given the rights to development using mines, land, water and forests in the area
viii) All cases against the activists of Kalinganagar Movement should be unconditionally withdrawn and the leaders and activists of the movement in the jails should be released unconditionally.
Some findings of the AIKMS Team after its visit to Kalinganagar on January 8, 2006 (only part of the reports is provided)
The people of Kalinganagar were highly hopeful of their development when the Kalinganagar Industrial Complex was begun as they were promised jobs, economic well being and proper rehabilitation against development. In 1997 after the establishment of the Neelanchal Industrial project 634 families (actually more than 1000 as many joint families were counted as one) were displaced. Of these only 182 persons have been given employment in the industry and all of them have been engaged as manual lanoureres under contractors. For resettlement, each family was promised only 10 decimal land in a nearby market area, which was refused by most. No money was given for the construction of the houses. Only one primary school was built in the colony and no other facilities except a few hand pumps have been provided. There is no electricity connection, no sanitation and no common grounds. The resettlement colony of the Jindal Steel doesn't even have a school. This is direct contrast with the laid down objective of resettling oustees in model villages with all facilities. Tribals are expected by the Government to live without use of these facilities in their "developed" stage also.
When the MESCO Plant was build, 500 families were displaced ad they are still to be resettled. The Jindal Plant displaced a number of families who were forced to leave their dwellings by blasting bombs in their village. When Bhushan Steel was being established the government simply bulldozed the entire settlements after the compensations were paid. No rehabilitation was planned for them after this.
Thereafter, after last year on May 9, when Bhoomi Puja of the Maharastra Seamless was being organized the same was opposed by the tribals. The State administration displayed its valour and bravery on the helpless tribals, lathicharged them into fleeing from their homes and dying of injuries untreated and of hunger and starvation.
Government claims not withstanding, the compensation given to the people for their land acquired in 1992-93 has worked out to between Rs. 22,000 to Rs. 37,000 per acre. However it is to be noted that the compensation has been paid only to tose whose names were registered as patta holders. They constituted only about 10-20% of the people residing in these villages. One fifth of these too have not been given their compensation. The rest of the people constituting 80-90% of the people were not considered at all for compensation, as they had no land against their name.
It is interesting that all these "lucky" patta holders are from those families who had been given land during the last land settlement done way back in 1928 by the then Zemindar Krutibas Bhupati. It thus happens that more than 90% of the land belongs to the Government, which has not bothered even once to make a revenue settlement for these traditional owners of these forestlands. It also happens that even though these people are registered as voters and their Panchayats are run, yet there is no land earmarked even as Panchayat Land and their common land and hence no compensation was given for them also.
The people also informed that all land being acquired belongs to the tribals. All land of non-tribals is being exempted from acquisition even if it means altering the free flow of the boundary. This could be a part of the plan of the government to prevent broad based people's unity.
The proposed TATA Steel Plant area is 2000 acres and people from 9 villages were to be displaced. In this case there was no proposal for proper rehabilitation and for jobs.
The Government made plans to go ahead with the construction of boundary wall of TATA Steel in October itself. While the people raised a protest tey were fired at and forced into submission and the construction of the wall continued at a slow pace. While the people planned a big organized protest the government and TATA Steel planned for decisively going ahead with the construction. On the day fateful day when the tribal assembled the government came with full backing to beat back the tribals. 6 platoons comprising nearly 300 policemen had been engaged. The policemen were armed and were told to fire. Unaware of such a firm resolve on the part of the Naveen Patnaik government a delegation of the tribals came forward to talk to the police and TATA officials. This was enough provocation and the police lobbied teargas shells and began firing at almost point blank range of those tribals who walked in the front. Five tribals were either wounded or killed immediately. Facing thus attack the tribals retreated and they pelted stones on the police and attacked. One police person died in the retaliation. In retaliation against this the police continued firing at a long distance, their bullets finding more than 45 targets. This included one child aged 12 years who was near his school. This incident took place at around 11.30 PM.
Some of the injured were removed to Cuttack by the people and others to Jajpur by the police. It is astonishing to note that all those who were removed by the police to Jajpur were later declared as dead and had had their hands chopped off. This barbaric act has been justified on the grounds of identification by the police, while there is absolutely no medical justification to chop off the entire hands. Only the skin of the thumbs or at worst all the digits are taken and preserved for identification. This barbaric act speaks volumes about the Naveen Patnaik Governments commitment to serve the MNCs, World Bank and their Indian Compradors.
Monday, January 09, 2006
Activists fear politicisation of Kalinga Nagar incident will sideline real issues
Statesman News Service
BERHAMPUR, Dec. 8.
The social and environmental activists also feel that the politicisation of the Kalinga Nagar tribal killing issue is sidelining the real need of the tribals in the state, who are being threatened by the proposed industrialisation. Social activists like Mr Prafulla Samantra, the president of the Orissa unit of the Lokshakti Abhiyan, said parties are trying to gain political benefits through this issue rather than highlighting the problems faced by tribals.
Mr Samantra said it is high time for all political parties in the state to chalk out a future plan for Orissa that would enable industrialisation without affecting the livelihood of the tribals. No political party is understanding that the tribals are totally opposed to displacement while the political parties are talking of rehabilitation, he said. “The tribals whether they are at Kalinga Nagar or Kasipur are demanding that there should be no displacement at all at the cost of industrialisation,” he said. All the political parties are talking about rehabilitation, which the tribals on the verge of displacement are opposed to. He said the political parties do not know this truth as they have little grass-root level link with the tribals, Mr Samantra said. The state government should ensure that the judicial commission’s findings on the killing of 12 tribals in the police firing at Kalinga Nagar should be made public within a few days of its submission to the state Cabinet, demanded the environment and social activists of the state.
The state government has declared that a judicial commission would be constituted to investigate into the reasons behind the police firing. But social activists like Mr Praful Samantra, have little faith on the effectivity of such commissions. Mr Samantra said in the past similar commissions were constituted but the government has usually preferred to hide the report and has taken little action on the recommendation of the commissions.
Tribals in no mood to relent
Express News Service, The New Indian Express Bhubaneswar
(I am quoting the relevant extracts, rather than typing in the whole article)
Kalinganagar, January 8: Situation continues to remain tense in Kalinga Nagar even after a week with tribal agigators in no mood to relent......
Their demands include "no more oustees" in name of industrialisation, ouster of the Chief Minister, Finance Minister, Industries Minister, Steel and Mines Minister and Scheduled Tribe Welfare Minister from the state ministry, registration of a criminal case against the Chief Minister and the Finance Minister, dismissal of the DGP and Home Secretary from their respective posts and arrest of the former Jajpur Collector Saswat Mishra, SP Binaytosh Mishra and present ADM Santh Gopalan under section 302 of Indian Penal Code.
Their other demands include RS. 20 lakhs compensation to the families of the deceased and Rs. 10 lakhs to the injured families, removal of multinational companies and monopoly industrialists from the soil of Orissa, immediate withdrawal of all previous cases against the tribals, unconditional release of the imprisoned tribal leaders and compensation of least five acres of land to the oustees.
Collector Padhi assured them of all possible help under the purview of law ...... also assured jobs to the kin of the deceased.
But the agitators were in no mood to be pacified. "Our struggle is going on and we will not part with even an inch of our land, whatrever may be the compensation of rehabilitation package" summed up Sumari Alda, a woman agitator.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Revisiting Muthuraman's (Managing Director, TATA Steel) interview on export of iron ore being against national interest
Steel and aluminium are strategic metals, vital for a nations security, specially when they are scarce and available in small quantities.
Exporting iron ore is against national interests: Tata Steel MD
Our Bureau, Hindu Business Line
Chennai , Aug. 16
ALLOWING exports of iron ore is "absolutely against national interests", Mr B. Muthuraman, Managing Director, Tata Steel, said today.
Speaking to journalists of The Hindu group here, Mr Muthuraman said it was "a dangerous trend" to allow exports of iron ore (even) in exchange for investment in steel capacity in India.
