State violence in Kalinganagar, Orissa: Developing News
State repression on villagers protesting against Tata project
Jun 04 2010: Those who appeal to the judiciary are not spared either
May 18 2010: Police Forces Return, Demoliton Drive Restarts
May 12 2010: Police attack villagers – one killed, many injured
May 10 2010: Police lathicharge in Chandia village
April 29 2010: Monthly Tata Sponsored Devastation of Baligotha village (Jajpur district) by Government?
April 25 2010: Mysterious Murders & Forceful Demolitions in Kalinga Nagar
April 21 2010: Kalinganagar: Repression Continues Even When People Are Dying For Want of Medical Care
April 18 2010: Appeal from Bistaphan Birodhi Janamancha
April 05 2010: Evolving News : Update 5
April 01 2010: A Summary of events till date
March 31 2010: Evolving News : Update 3 and 4
March 31 2010: Concerned Citizens Committee on Kalinganagar Firing
March 30 2010: Police Firing on Villagers – Update 1 and 2
March 26 2010 :Tata sponsored “Green Hunt” on villagers
Those who appeal to the judiciary are not spared either
by Surya Shankar Dash (Source : forestrights listserv)
Yesterday morning 15 acres of land in Kalinga Nagar was ploughed by BBJM tribals till Tata contractors and some pro-Tata tribals reached the place led by SP, Jajpur who preferred to stay away from the site as he wanted people to oppose first so that to settle the conflict his forces would intervene. It seems Tata’s strategy is to consolidate its position in military fashion by first creating an all weather approach road to the area so that during the upcoming rains it can continue to enter the area and carry out preparatory works for construction. The BBJM tribals opposed the ground leveling work of the contractors and a Tata vehicle was burnt down. As planned the police arrived and took away 4 women including Swarnalata Banara the Gobarghati Sarpanch. The police ultimately forwarded her to jail. Swarnalata is one of the several women who have appealed to the Orissa High Court against police attrocities and forced eviction. Her arrest testifies that democratically elected representatives of grass root democracy in India who have knocked at the doors of the Judiciary, after every other pillar of Democracy collapsed, are being targeted by the police with absolute impunity. Swarnalata Banara is a strong leader of the people and has always boldly spoken out against injustice. Please see this video of 2008 when Amin Banara was shot dead by Tata’s hitmen where Swarnalata Banara gave us an interview on the prevailing conditions in Kalinga Nagar.
To start with it is essential to clarify that the last report carried some factual errors which we found after crosschecking with local tribal leaders like Rajendra Kalundia, Chandia Sarpanch and the daily newspaper Aromv. The Tata vehicle was never torched by BBJM tribals. Rather the entire sequence of events seemed to play out as per a script written by Jajpur SP D.S. Kutte and his accomplice Kalinga Nagar P.S. IIC Kishore Mund. And this script seems to be plagiarized from the Repression Diaries of Kashipur where Kishore Mund was earlier posted and instrumental in getting the tribals opposing the Birla project to fight with each other.
Yesterday morning, the workers of Gayatri Constructions, the contractor engaged to carry out ground leveling works along with tractors and bulldozers were opposed by Swarnalata Banara, the Sarpanch of Gobarghati along with 3 other women, Mina Banara, Snehalata Hembram and Basmati Tiu. They had no clue that they had fallen prey to a planned conspiracy as immediately a busload of about 100 women arrived at the scene wearing workers’ helmets and armed with sticks. They mob attacked Swarnalata and the other women and beat them up. One photograph in Aromv’s front page shows the crowd beating up a lone woman lying on the ground with sticks. Another two show women being dragged and Swarnalata pulled by their hair. And the fourth one is the most revealing photograph, it shows one of the women victims cowering for protection from the mob and a posse of policemen.
Eyewitnesses say that the police was present all along about a 100 meters away. The SP, the ADM and other officers were present all along with 10 platoons of police forces. They waited for the mob to beat up Swarnalata and the other three, and captivate them. Then the police stepped in and arrested Swarnalata and others. The truck was set afire somewhere else after the arrests in order to indict the captivated BBJM women members.
