Saturday, March 27, 2010

24 Platoons armed police for Kalinganagar tribals: Updates

As predicted earlier, the government and the goons have started a reign of terror against protesting tribals in Kalinganagar. The Bisthapan Birodhi Jana Manch (BBJM) and the villagers are resisting this ingress. Apparently one person has been shot and injured, people beaten up discriminately, houses burned and cattle shot.

The account of the 14 tribals who were killed in 2006 hasn't been settled yet- no proper enquiry, no punishment to the perpertrators of massacres against Indian citizens; and now the whole process has started once again. BBJM asks for justice, and it gets bullets in return.


Information from Kalinganager

On March 28,2010 the Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch leaders and villagers welcomed Jajpur District Collector and had a discussion with him on the controversial common corridor though they knew it very well the district administration had other motives. After talks with activists of Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch and more than 300 villagers the Collector assured them that there would be no construction activity for the Common Corridor Road till the matter is resolved through dialogue. But the administration has gone back on its words. They started the work yesterday and made a huge media publicity of the event to provoke people. In today's newspapers the SP has said 'protestors will not be spared' and the Collector is saying "construction of the road will happen at any cost."

This gave the manch no other alternative but to protest. But today 29 platoons of armed police with 60 officers and hundreds of BJD and Tata goons reached the place of dispute. They first denied media any entry to the place and the started attacking the peacful protesters. Many have been injured including women and children as indisciminate rubber bullet firing and lathi charge has taken place. They have entered the villages and unleashed a reign of terror. The villagers have tremendous patience and are still resisting peacefully. The area has become a war zone and more than a dozen people including women and children have been seriously injured.

This is being carried out under the supervision of IG Special Operations, Arun Sadangi. Despite Sec 144 being imposed in the area large number of Tata supporters, BJD cadre have assembled at the site and are giving instructions to the police. All people who have a conscience must act now as democracy in Kalinganagra is being butchered in the most vulgar manner and the political and bureaucratic leadership of the state have completely sold themselves to the Tatas. There has been absolutely not even a murmur of protest from any of the mainstream political party leaders which signifies the absolute power Tata wields over them. Just now reports reach us suggesting that firing has started in Baligootha village and where about of the leaders are not known.


As posted earlier, the anti-displacement movement in Kalinganagar has been facing increasing repression from the State Government as TATAs increase their efforts to launch the steel plant. Most people may remember that killing of 14 people in police firing in Kalinganagar was a turning point where it started becoming clear to common people of Orissa that the state government and the ruling elite had sold out to international extractive industries mafia; and that democracy was being buried under the avalanche of global capital flows and extraction of Orissa's natural resources. A state killing its citizens to facilitate international capital - it was a shock to the common folks of Orissa- and a realisation that the wonderful dreams of development were just dreams circulated by a neo-liberal world order, where 500 million elites of the world consume half the world resources; and that the relentless rape of colonised spaces such as Orissa was a neccessary corollary of the greed of the global elite.

In face of this relentless expansion of global extraction into the green heartlands of Orissa, the people of Kalinganagar responded by great fortitude and resolve - we will die but we will not leave our lands. The killings at Kalinganagar transformed what was just a collective effort to obtain more compensation for displacement, into a strong, no compromise movement for place and survival with dignity - and they have held off the state for last four years, inspite of being baricaded by police, arrests, coercion, attempts to bribe, vilification in the media, political pressures, withdrawal of all development support etc. Along with the anti-POSCO movement in Jagatsinghpur, they have become the flagbearers of a people's resistance against neo-liberal extraction, wherein Orissa is sought to be incorporated into the world global economy as a colonised hinterland on unequal terms.

The Orissan state- the sorry vestiges of the proud people of Kalinga and Utkal, an increasingly rump apparatus owned by mining mafia and corporates- has used all means to destroy these suprising shows of resistance by normally docile people. The fact that these tend to be non-violent and democratic makes the situation even more difficult for the state,which needs the fig leaf of democracy to continue serving its masters sitting in Mumbai and London. The tactics are manifold - and the most important one being terming these movements as Maoist, and therefore insurgents against the Indian state. No matter that all the violence has been onesided, against the protest movements - unleashed by state apparatus as well as private mafias; yet branding such movements as infiltrated by Maoists allows the government legitimacy to try to crush the movements. And so you have 24 platoons of armed police entering Kalinganagar area as of today, trying to squash a democratic upsurge against the exclusions and destructions caused by neo-liberal extraction. Who cares who many may die in this exercise on behalf of the TATAs?

The role of local media in this process has often been reprehensile. Fed by the advertising revenues from corporates, as well as direct bribes, many of the local media outlets simply act as mouthpieces of police and corporate sector; and have tried their best to badmouth and discredit such movements. Are there honest scribes who will actually tell the stories from the perspective of people of Orissa- of these movements? Will the mainstream media cover it? Or they will bay for the blood of Rabindra Jarika- labelling him a maoist. Remember that gentle old man- Lalmohan Tudu- who was shot in cold blood by police in Lalgarh.

Those who are still interested in fate of the people of Orissa- you need to speak up before all voices of sanity and selfrespect are silenced by green notes and lead bullets.


URGENT: Tata sponsored 'Green Hunt' in Kalinga Nagar to destroy democratic tribal movement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A recent video clip of repression in Kainganagar can be found at this locations

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