Explaining his stand, Mr Muthuraman observed that the countries that allowed exports of iron ore were only those that did not have potential for domestic consumption of steel. He gave two examples. Ukraine, which has the world's largest iron ore deposits of 70 billion tonnes, needs about 7 million tonnes of iron ore annually for its domestic steel industry — enough to last for a thousand years. Australia's iron ore deposits of 62 billion tonnes were enough to last for the next 500 years.
In contrast, India has about 18 billion tonnes of iron ore resources. The country's consumption is rising and is expected to match China's 300 million tonnes, from 30 million tonnes now. When that happens, the country's reserves will be exhausted in 55 years, he said.
Mr Muthuraman also noted that no country in the world allowed foreign companies to own iron ore mines. Indeed, no country allowed FDI in the steel sector. He said that international steel and mining companies were rushing into India only because they could not acquire mines anywhere else in the world. These companies were making it a pre-condition that they be allowed to export iron ore to their plants abroad. "This is a dangerous trend," he said.
Asked why Indian steel majors were voicing these concerns only now, although India has been exporting iron ore for long, Mr Muthuraman said that until recently the country used to export about 10 million tonnes of ore annually. But now exports have risen to about 55 million tonnes and were set to reach 100 million tonnes. Besides, all these years exports were mostly of fines, which otherwise go waste (unless they are pelletised in sintering plants). He stressed that Tata Steel had always been cautioning the Government against iron ore exports but the response had invariably been that the exports were of small quantities, so there was no cause for concern.
Asked why the Tatas were exporting chrome ore from their Sukinda mines in Orissa, Mr Muthuraman said that there were two reasons.
First, because of high power costs in India the cost of converting chrome ore into value-added products (stainless steel) was much more than the freight cost of shipping the ore to some other country and producing there. It therefore made sense to do the value addition where it was cheaper. Second, the consumption of stainless steel in India was low and, therefore, the chrome ore deposits — although far smaller than iron ore — would last much longer.
He drew a parallel with the aluminium sector, where, according to him, it did not make sense to produce the metal from alumina because of the power-intensity of the process. His reasoning was that export was a logical thing in the case of those minerals whose conversion costs were far higher here than, say, in South Africa, and the domestic consumption of finished products was not of significant quantities. However, till such time that the distinction could be made, Tata Steel was telling the Government to stop exports of minerals such as chrome ore.
"There is a difference between the various minerals, which unfortunately today the country is not yet mature enough to fully understand," he said. The ultimate objective was to have different policies for different minerals.
Mr Muthuraman said that the history of the global steel industry could be divided into three phases. In the period between 1900 and 1945 — a period marked by two world wars and the Great Depression — steel demand grew 3.4 per cent, but rose to 6.7 per cent in 1945-1975, thanks to post-war reconstruction efforts of the US and Europe.
However, demand growth fell to 1.1 per cent in the next quarter century as the infrastructure building got over in those regions and consumption stabilised. Since the beginning of this century, demand growth has accelerated driven by consumption in China and India. "The future of steel will be more like the 1945-1975 period than the 1975-2000 period," he said.
But with two major differences. One, the demand would be driven by countries far more populous than the US and Europe and two, the demand growth would be on a larger base of 1 billion tonnes. Thus the growth in the next 25 years would be more sustainable than in the 1945-1975 period, he said. This year, up to July, the industry grew by 7 per cent.
Globally, a number of changes had taken place. The steel industry, which was state-owned, was now increasingly getting privatised. This would result in efficiencies improving and costs coming down. The privatisation would be accompanied by more consolidation in the global steel industry. While suppliers to the steel industry as well its consumers were consolidated, the steel industry was fragmented, a situation that would now change.
The consolidation would also result in prices being stable. Long-term steel prices would be higher than the last 25 years, he said and added that those that will benefit are the companies that have captive raw material resources.
Mr Muthuraman said that the Indian secondary steel sector faced the danger of becoming unviable because of the high cost of power and dependence on imported scrap.
He said that units should set up sintering plants for converting fines into pellets and set up mini blast furnaces.
Independent Media update 7/01/2006
1. On Kalinga Nagar
The situation in Kalinga Nagar continues to be tense; though groups and delegations visit the aggrieved tribals frequently everyday most of who seem to have sympathy for them because they lost a few lives in the police firing.
"There are very few people and groups who seem to have sympathy for the cause for which we have been fighting ultimately resulting in the barbaric massacre of our oppressed and tortured tribals", says Raju Kulundia, a leader of the movement. Reacting to the announcement of the government that, the compensation for any loss of life to be raised to Rs 5,00,000, and to the transfer of the district collector and SP, Raju said, "the government is responding to the call for Orissa Bandh on 7 th of January given by the opposition political parties. Our demands have been so clearly conveyed to the government and if the government has any sincerity to fulfill those demands they should talk straight. Do they think that their money will make us forget the crime they have committed? New people may join as collector and SP but what will they do unless the people who matter in Bhubaneswar don't take any decision to solve our genuine demands? When the government decides to shift officers committing massacre from the place of the crime to defuse tension instead of punishing them, it only confirms our apprehension that government had taken a conscious decision to kill people. They have decided to suspend the doctors for chopping of the hands of the dead they say. If you are so concerned for crimes committed to the dead what are you doing to the people who have killed our brothers and sisters? As we have already said, 5 of our co-fighters were only simply injured. The police took them away and killed them out of anger. Now they are trying to shift the burden to the doctors."
Chakradhar Haibru, the president of the Visthapan Virodhi Manch also had the same reactions. The leaders are disturbed and hurt because there is made rush to the area of NGOs, political parties and civil society organizations that are trying to dilute the main demands of the Visthapan Virodhi Manch by raising irrelevant issues such as rehabilitation and resettlement. About the bandh call given by the political parties, Mr. Haibru said, "we would not watch them on the 7 th of January. We would like to see what they are doing after 7th. It is now the duty and responsibility of all groups and individuals to see to it that the sacrifices made by us (the adivasis) don't go waste. It will pain us if an impression is created that the tribals in Kalinga Nagar got killed because they demanded more compensation or better rehabilitation package. The issue is quite different from what is presented in media".
As reports reach our media office, the Bandh today is going on in the whole state of Orissa. All political parties including the congress and the left have joined the Bandh. There is an apprehension that since Congress is involved in the Bandh, there could be incidences of violence in certain places. The Kalinganagar massacre has already evoked good response in Delhi. Several academics, students and activists (From Delhi University, JNU, AIIMS, Supreme Court) have come out in the streets of Delhi protesting the tragedy. They have been led separately by the CPI ( ML) New Democracy, AISA. Reports of protests are also reaching us from Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. Within Orissa, the Samajvadi Jan Parishad activists have led the demonstrations in different places in Western Orissa ( on the 6 th of January), while in South Orissa, Lok Sangram Manch is leading the protest movement in Gajapati district and Surada of Ganjam district. The CPI( ML ) Liberation which was the first group to launch a demonstration in the capital following the firing incident is also organizing Bandh in several places including Bhubanesar. The CPI and CPM groups along with OGP, Janta Dal ( S), Samajvadi party are taking active part in the Bandh on the 7th of January. The CPI ( ML) is also organized a protest programme in Puri on the 6th of January. The Lok Sangram Manch has given a call to Band South Orissa on the 11 th of January. They were the first organization to give a call for a similar bandh following the killing of three tribals in Maikanch on 16th December 2000 in similar situations by the Navin Pattnaik government.
In separate interviews to Independent Media, eminent activist Prafulla Samantara and communist leader Radhakant Sethi ( Ex-MLA) have accused a section of prominent NGOs in Orissa as, " they have been trying to take undue advantage of their proximity with BJD leaders and are offering themselves to work as brokers for the government to dilute the movement ". They were citing the TV interview of a prominent NGO leader of the state "who hardly knows the people and their issues but has claims of solutions to the Kalinganagar problem". They have appealed to every one who is trying 'to act smart and sees a prospect of funding and state patronization in the KalingaNagar tragedy" to desist or face the anger of the people.