Yesterday’s incident shows that the police is resorting to the worst of methods to advance the interests of Tata. The panchayati system is the very root of democracy in India and if the Sarpanch, an elected representative of the people is beaten up and handed over to the police to be framed in false charges then it is for sure that democracy has ceased to function completely for the tribals of Kalinga Nagar. That the mob of women was wearing helmets and armed with sticks indicates they had prepared and kept nearby to attack anyone who opposed the construction works. And that the police was watching a mob beat up a four women mercilessly is evidence enough that the Police of Kalinga Nagar has become a weapon for industrialists against the common people.
In such times what should the people of Kalinga Nagar do? They have appealed to the High Court but the police is devising such conspiracies to turn tribal against tribal and stepping in conveniently in the name of law and order to suppress the protests of the BBJM.
Police Forces Return, Demoliton Drive Restarts
Report by Suryashankar Das
May 18, 2010
The mourning for the cold blooded murder of Lakhman Jamuda is yet to be over. The officers guilty of secretly disposing his dead body and making his nephew Lalmohan Jamuda sign papers at gunpoint are yet to be punished. Despite being party to such heinous crimes, the Collector and SP of Jajpur have restarted their atrocious activities today. Sources say yesterday they had a meeting in Bhubaneswar with Bijay Patnaik, Principal Secy to CM Orissa (He is the same person who returned from a week long meeting with POSCO in Korea the day Police attacked Balitutha) and today security forces have arrived at Gobarghati to carry out demolition of houses of displaced people. Villagers of Chandia are tense as there are chances of the Police then heading towards their village located close to Gobarghati village. Its not been even a whole week since police lathi charged at women and children and shot dead Lakshman Jamuda at Chandia village on 12 May ’10. Meanwhile more people died of untreated diseases. One of them, Mechcha Hanaka aged 45, had been secretly admitted in a hospital in Cuttack by activists but succumbed to TB and renal failure last night. The other is an elderly lady from Gadapur and I am yet to receive proper information about her. It seems every week will be a repeat of the last week in Kalinga Nagar. And its not some God who is writing this destiny of the people but I.A.S./I.P.S. officers like Bijay Patnaik, Priyabrata Patnaik (MD, IDCO), DMs & SPs who seem to be the authors of enforcing mass repression in Odisha. It is obvious who dictates them.
Reports by Suryashankar Das
May 12, Report 3
Lakshman Jamud, aged between 50-55, has been killed in the police firing at Chandia today while two women have been seriously injured. One of the women, Jema, aged 32 and unmarried has been seriously injured with reports indicating that 6 bullets have hit her waist. The other woman Basanti Bankiri, aged 30, is married and has 4 children. Her legs are injured.
The police and media is trying to manipulate the case. One TV channel first said the man has committed suicide and now it is not mentioning his death. Police is spreading false information… Sources say most local media persons had been taken to Puri by Tata on Sunday where a deal was made to manipulate news from Kalinga Nagar which is evident now… Lakshman Jamuda’s body has been taken by the police for post mortem and they are trying to fudge the report
May 12, Report 2
Minutes after I sent out the last mail news came in that the women of Chandia bravely resisted all attempts to demolish the houses built on Anabadi land. The police first lathi charged at the women and then when they refused to be scared they were shot at, most likely with rubber bullets and plastic pellets. The people have taken refuge from the bullets (steel, plastic, rubber or whatever they are) in the nearby Baligotha forest. Some of them are trapped in the village where the police is terrorising them. There is no clear confirmation of the number of people injured as everybody is scattered and yet to assemble at one place.
May 12, Report 1
‘Goondaism’ is the real ideology of the Govt in Kalinga Nagar. At 7.30 AM Chandia village was quiet but prepared for yet another long day of repression & humiliation. By 9 AM police forces arrived to carry on with the demolition because the real agenda of this mission is yet to be accomplished, i.e. to provoke the people. And it seems the masterminds of repression are losing their patience because in what seems to be a planned strategy to push the people towards a final showdown, the police is trying all sorts of tricks to start a fight. Firstly they bullied the people into not assembling where they have been doing so since day before yesterday because the police forces have decided to assemble at that particular place. Then people from neighboring villages like Gobarghati and Baligotha were on their way to stand by Chandia people but the police stopped them midway. And then the final part of the strategy was played out as houses of people who have not been displaced were targeted for demolition, and ultimately it was declared that all houses not having record of rights ((which tribal people rarely have) would be demolished. The simmering anger of the people has reached a boiling point today. They have been pushed to the point of desperation and the blame for any untoward eventuality will not rest entirely on the proponents of State goondaism but also on the cowardly silence of the opposition parties and the media.
