Monday, January 09, 2006

Are the media and the mainstream opposition parties obfuscating tribal demands

Going through the newspapers and the TV channels, the impression is created that the demands of the tribals of Kalinganagar is primarily for proper rehabilitation and resettlement, with jobs etc. However, it seems that the tribals are taling a stronger stand and are demanding no industries at all. They still continue to sit on the Duburi-Chhandikhole highway. I am posting the two articles as below to illustrate this.

Activists fear politicisation of Kalinga Nagar incident will sideline real issues

Statesman News Service

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.

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