Letter of Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch to Orissa Pollution Control Board
The Stand of Bisthpan Birodhi Jan Manch as reflected in their letter to State Pollution Control Board, which contradicts the views expressed by all mainstream political parties, groups and NGOs. The letter was written as a reponse to the public hearing for environmental clearance for the TATA Steel Project.
The letter has been handed over to us by Shri Haibru for circulation and clarifications of their stand
Chakradhara Haibru, President
Bistapan Virodhi Janamancha, Sukinda
At- Ambagadia, P.o.- Gobarghati
State Pollution Control Board, Orissa
A/118, Nilakantha nagar, Bhubaneswar- 12
Sub: Objection to proposed TSL Project at kalinga NAgar in response to the Advertisement of The Sambad of 8.10.05 of State Pollution control Board, Orissa No-30717 dtd. 6.10.05
On the above said subject we beg to submit our objections.
The objections are made after examining the REIA of the proposed 6MT Steel Plant of TSL at Kalinga nagar. The objection of the people should have been sought before signing of the MOU. The State Govt. has agreed to the project of TSL as early as 17 November 2004. The affected people are asked to give their objections if any, after a year. In the meanwhile TSL has completed their survey work and are constructing boundary walls in spite of the protests of the affected people .
175 MW CAPTIVE POWER PLANT IS OBJECTED
A few weeks ago, the State Pollution Control Board, Orissa has done a public hearing for 4×125 MW Thermal Power Plant of TSL as part of their 6MT Steel Project. What would happen to Sukinda and its environment? The Thermal plants of NTPC and NALCO have spread the fluoride-related diseases among the population and domestic animals in Talcher, Anugul area. Even the agricultural fields and river water have been heavily contaminated by fly ash and bottom ash. The Thermal Power Plants with their fly ash shall equally damage the human habitation of Sukinda area and Kalinga Nagar.
The Coke ovens of TSL and that of other plants under construction shall add to the air pollution. Presently the Coke Ovens of Nilachal Plant is causing serious pollution of the air by their emission over an area of 6km. radius. The inorganic and chemical wastes of several pig iron and steel plants shall only cause diseases and bring death to thousands. So the project of TSL is strongly objected.
THE CORE ZONE OF TSL IS NOT WASTE LAND
The core zone of TSL consists of green hills with rich forests, tribal settlements of more than ten thousand people spread over two gram panchayats, agricultural lands, ancient tanks, grazing fields, village common lands and roads. The total area of waste land is less than 5 acres on the Northern side. Why the core zone is described as WASTE LAND ignoring the ground reality? This is most objectionable.
WASTE LAND IN THE BUFFER ZONE
The report on the project states that, out of 314 Sq.Km. a total area of 63% is waste land. This makes it an area of 197.93 Sq.Km. Then nearly 3 lakh people are living mostly in the waste lands. More over, it must be accepted that most of the agricultural land within200 villages situated within the area on waste land. Also it nust be accepted that the forests, green hills including the protected and reserve forest the stretch of Brahmani river and Kharasuan river, natural water streams, the plantation sites mostly waste land. This is wild assertion. Let the Govt. Forest Records, Revenue Records, Central Govt. Survey maps and Census Records be examined to find facts. Total waste land in the buffer zone constitute less than 2%. 35% of the area is of forest and hills with wild animals of rare species. Agricultural land, human settlements urban area infrastructures constitute 55%. The rest area includes quarries, wet land, sand banks and river.
BRAHMANI RIVER WATER
Brahmani river water is heavily polluted by industrial pollutants of Rourkela and Talcher – Anugul area. For this central Pollution control Board has declared it 'C' class.State Pollution control Board has declared a stretch of Brahmani river from Kamalanga o Bhuban as 'D' class. The industrial pollutants contain radioactive inorganic toxis materials like Uranium. Thorium and several types of harmful chemicals in its water which has affected the aqua life of Brahmani up to the mouth, where olive ridly and crocodiles are protected. The suppression of facts in the report is objected.
GROUND WATER TABLE
In rainy months ground water Table swells in some parts of Sukinda area above the ground level and continue to floe for weeks. This is observed in some parts of foothills of Barasuli and other hills area. But during Jan-June months in all parts of the area the ground water level falls to 10 to 30 mtr. The facts are not placed by the report correctly when they speak that ground water table varies from 0.8 to 9.2 mtrs.
EXPLOITATION OF GROND WATER
Two years back there was no large scale exploitation of ground water. But presently there are more than 50 deep bore wells in Kalinga Nagar. Some supply 24 hour water to pig iron plant- VISA and JINDAL, have 24 bore wells among them. 9 bore wells are used by other projects for their construction work. 12 bire wells supplement pipe water from Brahmani to Nilachal Plant and Mesco Plant. Even Brahmani surface water is supplemented by deep bore wells of IDCP. If this is not large scale exploitation of ground water within 40 Sq. Km. of Kalinga Nagar, than what it is?
CLIMATE OF KALINGA NAGAR AND THE ADJACENT ZONE
Sukinda and its adjoining area had never a humid tropical climate. Its climate is dry monsoon. Day time temperature in April-May hovers between 37 0C-390C. The humidity is around 40%. The lowest temperature in Dec-January is recorded as 150C. the report has placed disinformation about the climate of the area.
ECOLOGICAL NATURE OF THE STUDY AREA
The project area is not waste land-it must be pointed out again. 75 Sq. Km. of hills with forests spread over the area contiguous to TSL projects on the south and south west direction. 10,000 people, their agricultural land and common land are within the core area. 20% of the Project area has quality forest where timber species like Sal, Kuruma, Vandan, Ashan and Piasal, besides Mahula, Kendu are plentily available in these parts.
RARE PLANTS SPECIES
Local tribal people gather herbs and roots from the local forests which they use for treating successfully a wide range of illness. Tribals from outside Sukinda – from Dhenkanal and Keonjhar come to these parts of forests to collect necessary herbs and roots. It must be noted that these forests are under full protection of 40 Tribal villages of the locality since 1946, where hunting and cutting of trees is strictly prohibited by the community decision of the tribal people.
WIDE FAUNISTIC SPECIES
Within 5/6 Kmtr. of the project area the forests of Nakasa, Natimara, Barsuli, Bhitarmanika and Sunajhar have some rare species of wide life in good number. They include leopard, deer, scaly ant eater, pangolin, python, cobra, giant boa. The rare wild dogs (Rama siali) are seen in packs. There are large numbers of wild boar, wild goats, deer and several types of monkeys in these forests. It may be repeated that, this has been the habitat of so many types of animals in a non protected govt. forests for last 60 years.
Within the buffer zone of the project, the total population is more than 3 lakh in 314 Sq. Km. area. 3 lakh populations are definitely higher in comparison to the State's average population density. But the report has wrongly stated that the population is only 44 thousand. The tribal populations within this zone are nearly 60 thousand. Let the Census report of 2001 be checked up.
DIRECT AND INDIRECT EMPLOYMENT AND BENEFICIAL IMPACT TO HUMAN ENVIRONMENT .
The report tries to impress that, by the coming up TSL project, direct and indirect employment would be generated and the impact will be beneficial to human environment. We belief, the report tries to point out that, the people in the buffer zone shall lead a developed and prosperous life – with better food, better health, better housing conditions, education and cultural facilities. This is a false picture for the vast majority of the working people on the area
The 'Secretive" expansion plan of Kalinga Nagar by the Govt. of Orissa, moving to acquire nearly 200Sq. Km. for the industrial complex, infrastructure and other purposes shall make all the peasants in this zone land less. Most of them will be turned home less and shall seek shelter in Govt. colonies. There will be acute shortage of water, wide spread air pollution by the effect of industrial complex . In the meanwhile prime agricultural lands are being purchased by some Pvt. Companies through illegal deals making the peasants landless. The Govt. officials are conniving with the land dealers for the acquisition of land from poor peasants.