Police lathicharge in Chandia village today
by Suryashankar Das
May 10, 2010
On the 6th of May, the large contingent of police had stayed out of Chandia village when villagers strongly opposed them from entering the village (see below) and only a small group was allowed to enter the village and demolish the displaced people’s houses. There was no untoward incident reported that day but four days later a large contingent of armed security forces arrived again today morning to demolish more houses of the displaced. Villagers opposed this as they had struck a deal on the 6th that all demolition jobs were to be done with by the end of that day. Then the police resorted to lathi charge at a crowd made of men, women and children. Many people have sustained injuries and one Garkha Barla, aged between 30-35, has been seriously injured and taken to a hospital by the police. The demolition has begun and the village is besieged by fear of more violence by the Police.
Monthly Tata Sponsored Devastation of Baligotha village (Jajpur district) by Government?
A report by Surya Shankar Dash
Today, exactly a month after the savage attack on 30 March by armed forces and Tata goons, a large contingent of armed forces arrived again at Baligotha village alongwith some JCB machines. Then they unleashed another round of devastation upon the village that is yet to recover from the last attack and has also lost two villagers to diseases as they have been cordoned off by Tata goons and the Police. Today, the houses of Purna Banara, Nitendra Palia, Jema Hessa and Tuna Palia was razed to the ground. Also Baligotha’s community house and Litu Banara’s cattle-shed were demolished. Nitendra Palia has a widowed sister and child who have been unwell for several days and the villagers fear the two will die within a day or so. Now they cannot even die in peace with their home completely demolished. The rest too are now without a roof on their head.
This is part of the demolition drive that the administration started around the 18th of this month after pro-Tata groups staged protests (around 3-4 April ’10) in front of Jajpur ADM’s office demanding that the belongings of the displaced people be brought from their villages. The District Magistrate had then ordered for heavy police deployment for protection of the displaced people to go back to their villages and collect their belongings and demolish their houses. In a newspaper notice the DM warned that protestors would not be spared. But this was used as a pretext to demolish homes of people refusing displacement.
From Gadapur to Gobarghati the police was used to terrorise villagers and break houses of key members of the Bisthapan BIrodhi Jan Manch like Noti Angarai of Gobarghati and people refusing displacement. In Kalamatia village at least 2 houses of people yet to be displaced was demolished, in Champakoila it was at least 3 houses, in Bandargadia it was 1, in Gobarghati it was 2, so on and so forth. Community houses of Baiduburi & Champakoila alongwith Baligotha have been demolished. Altogether at least 20 houses have been forcefully demolished despite the fact that the Collector had assured that the whole exercise was just for the displaced to collect their belongings. The demolition of people not displaced, community houses, cattle-shed and even tombs is blatant evidence of the Govt’s real intentions.
A month long wave of repression that still continues is a sign of the times we live in and the shape of civil society. Leaders of opposition parties are nowhere in the picture after being beaten & chased away by Tata goons & BJD cadre. All along the media remains silent and its unclear if they are mourning or if they have been gagged or they prefer to stay quiet. Like all other pillars of democracy even media in Kalinga Nagar seems to have crumbled. Of course there are a few individuals everywhere doing whatever they can but will that save the tribals of Kalinga Nagar?
Sources say the next target of the Govt is Chandia village and the attack is likely to be executed tomorrow. It is also likely that Nitendra Palia’s widowed sister and child lose their lives by tomorrow with no medical care available.
Tata Steel Plant Foundation being led with Mysterious Murders & Forceful Demolitions in Kalinga Nagar
23 April 2010, Source – forestrights listserv
Late night yesterday villagers of Gadapur in Kalinga Nagar heard the sound of a tractor approaching. They were alarmed it might be the police again as in the last one week some 20-odd houses in the village have been demolished by the District Administration & Industrial Development Corporation of Orissa (IDCO) under heavy police deployment. The reason is that these houses belong to people who agreed to be displaced for the Tata factory and as per the Resettlement & Rehabilitation Policy they will not be given new houses until their old houses are demolished. But the tractor yesterday had come for some other reason and never reached the village. Whatever the reason was the people manning the tractor were secretive about it and didn’t even switch on the headlamp.
In the morning migrant workers from the nearby slums were collecting firewood when they discovered a dead body near Gadapur. This is where the villagers had noticed the tractor the night before. The deceased is Rasananda Patra, about 40-years old and a Dalit trolley puller from the Dalit hamlet Bandragadia located about 200-300 meters from Gadapur. Bandragadia hamlet no longer exists since a few days ago as it has been completely demolished. All 20 families living there had decided to be displaced except for one Sarat Patra who had not agreed to displacement but his house was nevertheless demolished. Sarat now lives in a makeshift leaf hut he has built where his house once stood. Many people who are refusing displacement have faced the same fate as Sarat. Yesterday, out of the 7 houses demolished in Champakoila village 3 were forcefully demolished while 2 days ago in Kalamatia village 2 houses were forcefully demolished. The people are aware that this is a provocation from the administration and therefore have not fallen prey yet by forcefully obstructing demolition. In the demolition drive today at Gobarghati, Nati Angarai’s house was forcefully demolished because he happens to be a leader of the Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch (BBJM). BBJM is a local non-violent & democratic tribal outfit opposing displacement for the last 5 years despite 14 people being killed in a police shooting on 2nd Jan 2006.
The mystery of the cause of Rasananda’s death might be solved after the post-mortem but its hard to understand how his dead body reached Bandragadia when he should have been in Tata’s transit camp. Maybe the mystery is not difficult to crack if one were to consider another murder case in the recent past. That of Sridhar Soy, a contractor engaged in petty works for Tata at Bhitar Manika. He was found dead in a forest with his motorbike and a case was registered against the leaders of the BBJM. Many BBJM people randomly arrested from markets, roads, hospitals and during the midnight raids on the villages in the last few months have been implicated in this case. But the mystery has hardly been solved. Sridhar Soy belongs to Masakia village located some 7 km away from the controversial site of the Tata plant where the BBBJM villages are located. There was no previous altercation between BBJM & Sridhor Soy, not even any communication. Sridhar Soy was a Tata contractor operating in a different area. How could villagers of the BBJM whose movement is terribly restricted by the police, BJD cadre and TATA goons manage to kill him and dispose his body in jungle far away from their villages? Then why would BBJM activists resort to murder of a contractor when they are involved in a movement of a different nature raising issues related to land, livelihood and displacement? Would it not weaken their movement that has received widespread support after the 2nd Jan massacre?
At the same time while several people have been arrested in the Sridhar Soy murder case not a single arrest has been made in the Amin
Banara murder case or the Jogendra Jamuda attempt to murder case though Jogendra Jamuda himself has been arrested. Jogendra was shot at while driving his motorbike with his mother in front of the Kalinga Ngr police station by unknown assailants. Amin Banara was killed in a shooting on 1st May ’08 by Arbind Singh, a Tata contractor and his associates. Arbind Singh was actually gunning for Dabur Kalundia, a leader of the BBJM who has been targeted in another attack in his village some months ago. Arbind Singh was arrested that very day while he was trying to flee the area but released three months later and sources say he is now cooling his heels in the air-conditioned environs of Fortune Towers in Bhubaneswar.