Most of the tribals who face displacements are without lawful rights on their homestead land and agricultural land. So the compensation package of 10 decimal plot in rehabilitation colony with 50,000 Rupees to construct one room pucca house does not make them secure even for a day . Because they don't have regular work to make their earnings. Cut off from their traditional life, traditional occupation of agriculture and food gathering, these people cannot by any strech of imagination be capable to earn enough in the colony to wait for a job in the plants. After all, they are not eligible to get preferential treatment in the job market of Kalinga Naga r. They are not land losers per Got. criteria. We have our lessons from the plight of the displaced people living in Gobarghati rehabilitation colony, who earn their living, men women and children, in crusher plants. They weep for their present misfortune and curse the Nilachal Plant Authorities for whom they lost their home and lands.
We the tribals 10,000 in number and the 50,000 other tribals in the buffer zone are against the displacement from our homes and agricultural lands. So also the 50,000 Dalit people are against the projects in Kalinga Nagar. In this connection we don't agree to and accept the 'development' dream put before us by the report. We are not prepared to be home less, land less, job less. We don't want to lose our traditional culture life.
In this situation we submit our objection to TSL projects in Kalinga Nagar. We request the authorities to study the points and contentions made above and take proper steps in the interest of the poor tribals, the Dalits and the people in general living within a radius of 30km..
Bistapan Virodhi Janamancha, Sukinda
Excerpts from Dr.Sankarsan Acharya Citizens for Development and Pro-Prosperity.Com
We are reproducing here excerpts from what Dr.Sankarsan Acharya from the (Citizens for Development and Pro-Prosperity.Com) USA has written and circulated in a network maintained by him and also from the letter Addressed to the President of India:
"By just reacting to the people clashing with police at Kalinganagar will obfuscate the paramount truth underlying the tragic massacre. What is happening now is just like what East India Company (EIC) was doing to Indians. The EIC was paying pittance to indigo and opium farmers to procure the produce to sell in China for exorbitant profits. The profits were shared among EIC stakeholders, viceroys and the Crown. Opposing Indians were subjected to cannon fire. At one stage, the Chinese refused to buy anything from the imperials. Then the British government used Indian soldiers to wage war against China!
Now the decision makers of the State (union and state governments) are paying $0.075 per tonne of iron ore to public exchequers. The miners get this iron ore for $.075 to sell it for at least $45 per tonne in international markets. The State disposes off at least 63 million tonnes of iron ore like this per year. The $0.075 per tonne received by public exchequers is insufficient to even pay salaries and pensions of government staff. Do you see why our government employees are paid little and infrastructure is crumbling?
The $45 x 63 million per year goes to palaces of Indian miners, decision makers and mafia, including police officials and district collectors. This is just from iron ore( emphasis added by us) . We have to count all other ores being exported away, public land usurped and development funds (printed/borrowed rupees) embezzled. This is why cannon fire is being unleashed against people who are opposing the robbery of even their personal possessions. The siren of industrialization and development is bogus and humbug. India does not need to import exorbitantly priced coke to make steel/sponge iron for exports. One-sixth of humanity living in India has barely 2% of global deposits of iron ore. Our current steel production is sufficient to meet domestic needs"(emphasis added).
From his letter to the President
Orissa's CM has been recklessly transferring public's iron ores to private parties for a piddle royalty of $0.075 per tonne, which is valued in market $50-110, depending on various delivery terms. This is not economic justice to public as guaranteed by the constitution of India. The CM has thus subverted the constitution of India. He and perhaps all political parties in India have no consideration whatsoever that India has just 2% of iron ore reserves, but is exporting it away to other nations in raw or some finished form.
ow the Orissa CM has massacred Kalinganagar people opposing a takeover of their private lands and dwellings (their only wherewithal) to transfer the same to some private individuals, so-called industrialists. This is blatant injustice. Public and private wealth is being looted under the garb of industrialization.
India has become a banana republic with such constitutional figures as the Chief Ministers massacring people to loot their private possessions and siphon off public wealth for pittance, in addition to being involved in other rackets and scandals, as per prominent newspapers.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
The tragic events in Kalinganagar are unprecedented. Many of us were forecasting possibilities of such an event, given the rising level of resentment against indiscriminate industrialization in tribal areas of Orissa and its impact on the tribals. We are bringing out our updates again to inform a wider audience of the real ground situation.
This is time for all of us to express solidarity with the people who have been killed and injured and join in the fight against injustice and inhumanity. The current update includes the following:
1. People's version of Kalinganagar Firing
2. Resistance continues despite tragedy
3. "The Land of Jaganath where blood runs cheap" by Bhagabat Prasad Rath
4. An appeal from Academicians
5. A letter to Nabin Pattanaik by Dunu Roy
6. Press release by National campaign for Survival with Dignity
7. A report by Vidya Das as circulated in forestrights listserve
8. Finally, a response from a Non-Resident Oriya illustrating the mindset of a section of oriya elite.
We are including statements and reports from different sources to widen the understanding of the issue. We are not responsible for the veracity of all the information.
PEOPLE'S VERSION OF KALINGANAGAR FIRING ON 2ND JANUARY, 2006
By Independent Media
Based on discussions with the people of Kalinganagar and representatives of Visthapit Virodhi Janamanch, following version of events at Kalinganagar on 2 nd January, 2006 have emerged :
The District Administration has been trying to take over the land for TATA steel for the last few months after an attempt to start construction on 9 th May, 2005 was foiled by resistance by the local adibasis, who claimed that they will not vacate the land till their demands are met. From 23rd December, 2005, rumors started flying the district administration and the company may try to take over the land soon. The message was again conveyed to the administration that such a move will lead to do or die resistance.
During their annual get together at Chandiya on Jan 1st, which they have started 5 years back, the people came to know through a leak in the administration that they would initiate Boundary wall construction for the TATAs on the 2nd January, 2006 without taking the consent of the people. The tribals decided to oppose this attempt as they have opposed other attempts earlier.
On 2nd January, 2006 morning, the district administration including the Collector and the SP and TATA Steel officials reached the site with bulldozers, and started construction of the boundary wall. The team was escorted by 12 platoons of armed police armed with sophisticated weapons.
On seeing the beginning of the work, the tribal people started gathering, and a four member delegation was formed to go and talk to the district officials present at the spot. People say that the four member delegation went to meet the district administration, and many of the tribals assembled there staretdd following them at a distance. When this group of tribals reached the ditch dug to erect the boundary wall, and were about to cross it, they heard the police sound a whistle, and saw a policeman pull a rope. The people say that after this there were large explosions in the ditch and two persons fell down dead and many were injured. There had been no warning and no indications from the police before this happened.
Simultaneously tear gas, rubber bullet firing and actual firing started. Chaos ensued, with people running helter and skelter. Even the unarmed local policemen panicked at the firing and the explosions, and people say that in this panic one or two policemen fell into the boundary wall ditch and were injured by the tribals in the heat of the moment. On hearing the sound of explosions and firing, more tribals from the nearby settlements rushed to the site and started stone pelting and firing arrows inspite of the continuos firing by the police.
The firing was indiscriminate and in all directions, and continued for over an hour. Even people who were 200-300 meters away were injured. Many people who were trying to escape have bullet injuries in the back, whereas others, who stood and tried to fight back, have been injured in neck and torso in front. Jangi Jarika, a tribal woman who died was outside her house and was struck by a bullet. As per our information six people (including one policeman) died on the spot, and another seven died of the injuries. Most shockingly, the representatives of Visthapan Virodhi Janamanch have alleged that six adivasies who were lightly injured and couldn't run away were picked up by the police, and their hands were chopped off by the police. The bodies have been received by the people and all the six bodies have their hands chopped off. Their names are Mukta Bankara (a woman), Landu Jarika, Bhagwan Sai, jinga jarika, Ramu Gagare and Arti Jamuda. As per information, Photographs have been taken and will be presented as soon as possible. We are trying to confirm the same.