So the mystery of Rasananda’s death last night might not be a mystery at all judging the recent history of murder cases in Kalinga Nagar. Villagers of Gadapur say that Rasananda was personally opposed to displacement and had been coerced by others to leave Bandragadia. Why he was killed and dumped in the land he never wanted to leave can evoke many wild guesses but foul play seems for sure and that foul play has an uncanny resemblance to the Sridhar Soy murder case. Amidst all this those responsible to investigate and solve the mysteries are openly biased against the BBJM. Sources say the SP of Jajpur has threatened the journalists of three mainstream media houses to not go to the BBJM villages. The media camps are also openly divided into pro-people and pro-Tata camps. Rumours abound in the area that the SP has a stake in the industrialisation process and that he has a relative who is complicit with the mining mafia in Keonjhar. Though these are charges that might be impossible to prove the SP himself has proved that he is capable of executing operations like 30 March ’10 where armed security forces and Tata goons unleashed a brutal medieval-style invasion upon Baligotha village on the pretext of dealing with opposition by the villagers for the construction of the Common Corridor road project. They destroyed foodstocks, killed cattle, stole lifestock, destroyed valuables, looted money, set property afire and injure at least 40 people by firing rubber bullets and plastic pellets. After that the villagers were denied any kind of medical assistance. Then there are many more like the Jajpur SP involved in the rape of Kalinga Nagar who have a tainted history like the MD of IDCO, Priyabrat Patnaik (IAS) who was stripped of all duties for a couple of years for being involved in a high profile murder case in Bhubaneswar. He is known to be one of the masterminds behind the attack on peaceful women protestors in the proposed POSCO site in 2007.
Where does the common man’s quest for justice feature here? What about Sikur Kalundia, Balema Goipai and Ghanshyam Kalundia, all of whom died for lack of medical attention because their villages have been cordoned off from the rest of the world by police, Tata goons and BJD cadre?? Does that not amount to murder?? And What happened to the judicial probe into the 2nd Jan massacre that claimed 14 lives?? What happened to Amin Banara’s murderers?? Who attacked Jogendra Jamuda? Why were Dabur Kalundia’s attackers released? Who really killed Sridhar Soy?? And now, Rasananda, who killed him and dumped him in Bandragadia while he should have been in the transit camp? Will the BBJM be again framed?? It seems the foundations for the Tata Steel project shall bury many such mysteries, deaths & demolished homes. The BBJM though is gearing up to live upto its claim that they will rather die than leave their land.
( Nachiketa from Independent Media with inputs from Rabi Rout, Neelamadhab Nayak and Raghu in Kalinganagar)
Kalinganagar: Repression Continues Even When People Are Dying For Want of Medical Care
Since 30 March 2010, Kalinga Nagar of Orissa has been out of bounds for the rest of the world with all roads leading to the devastated village being guarded by Tata goons, BJD cadre and the police. High profile politicians like Jual Oram of BJP and certain Congress members have been attacked and not allowed to visit Baligotha. In one of these attacks three journalists were beaten up, their cameras were snatched and their valuables were looted.
by Prasanta Patnaik
Today (the 16th March, 2010) morning, Ghanshyam Kalundia of Baligotha village died succumbing to prolonged undiagnosed diseases. Just two days ago he had made it to newspaper headlines – “I want to live.” Ghanshyam is the third one to die within a week for unavailability of medical support. Already Sikandar Kalundia and Balema Goipai have died in the last few days. The prevailing conditions in Kalinga Nagar do not allow anyone to go out to avail medical help neither doctors are allowed to go to the villages. For months the villages of Kalinga Nagar have been cut-off and cordoned off from the rest of the world by the police and Tata supporters who are forever on the lookout for them. Some 21 people have already been arrested under false charges when they stepped out of their villages. Some of them were arrested when police and Tata supporters raided the villages at midnight on two occasions. During these raids the villagers were shot at with rubber bullets and many women were severely beaten up with sticks.
At the same time today morning when Ghanshyam took his last breath, some 700 police force are said to have been deployed in the area especially near Gadapur village on the pretext that the few odd displaced families have to demolish their old houses. The people who are still staying in Gadapur have vacated the village in fear of violence by the police and large number of Tata goons who have assembled there. Preliminary reports from the area say that the demolition exercise is a more organized and seemingly innocuous version of the pillaging that took place by police and Tata goons in Baligotha village on 30 March ’10.