The armed police was armed with sophisticated weapons and the tribals claim that people as far as 400 meters were felled by bullets. It is also claimed that at least 20 persons are still missing.
1. Why did the administration and Tata Steel decide to carry out boundary wall construction in spite of being well aware of the tremendous resentment of the local tribals, and in spite of being warned time and again that they should not try to takeover the land without meeting the demands of the tribals? And if they still went ahead, what was the purpose of having 12 platoons of armed police headed by the Collector and the SP at the site? Since when Collectors and SPs start attending boundary wall constructions? The clear inference is that this was to deliberately provoke the tribals and to use the opportunity to teach them a lesson.
2. Inspite of the provocation, the tribal people sent a delegation of four persons to meet and reason out with district administration on the site. Instead of talking to them, the administration precipitated the situation through the explosions in the ditch and through firing at the tribals? This again illustrates that the massacre was pre-planned.
3. What were the explosions in the ditch for the boundary wall? Local people say that these were landmines which were apparently activated by policemen pulling on a rope? If that is true, this is an unprecedented level of barbarity where landmines have been used to kill own citizens. This must be enquired into at the highest level and the truth brought out?
4. The explosions in the ditch precipitated the situation and firing on tribals followed immediately. No warning was given to the tribals. This is unprecedented and unlawful.
5. Why has government not come out with the figures of the number of rounds fired? This is a normal practice, and we apprehend that the government is trying to hide the number of rounds fired to suppress the scale of firing.
6. Why were policemen armed with sophisticated weapons with high range including automatic weaponry deputed to the site?
7. What has led to the current situation where strong resentment and anger is present amongst the displaced tribals? Why was no ameliorative action taken to meet their just demands earlier?
9. Why was Saswat Mishra, the infamous Collector who was involved in Vednata case and who is known for his pro-industry and anti-tribal stance deputed as Collector in the extremely sensitive Jajpur district? Why was he present on the site when the firing took place?
The whole massacre seems pre-planned and organized, with certain key persons in the Government and bureaucracy collaborating with TATA Steel to crush the tribal resistance to industrialization and displacement. It seems that a clear signal was to be sent to the opponents of the forced "industrialization" through private capital that no obstacles shall be tolerated.
Resistance Continues Despite Tragedy
On the second day of the tragedy that took lives of 12 tribals and one policeman, Kalinga Nagar witnessed visits by leaders of ruling BJP, opposition parties, on going people's movements and solidarity fronts. The medical Superintendent of SCB medical college has said it in his TV interview that conditions of three tribals who have been operated upon and bullets recovered from their belly continue to be critical. The Independent Media special reporter who visited SCB Medical College Hospital this evening confirms that three of the nine people admitted in to the hospital are critical. The agitating and aggrieved tribals in Kaling Nagar have decided to continue their protest till the State government accepts their demands. Their demands include:
i. A complete halt to the eviction drive and immediate withdrawal of all projects in Kalinga Nagar
ii. A complete fullstop to the aggressive industrialization initiated in Kalinganagar
iii Dismissal of the Collector and SP from service and initiation of criminal proceedings against them for the crimes committed by them on 2 nd January causing death of 12 tribals and critically injuring several others
iii. Criminal proceedings against all officials party to the crime
iv. Rs 20,00,000 as compensation to the next kin of the dead And Rs 10,00,000 to the injured persons
The people have handed over all the dead bodies for postmortem and the mass cremation will take place on 4th January 2006 at Chandigaon. The NDTV team met the family members of one of the dead women, Jangi Jarika who has left behind a six months old baby and three more children. Jangi was not in the spot but fell victim to indiscriminate firing. It is also alleged that the second dead woman, was killed by the police by chopping off her hands.
The firing incidence has doubly strengthened the determination of the tribal to fight back and to continue their resistance. They don't trust the opposition parties because of obvious reasons. The leadership of the movement is entirely in the hands of the tribals. Those who visit there from outside are treated as solidarity groups if they agree to accept the demands of the tribals. The mainstream media, middle class and ruling elites are not able to digest this simple fact. Therefore, there is deliberate attempt to brand the tribals as Maoists both by the bureaucrats and media.
THE LAND OF JAGANNATH WHERE BLOOD RUNS CHEAP
"We shall take away your livelihood, we shall destroy your communities. But be good boys. Development is a demanding deity. You have to be sacrificed for the welfare of the state. After all we are civilized people. We are asking you how you want to die. We live in a democracy. We must honor your choice. In a dictatorship, people are not so lucky. Nobody asks them sweetly about their choice, regarding the manner of death," the leader harangues.
Corporate power has triumphed again. The state has bared its poisonous iron fangs. The police have killed the real people, the salt of the earth. From Kashipore to Paradeep to Kalinganagar. It is the same blood soaked tale. Rituals follow. Regrets by top dignitaries, drum-beating by the opposition who have also merrily sold their Faustian souls. A few statements, some news in the press, a few lacs distributed as compensation; in hard-pressed circumstances, the declaration of a judicial enquiry. Calm will be restored soon. The elite will heave a sigh of relief. Orissa must develop with so much resource, why should Orissa not become another America or at least a South Korea? A few sighs and Ahas. A few voices of sympathy. Then the usual course of coarse life takes over.
The corporate dragon devours Iron, Bauxite, Manganese, Chromium and many other metals and foodstuff from which blood drips. Its ill-gotten gold oils the election machine of powerful political parties. The people of the soil must pay with their lives. Who asked them to choose lands where metals abound? They are under a curse, the curse of corporate greed gleaming doom and devastation.
The true curse of Orissa is its indifferent elite, for whom opening their mouths in the cause of justice is an odious ordeal. So Togadia can cheerfully distribute tridents in Jagannath land and young women and children are sold for a song. We mourn our lost manhood, the illusion haunted youth of India, the indifferent media and our word-wizard hawking culture.
Cry, Orissa, cry for your thirteen courageous sons of Kalingnagar, who traded their lives for the honor, life and bread of their community.
Did an entire generation follow Mohandas karamchand Gandhi the man of the millennium? The power elite laughs and points to its weeping statues, which it had nonchalantly garlanded. Did such a man once live in India? The saffron, corporate and many other brain barricaded historians will vindicate Einstein's prophecy.
(Prof Bhagabat Prasad Rath is a Gandhian Professor who has come out openly in support of the victimized tribals of Kashipur movement against the UAIL project)
An Appeal From Academicians
We are shocked at the recent incident at Kalinga Nagar (Jajpur Road) involving the killing of many locals and the death of a policeman.
The State must take the responsibility for death on both sides; no amount of compensation, however, can ever make up for the loss of these lives. It is saddening to see that "industrialization", which is supposed to lead to the welfare of people (especially local people), is displacing them against their will. We wonder whether the government machineries, which thrive on the taxpayers' money, are actually guarding taxpayers' interest.
We do not espouse any violence by anyone. But, it is the State that must show maximum restraint. It must be sensitive to the sentiments of the local people and avoid embarking upon "reckless" industrialization.
Industrialization is a complex issue in general and for a poor State like Orissa in particular. Numerous researches have shown that large-scale industries may hurt Orissa more than they help, if at all. But, what is important is that these issues should be debated, taking the potentially affected stakeholders into the process and confidence, instead of imposing some beliefs and models as "fait accompli" on these hapless citizens.
What bothers us more is that, in the wake of globalization, almost all political parties have become enamored with myths of the so-called advantages of LPG (liberalization, privatization, and globalization). What happened at Kalinga Nagar is not reflective of only the government machinery in the State or the party in power. Unfortunately – and horrifyingly – it is the current political mindset in the whole country. Unless this mindset is reversed, what happened at Kalinga Nagar may not remain an exception, but become a commonplace occurrence.