he 30 March attack was the culmination of months of sporadic aggression by the Police and Tata goons. That day the Police simply did not try to maintain law and order, rather they first sprayed rubber bullets and plastic pellets upon the tribals, entered Baligotha village, set food stocks afire, poured kerosene in the wells, killed cattle, vandalised the memorials of the martyrs of 2nd Jan 06 police shootout, looted valuables, stole livestock and destroyed all sorts of electronic goods and gadgets like TVs, DVD players, Sewing machines, etc. Surprisingly this planned attack by some 27 platoons of armed security forces and 2 platoons of Operation Green Hunt forces along with a hundred odd crowd of Tata goons happened exactly two days after the District Magistrate met the villagers and assured them their grievances would be looked into. After the attack the DM did a volte-face and said to the media they would carry out construction of the Common Corridor Road (which the people are opposing) at any cost with the District SP adding that protestors would not be spared. Since 30 March the area has been out of bounds for the rest of the world with all roads leading to the devastated village being guarded by Tata goons, BJD cadre and the police. High profile
politicians like Jual Oram of BJP and certain Congress members have been attacked and not allowed to visit Baligotha. In one of these attacks three journalists were beaten up, their cameras were snatched and their valuables were looted.
The Common Corridor road project is being espoused by the District Administration and IDCO as a harbinger of development to the area. But the locals point out that every factory in the area is well connected by road and has been functioning smoothly over the years. Moreover, the proposed 4-lane road project will cut through a 7-km stretch of tribal land including fertile farmland. The locals say that the rationale behind such a road project can only be to bring the much opposed Tata project as the Common
Corridor will cut through the villages resisting the steel giant for the last 5 years. One of the natural advantages of the people opposing Tata has been that they have been able to assemble easily from across villages as the villages are next to each other. With a road cutting through they will be isolated and the police will gain easy access. After the police shootout on 2nd January ’06 that claimed the lives of 14 men, women and children while opposing the construction of a wall for the proposed Tata project there were some half-hearted attempts made by the Govt. to resolve the issue through dialogue but were not pursued to a conclusive state. Rather another wave of repression was unleashed upon the people as on one side the leadership of the tribals was targeted by Tata goons and on the other key activists and leaders were framed under false charges. There were several murderous attacks on active leaders like Dabur Kalundia and Jogendra Jamunda. One such attack on Jogendra almost cost him his life when he was shot at from close range in front of the Kalinga Nagar police station while he was riding a bike with his mother. Dabur Kalundia was attacked by a Tata contractor Arbind Singh and his gang in front of the Rohit factory, Dabur survived but Amin Banara from his village succumbed to bullets in his chest. The tribal villages protesting against displacement in general and Tata in specific
under the aegis of the Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch (People’s Forum Against Displacement) located amidst ten steel factories by
companies like Jindal, Mesco, Mathan, Nilachal, Rohit, Dinabandhu, etc. have been gheraoed from all sides now. It seems the Common Corridor project will now dissect the resistance into two parts and tackle it systematically with some sort of clinical precision. The tribals are considered encroachers though they have been living on that land for generations and their demands
for land in lieu of land has not been taken seriously by the Govt. On the other hand they have been repeatedly portrayed as Maoists though not a single incident of Maoist violence has been reported in the area in the last 5 years. Rather a non-violent democratic movement is being suppressed by a Govt. that is evidently working like a private mercenary of Tata Steel.
The State capital looks shockingly calm. The opposition leaders seem to be holidaying with their ruling counterparts to escape the hot summer when forcibly displaced tribals from different regions of the state are struggling in this alien land to earn their bread for the day braving the day temperature which has remained above 44 for the last few days.
(Author is a Senior Journalist and Media Activist from Orissa)
BISTHAPAN BIRODHI JANAMANCHA , SUKHINDA (KALINGANAGAR)
P.O. SUKHINDA Dt JAJPUR ORISSA
FROM RABINDRA JARIKA, SECRETARY
VILLAGE CHANDIA PHONE NO- 09938655827
To all democratic parties, organizations and individuals supporting the struggle of the Adivasis and Dalits against forcible displacement.