We urge upon the State to review its aggressive policy of industrialization, which is increasingly perceived as detrimental to the interest of the local people and, in the long run, the State at large. We also urge business houses like the Tatas not to throw their Corporate Social Responsibility to the wind and refuse to be a party to reckless industrialization that culminates in the death of citizens. We also appeal to the local people and authorities to refrain from resorting to any form of violence. Peace be to all!
Prof. Banikant Mishra Prof. Prhalad Mishra
Prof.D.P.Dash Prof. Francois George Joseph
(All working at XIMB and their initiative has nothing to do with their institution)
CAMPAIGN FOR SURVIVAL AND DIGNITY
National Convenor: Pradip Prabhu, 3, Yezdeh Behram, Malyan, Dahanu Rd. 401602. Ph: 02528-221336, 222760 Delhi Contact: SRUTI, Q-1 Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi 110016. Ph:011-26569023.___________________________________________________________________ MASSACRE IN ORISSA: 20 ADIVASIS SHOT DEAD WHEN FIGHTING FOR THEIR RIGHTS Campaign Condemns Police Atrocity, Calls for Inquiry, Prosecution of Police Yesterday, at a protest in Kalinganagar, Orissa, the State police opened fire on a protest by local tribals against the takeover and seizure of their land by a Tata Steel plant. Sixteen people died on the spot, four more died in the hospital, and a police constable was also killed in the clash. The Campaign believes that this killing is nothing short of a massacre. The tribals who gathered to protest were fighting for their basic rights - the right to their livelihoods, to their homes and to the peaceful expression of dissent against the use of their lands for private profit and environmental destruction. To fire on them in such a brutal fashion is a blatant violation of human rights. For more than three years, adivasis in this area have been fighting against attempts to acquire their lands for a steel plant, initially for Simplex Corporation and now for Tata Steel. The lands acquired for the factory belong to the tribals of this area, who have till date been given neither adequate compensation nor rehabilitation. Most recently, for the last two days more than 25 platoons of armed police have been deployed around the plant in the name of providing security. Apprehending trouble, people from 25 villages spontaneously gathered near the plant. When the factory management began trying to build a boundary wall around the plant, the villagers naturally protested, only to face tear gas and a lathi charge by the police. This was followed by the firing and its tragic results. Fleeing the firing, many adivasis ran into the jungles and are still missing. It is our understanding that more than 50 people were seriously injured and many more have not yet been found. Meanwhile, the latest news is that arrest warrants have been issued against several tribal rights activists in the State, including members of the Adivasi Kranti Sanghatan and the Visthapit Virodhi Manch. None of these people were present at the scene and were not involved in the protest, which was organized by the local people. The issue of these warrants is simply an instrument of state terror. This kind of brutality fits into the pattern of Orissa's recent history, where the government and the police have been acting as agents of mining and industrial corporations. Instead of fulfilling their Constitutional duty to protect the rights of tribals and to ensure that tribal lands remain in the hands of the community, the State government has been selling these lands to the highest bidder and unleashing repression on anyone who dares to protest. If the Orissa government is to retain even a shred of democraticlegitimacy, it must immediately:.
- institute a judicial inquiry into this incident headed by asitting High Court judge, .
- register murder cases against the responsible police officials and Tata Steel,.
- withdraw the false cases and arrest warrants against tribalrights activists,
- compensate the families of the deceased with a minimum of Rs. 5lakh per deceased,
- cancel the grant of land to the factory and return the villagers' land to them.
The State of Orissa has become a by-word for environmental destruction, state repression and police violence. This latest massacre only strengthens the impression that the government has abdicated its responsibility to its own people. Sincerely,Pradip Prabhu, National Convenor
A LETTER BY DUNU ROY TO THE CHIEF MINISTER,ORISSA
Mr. Navin Pattnaik,
Dear Navin Pattnaik,
I have had occassion to write to you before on the subject of the completely misplaced rapid industrialisation of Orissa using brute force. But, fittingly enough, you have chosen to ignore my letters.
I say "fittingly" because you are not alone in this matter. The same fanatic belief in "growth" is visible in other organs of the state apparatus including the Honorable President (who poses as a scientist, although many of his pronouncements are as far from science as one can get), the Honorable Justices who preside over the Courts and the Human Rights Commissions (and have forgotten the cardinal principles of natural justice), the Honorable Prime Minister (ably assisted by his Honorable Finance Minister and Honorable Planning Commission Vice-Chairman - all of whom have at one time or the other been in the service of the World Bank), and most of what passes for political leadership in this country today.
Clearly this "eadership" can only see markets, not people. If at all it reconises human beings, it is in the shape of consumers. That is why, I suppose, the "tribal" is regarded as a non-human, almost a non-existent entity, to be brushed aside so that "development" may take place.
And what is this "development"? To take the latest case in your State, it is the establishment of a giant steel plant at Durburi, Kalinganagar. And what will this plant do? Make steel obviously. And how will this steel "develop" the nation? Well, for one thing it will go into construction of multi-storied buildings, large dams, heavy machinery, tanks and armour, steel rails, and prisons. For another, it will put a lot of money into the pockets of Tatas and their shareholders. And, of course, by exporting the finished steel there will be a lot of foregin exchange to be earned.
But how will all this 'development' benefit the villages who will be evicted to make way for the steel plant? How will it give them the money to feed their families, send their children to school, obtain better health? How may of them will convert to pulling rickshaws in your capital? How many of them will become slaves out of poverty to liquor and construction contractors and all the other evils that infest that capital? And how may of them will die - some facing the bullets that will be fired out of the rifles made of steel that your policemen will wield against them (at least 12 unfortunates at Durburi, as the new year dawned and your modern consumers danced away at Bhubaneswar), and some out of sheer hunger and dperivation? Or does this lingering death not form part of your dream of development?
Dreams have a way of becoming nightmares. Asoka learnt that the hard way many centuries ago on the same battlefields of Kalinga. But will you?
First there was Kashipur, then Lanjigarh, now Kalinganagar. How many deaths will it take to be known that too many people have died. That song was part of the struggle that unseated the mightiest empire the world has known to date. Do you think that you (and those others who worked for Washington) are mightier than that empire and the man who presided over it?
And you might remember in passing that the Vietnamese who sent the Americans home were little puny people, without tanks and artillery, without rockets and IT, but with a spirit so fragile that they had nothing to lose but their chains.
History was never your strong subject. I dont think Bush paid much attention to it either. But history will come calling at your door sooner than you think...
Once again, in caution,
Visit Report by Vidya Das (This mail by Vidya Das based on her visit to Kalinganagar was circulated on the Forestrights listserve and we are forwarding it for your information)
She is my sister, and these are my nieces he says, as we stand by the dead of the Kalinganagar massacare. The trauma is still etched on his face. My companion takes out her camera and clicks several shots. The people standing by helpfully draw back the cloth from the faces of the dead. The first woman looks like she is sleeping, not, so the second woman. The bullet has shattered her nose and upper jaw. The cloth on her face is stained black. How long did she struggle for their life, I wonder. The other two dead are men. "We do not know how many bodies the police dragged into their jeep, and disposed off on the way they say, but, we know for sure 13 people are dead." Reports from the medical hospital, we visited indicate that two more people have died, one person on the way, and another person in the hospital.
We are on the road taking us into Kalinganagar industrial area, the people have barricaded the road, and let us pass on to this spot, only after verifying our bonafides. We cannot talk to the people manning the barricades. 'only the committee can speak to you, they tell us pointing further down the road. Can we go there we ask. Yes, since you are press it is alright they say. Ravi who is with us is an activist, and has been to the area several times, people recognise him, and so, our identity is not questioned, though we do not carry press cards. Several vehicles of various opposition parties pass us by as we go on. On the way, we pass several young men carrying sticks. Tell Naveen Patnaik, if he kills the police who shot our people we will give him one lakh they shout as we pass by. We eventually come on a large gathering of people. A lot of speech making is going on. Further on, on four beds, the dead have been layed out. How were the women killed I ask; they opened fire suddenly, and shot into the crowd they say, these women were in front. It does seem as if people had not really begun to organise into a march or rally. Hearing reports of work starting, they had begun to gather at the spot, with an intention of stopping the dozers.' There must have been six or seven hundred police men, we were only about 200 they say'. Indeed, this is a fair approximation. Fourteen platoons, according to the police themselves, 27 according to the local reports, had been brought into the construction area on the morning of January second. They had been stationed in the nearby police headquarters in Duburi for about a week. They surrounded the worksite. The firing appears to have been quite indiscriminate. People have been shot on the abdomen, on the face. Even little children have bullet wounds they tell us.
It is difficult to get a coherent story, the trauma is still too fresh in people's minds. But, the purpose and intent is clear, we shall not leave till the Tata Company withdraws and the Government lets us live in peace in our villages they say. People in other villages, 600 families, have been driven out of their land we are told. They eke their living from stone crushing. Stone crusher units are every where. The hills have been carved up for quarrying. these are being taken for the construction work. Leaves of the few trees left standing on the road side have turned grey.
The Visthapan Virodhi Manch is well organised. There is a group at the first barricade. They check ones bonafides, and then let them pass. We shall not let anybody from the Government come here they tell us. Further on, women and men listen to the speech making. Lunch is being cooked a half kilometre down the road, in a hut, with the help of Manch funds, and food is brought to the spot by volunteers. Young women and men move up and down with lathis, there is tension in the air, but, there is no sense of confusion and chaos. Volunteers have also accompanied the injured in Cuttack medical hospital, and they take turns to sit by the patients. Food has also been organised here. We did not have any problem of paying for the vehicle, that is being looked into by the Manch, we are told by the relatives of the sick in Cuttack medical hospital. If there is a law and order problem, it has been created by the government the previous day.
There are many young people carrying bows and arrows. We never used them, they tell us, we carry it for self defence. However, this carrying of traditional weapons only seems to be some kind of a moral booster. All of them agree that they cannot really defend themselves with these in case of a police attack, although they explain very proudly the ballistics of this ancient missile, with feathers twisted around the rear end. The actual site of the killings is completely deserted. The police have also gone, and the people along with the dead have moved onto the road. How long will they campaign on this spot, will the government which one must remember was elected by them, ever listen to them.
In Cuttack medical collecge, all the injured police, they are from the Gurkha Battallion, and some of the more critically injured patients are in the same ward. The police are in four beds, adjacent to each other, the injured people are scattered in different places, and we have to hunt around for them. The police are subdued, quiet, the villagers, are ready to talk, but, we can make little inroad, as TV cameras capture their attention. The injuries are quiet serious, and I wonder if some of them will be able to survive. One frail young man, has an oxygen mask, and is clearly in much discomfort. Medical care has been provided, the serious patients have been attended to at the earliest possible and there is a fair amount of after-care as interns, and nurses come in and enquire after them, and slips are provided for those injured who require blood. But, ones the media and public attention dies down, one wonders will this be sustained.
As we look on, TV cameras, followed by politicians of different hues come in, bend over various injured for photographs, and video clips, and move on. The injured and their relatives are left looking quite bewildered.
Kalinganagar Complex is a massive industrial park with an area of over 12000 acres set up by IDCO in Jajpur District where industries are being allocated land. IDCOL has already acquired the land in the area through the Land acquisition act. The land acquisition by IDCO has only provisions of providing compensation for patta land and 10 decimal of land for homesteads for the landless. However, the local tribal people have been mostly cultivating non-patta land due to faulty survey and settlements and non-regularization of land. Even though they are absolutely dependent on these lands for their livelihoods, they are neither being offered compensation or land in return for the land cultivated for them. Several other industrial units have come up there, including Neelachal Ispat Nigam, MESCO, Jindal, etc.
The threat of forced displacement without any alternative livelihoods and loss of ancestral lands have led to a strong resistance- as long back as in 1996, the local people has successfully stopped the establishment of a plant by Bhushan Steel at the same site. Another major protest was held on 15th May, 2005, where the tribals foiled the proposed Bhumi Poojan of Maharastra Seamless Steel limited.
There are several issues that need to be addressed here. The entire episode is being given various colours by different interest groups. Some say the protests are because of the poor compensation package given to earlier oustees, with the present demand being for improved compensation, on the basis that IDCO would sell the land acquired from the tribals communities at something like seven times the price; other news reports point fingers at Maoists as instigating the trouble. Some people proclaim that the very fact that women were in the forefront of the rally indicates that they have been used! Needless to say the loyalists, and the opportunists will make hay when they can. This whole affair is an effort to de-fame Naveen Patnaik claimed one more-loyal-than-the-king 'Human Rights Activist' on OTV. The Indian Express, in its 4 th Jan Editorial states: 'This incident Tragic should not de-rail the process of industrialisation. Nor should the opposition ….. call the Naveen Patnaik Government Trigger happy. Rather a solution should be sought through an all-party consensus for which the Chief Minister, must take the initiative.' In the hospital people tell us, we voted BJP, but, now, since last year, we have disassociated ourselves from all political parties, and all of us together formed the Visthapan Virodhi Manch.
On the ground, there is little evidence of instigation by outside agencies, or any doubt about what the people want. Everywhere, people were very very clear, specially the women that this was a fight for their land. On the highway, it was local people who spoke to us, pointed out their leaders, and described their experiences. These leaders were from the area, lived with the people, struggled and toiled with them, some tribals, others non-tribals. The organised and orderly conditions that prevailed when we went there, the determination, grim and firm on people's faces, in people's statements, indicated that they were the people in command. This was no instigation. This was a people fighting to live.
It is inevitable, that the government would be on the defensive now. But, I would also point out that now is the time for like minded groups to come together and really really raise the issue of rights of local people: be they tribal, be they dalits, or any ethnic, caste, religious group, a community of local people have a right to decide what they want to do with their land and other natural resources. A government cannot just sell away these to industrialists without a proper process of consultation. And if the consultation results in people saying no, then the Government must honour this decision.
A consultation and consent cannot be manufactured with guns and police force;
A police force cannot be used for protecting and promoting the interests of the Private Sector;
Well, there is no point just a few people articulating this, then it becomes rhetoric. And I am glad there are so many suggestions for having an open letter on the Kalinganagar case. But, even as the Kalinganagar killings are a continuum from Kashipur in Dec. 2000, from Mandrangbaju, Gajapati, 1999, from Raighar, Nawrangpur, 2001, we also need to realise that there has to be strong move from civil society to bring such errant (and I have consciously used a mild word here) governments to book, and much much more: there has to be a counter move to ensure basic right to live and right to livelihood to the people of this country.
First, we need several people who will volunteer to come to Kalinganagar to report on the issues, not just on the killings.
Then, there has to be concerted, and sustained questioning of the rational and overdrive for industrialisation;
Legal support is required, and there is an acute need for good lawyers, who will volunteer help and sound legal advice to the people, who will also come forward to fight people's cases without monetary compensation!
_________________________________Agragamee,Kashipur - 765015,Dt. Rayagada, Orissa.ph: 06865285174; 06742557936; 06742551130
em: email@example.com ;firstname.lastname@example.org
This mail was in response to our first release "It is not firing, it is cold blooded massacre" from a NRO based in US of A. This mail and our responses have created a larger debate within the NRO online forum, which we will share later.