The people of India know about the struggle of the Adivasis in Kalinganagar and the martyrdom of 14 Adivasis in the struggle against forcible land acquisition by the Tatas in 2006. While that struggle is continuing, fresh attacks have started on the villages of Chandia, Baligoth, Chama Kutli, Gobarghati, Garhpur, Belhari and Ambagaria in Kalinganagar. The Tatas want to broaden the Expressway connecting Daitary Mines to Paradip Port. So they want to evict the Adivasis and acquire their land. The people are opposed to this and they have refused to vacate their villages. Now the Tatas have formed an armed group of nearly 500 men They are all armed with guns..At 11 AM on 30th March 2010, this armed gang assisted by Orissa State Police and some BJD (Biju Janata Dal) activists attacked the village Baligota. 22 villagers including six women got gunshot injuries.
The marauder gang dishonoured the women, burnt the houses of the movement leaders and smashed three motorcycles and 25 bicycles. They looted all goats and hen from the village. Since the attack was sudden and the people unprepared, so they could not resist..
The movement against forcible land acquisitions by the Tatas is being led by Bisthapan Birodhi Janamancha, Sukhinda. Our movement is a peaceful and democratic movement. We only want that the right over Jal, Jangal and Jameen should remain with the Adivasis. We appeal to all democrats to kindly restrain the Orissa government and stop the murderous assault by the Tata armed forces.
We want to point out that there are enough barren lands in Sukhinda which can be used for construction of roads without evicting the Adivasis. We are under siege and it is very difficult for us to communicate with outside world. Please treat this message as an SOS and do something.
Update 5 : April 05, 2010
Source : Surya Shankar Dash, CGNet
Today a man from Gobarghati village died from cerebral malaria as he could not receive any medical aid on time due to the prevailing situation in Kalinga Nagar where the police, BJD cadres and Tata goons are not allowing anyone to come out or enter the villages which have been resisting the Tata Steel factory and the Common Corridor road. There is huge tension in the area after the state BJD chief and India’s former tribal affairs minister, Jual Oram was attacked and his vehicles was vandalised. Two journalists, Amulya Pati and Manas (Sambad) were also attacked and their cameras were snatched away. The journalists were rushed to the nearby hospital where they were given first-aid and are safe now. A medical team carrying medicines and other necessary supplies has just managed to enter the villages. Jual Oram is adressing the press at 4.30PM in Bhubaneswar. While this is happening in Kalinga Nagar, some journalist for ANI has decided to declare that peace has been restored in the area. It is clear from the report itself that the reporter doesn’t even know anything about ground reality and is talking about some imaginary town called Kalinga Nagar. Kalinga Nagar is the name of a huge area landmarked as an industrial estate to setup steel projects. Then the report also says that people have put off their protests. This particular piece was posted 16 hours ago on the net and now it remains to be seen whether how the ANI reporter will react to the news of the attack on the scribes. Fellow journalists should take special note of this report that misinformed the world and is most likely sponsored by Tata or the Govt while two journalists are getting beaten up by goons. And to remind everyone, the videographer who was shooting the police attack on 30 March was specially targetted by the police and shot at with rubber bullets. The bottomline is that every pillar of democracy has now been completely demolished in Kalinga Nagar.
A Summary of events in Kalinganagar till 31st March
- Orissa government has started war on people in Kalinga Nagar.
- The forces meant for ‘Operation Green Haunt’ like SOG forces were used for this purpose (as per media report Government of Orissa is formally launching ‘Operation Green Haunt’ from April 2010.)
- This entire mobilization of armed forces in Kalinga Nagar is for construction of common corridor.
- This common corridor is a connecting passage from main road to Tata’s proposed project site
- This would help the administration and police to reach the Tata’s project site without any hindrance from local villagers.
- Though the government of Orissa says that it would help transporting vehicles for other factories, a road already exists for their transportation and they are using it.
- Many villagers have not yet received compensation for Tata project and even they are refusing to receive.
- But the government of Orissa has mobilized/deployed 29 platoons of State Armed police, 2 platoons of Special Operation Groups (SOGs), 70 senior police officers, 7 magistrates besides District collector and Superintendent of Police at the spot.
- Entire area has been cordoned off and section 144 has been declared.