On 1/3/06, Deba Nayak <email@example.com > wrote:
Independent Media:First of all your claim for Independent Media is completely biased andsolely dependent on 1.CPI-M2.CPI, 3.CPI-ML (Liberation) 4.CPI-ML5.CPI-ML (Red Flag)6.CPI-ML (New Democracy)7.SUCI8.Samajwadi Party9.Samajwadi Jana Parishad10.Lok Shakti Abhijan11.Loka Pakshya12.Utkal Sarvodaya Mandal 13.Orissa Krushak Sabha 14.AIYF15. AISF
You did not condemn the barbaric killing of two Police officers by theTribal people. Was not their killing (chopping the body into pieces)Cold-blooded massacre? They were just performing their duties. The resentment grew not because of the tribals are loosing their land orculture, rather the greediness of more money and job in terms ofcompensation fueled by vested political opposition parties as well as Naxalites/Maoist.Where were you when tribals came to protest? Wish I could see you and yourdedicated team all in the front rows to take the bullets. That could havebeen your real fight against injustice.. Where was your honest opinion when the tribals were cultivating the Govtland even after they were compensated twice?Only 800 tribals were displaced. Are you accountable for the rest 7200 whoshowed up with lethal weapons? Where were you, when for last 50 years Orissa's minerals were were looted?Looks at RINL of Vizag, TISCO, IISCO,NGOs and Rest of India love to see Orissa stays as the 'Poorest of the Poor'such that more money would flow in terms of tribal development from different agency. May be you are one of that NGOsWhere is your bolded headlines when Tribals kill thousand of innocentanimals in the name of sacrifice and rituals which imbalance our ecosystem.Animals do have the first on this land and water. Don't fool others by writing provocating articles and dont do any personalattack on anyone. You have already lost your credibility to the audience.
Independent Media Update 2/1/2006
It is not firing, It is cold-blooded massacre
The people of Orissa never took seriously the words of the CM Navin Pattnaik and his cabinet colleagues when they said it in the floor of the Orissa Assembly that 'any one opposing rapid industrialization of Orissa will be dealt with, firmly'. They never took it seriously when Saswat Mishra notorious for his pro industry and anti-tribal repressive term as Collector of Kalahandi was transferred to the proposed industrial capital of Orissa- JAJPUR in the same position in the place of Surendra Kumar –known for his softness towards dalits and Adivasis. They never took it seriously when the station house officer of the new police station in Kalinga Nagar was transferred because he was hesitant to take firm action against the agitating tribals the way the present OIC of Tikri PS in Kashpur is doing in that place. They also did not take it seriously when most newspapers reported today that in his visit to Lord Jaganath CM Navin Pattnaik on the eve of the new year sought His blessings for rapid industrialization of Orissa. It is worth watching how these non-serious people of this dying state react when the same newspapers report tomorrow the cold-blooded massacre of at least 12 trbals while Nabin Pattnaik's heavily armed police decided not to allow agitating tribals of Kalingnagar of Saswat Mishra's Jajpur district to come in the way of a proposed TISCO steel plant.
In yet another instance of repression on behalf of Corporate Sector,at least Twelve tribals have been killed in Police firing near Duburi,Kalinganagar, Orissa, today (2/01/2006) morning. The TV broadcasts are telling that the Bhumi Pujan of the Boundary Wall of the proposed Tata Steel Plant was scheduled today and that the local tribals assembled and opposed the bhumi pujan. As per the police version, there was brick batting and arrows were used, following which the police opened fire, killing twelve tribals. One policeman is also stated to be killed. We have heard from local sources that at least 16 bodies killed in thefiring are lying at Dhangadi Hospital and that more people may have died. We have received the names of the following dead persons. Sudam Barla, Govind Laguni, Janga Jarika, Landu Jarika, Ati Jamuda, Mukuta Bankira, Dedghi Taria, Bhagat Sae and Ram Gagrai. #6 more tribals have been critically injured. It is clear that today morning was one of the most brutal episodes of state and corporate sponsored killing of tribal people struggling to claim their rights on land and forests.
Kalinganagar Complex is a massive industrial park with an area of over 12000 acres set up by IDCO in Jajpur District where industries are being allocated land. IDCOL has already acquired the land in the area through the Land acquisition act. The land acquisition by IDCO has only provisions of providing compensation for patta land and 10 decimal of land for homesteads for the landless. However, the local tribal people have been mostly cultivating non-patta land due to faulty survey and settlements and non-regularization of land. Even though they are absolutely dependent on these lands for their livelihoods, they are neither being offered compensation or land in return for the land cultivated for them. The tribals also allege that even people who were eligible for receiving compensation have not received it because of faulty procedures and delays. At the same time, the tribals say that they depend on their landscape i.e. the forests, the streams and the common land, and how will the government compensate for the loss of these resources. The threat of forced displacement without any alternative livelihoods and loss of ancestral lands have led to a strong resistance- as long back as in 1996, the local people has successfully stopped the establishment of a plant by Bhushan Steel at the same site. Another major protest was held on 15th May, 2005, where the tribals foiled the proposed Bhumi Poojan of Maharastra Seamless Steel limited. There is strong resentment against the proposed projects and the tribals have made it clear that they will not allow any Bhumi Puja unless all their demands are met. Sporadic protests and agitations have been continuing in the area. This had become a major impediment in the rapid establishment of industrial projects in the Kalinganagar Complex. To handle this problem, the State Government roped in the infamous Saswat (Sterlite) Mishra as the collector of the Jajpur District. He is the man who "facilitated" the construction of Vedanta aluminarefinery, breaking all conservation and tribal protection laws. Given his record, and the desire of the State Government to put the resistance to rest once for all, perhaps today's massacre was inevitable. Otherwise, knowing very well that the adivasis had taken a vow to oppose the Bhumi pujan at the cost of their lives, what prompted the State Government to deliberately and provocatively take up bhumi pujan in presence of armed police? The Government of Orissa made a deliberate choice, along with the TATA Steel, to take up today's program, knowing that the adibasis are going to oppose it with all their might. And now it is busy trying to paint the matter as an attack by adibasis on police. It is not yet clear what really happenedat the site of the massacre, with police and adibasies giving totally different versions. What is clear is that al least 12 persons, men and women, are lying dead and cold after today. _______________________________________________________________________ Comment:
Todays' massacre is yet another bloody link in the chain used to oppress adibasis of Orissa since the colonial rule. During the Independence movement, adibasis of Orissa paid the maximum price in blood fighting against the British. The Brahmin-Karan-Khadayat dominated government bequeathed post independence, not only grabbed most of the land and forests of the tribal communities, including the communal shifting cultivation land, but also used their land and forests for setting up massive hydel and industrial projects. Tribals displaced by projects taken up in even in 1950s and 60s haven't been rehabilitated till date. Protests were stifled using force and the simplicity of tribal communities have been used to oppress them under the iron boots of police, forest guards and local non-tribal elites. Thus no less than 73% of adibasis live below poverty line, and more than half are effectively landless, even though there is plenty of land under the zemindaries of revenue and forest department. Liberalization opened the floodgates for extractive industrialization of the tribal areas of Orissa, rich in minerals, water and forests, by the corporates, both Indian and Multinational. Violating all laws and norms, in cooperation with a ruthless and corrupt ruling elite, these corporates have become busy in stripping the state of its wealth, andin the process destroying the land, forests, water and survival of the tribals. So there was Maikanch in Kashipur, Vedanta in Lanjigarh and now the Tatas in Kalinganagar. It is apt that TATA Steel was involved in todays massacre, for was it not that TATAs who exploited the first iron ore mines of Orissa, and whose coffers have been filled at the expense of the people of Orissa. The tragedy of the tribal people of Orissa is visible in their poverty, their helplessness before local establishment and non-tribals, their physical and cultural displacement and their lack of rights over their livelihood resources. Kalinganagar is a grim forecast of the situation to come, as more and more tribals will be displaced and their life support systems destroyed by the flood of industrial and mining projects in Orissa.
It is more than clear that the government is deriving its strength not only from the money power of the corporate sector, it is also relying heavily on the opposition political parties since they all have been beneficiaries of the same process of rapid industrialization of the state. The government does not bother about the consequences of police atrocities since there is non-to demand accountability. There will be demands on a routine manner-the ultimate being demand for a Judicial inquiry, though everybody here knows about the fate of the inquiry reports. As Despremi Jan Samukhya has demanded in its press release, there should be a complete full stop to the so-called rapid industrialization of the state. The Lok Shakti Abhijan of Orissa has also rightly called it , ' a day time robbery of Orissa's natural resources for which the traditional custodians of such resources are being forced to pay a heavy price'.