- Mediapersons were not permitted to enter those villages and were forced to sit inside the police station. But photographers hired by the private companies were moving around within police cordon.
- Yesterday, police has used 500 round rubber bullets and did blank firing to send the villagers back. When the people were withdrawing from the area, police chased them upto 3km and came inside Baligotha village.
- Inside Baligotha village, the police has burnt several houses and has beaten many old people.
- Some villagers are injured. Their exact number is yet to be known. Most of them are taking private treatment.
- One team from Bhubaneswar went yesterday night and some doctors accompanied them. They have come back now.
- ‘Bisthanpan Birodhi Janamancha, which is spearheading the movement in Kalinga Nagar, recently met the administration three days back after the latter invited for the discussion.
- The Mancha placed few things before the Adm, like (a) after Kalinga Nagar firing (on 2nd April 2006 when 14 tribals died for opposing Tata steel project) the chief minister has invited and met them twice. But none of the demands have yet been met. It speaks how far really the government of Orissa is serious about the problem of Kalingnagar. (b) The Mancha is not opposing the project. But land against land should be given and those who are already displaced by previous projects should be rehabilitated properly.
- Administration has not accepted any of the demands but next day started their ‘war’ on the people.
- Surprisingly, those political parties who were opposing Kaling Nagar firing and called Orissa bandh on 7th January 2006 , are maintaining complete silence.
- Local newspapers are only giving the version of police. None of them has yet carried any interview of one of any leaders of the Mancha.
Source : Surya Shankar Dash, forestrights listserv
A team of senior journalists and activists along with a doctor visited the villages last night. They report that about 50 people have been seriously injured with many having these new kind of plastic bullets still lodged in their bodies.
The following video captures the terror that was unleashed upon the tribals yesterday by the police and Tata goons :
Today the police has again blocked all roads and many people have been held on their way to the villlages. The police stations in Kalinga Nagar have turned into offices for Tata goons and the local mafia. Goons on bikes and in SUVs are patrolling all roads leading to the villages and are intimidating any unknown person they see on the road. Suresh Panigrahi of CPIM was threatened by the police as well as the goons and he was not able to reach Baligotha or other villages that are being targeted. At the same time Tata goons have assembled at the commom corridor construction site near Baligotha and are carrying out construction activities. The police is spreading rumours about Maoist presence in the area to be able to cut off the villages again like yesterday and attack one more time.
If you see the footage carefully you will realise that this was no police force trying to maintain law and order. They have vandalised the 2 Jan 2006 martyrs’ memorials…they have destroyed the personal documents of the people…they have robbed money from homes… they have destroyed foodstocks and carried away lifestock, and killed cattle. It is as if we were returning to the medieval times of plunder and invasions. Two separate press conferences are being held today in Bhubaneswar by those who visited the area (at Lohia Academy and CPIM office, 5 PM).
Concerned Citizens Committee on Kalinganagar Firing
Bhubaneswar: March 31, 2010
A citizens’ committee which visited Baligootha Kalinganagar under the leadership of Justice Chaudhry Pratap Mishra ( Retd Judge of Orissa High Court ) on 30th March, 2010 after indiscriminate firing against peaceful protesters of Vistapan Virodhi Janmanch was reported in the media, has come across shocking incidences of police and mafia brutality. The members of the committee which also included Sri Rabi Das (senior journalist), Shri Chitta Mohanty (writer and political activist), Sri Sudhir Pattnaik (senior journalist), Sri Mahendra Parida (Trade Union and human rights activist) met the victims of bullet injury in Baligootha, Chandia and Baragadia and saw the damages done to the houses, bovine wealth, food grains, food articles, motor bikes and cycles of the villagers.
The Sarpanch of Baligootha reported before the committee that his cash and golden chain also have been stolen from his house apart from the damage caused to food grains. Dabur Kalundia, another leader, also deposed before the team. Rabi Jarika, the leader of the agitating tribals who had sustained a bullet injury also narrated the incidents of the day and the politics behind the common corridor. The committee met men, women and children and about 25 injured persons including 9 women received treatment from the senior doctor who accompanied the committee along with a team of volunteers.
Observations of the Committee
1. About 30-40 tribals have sustained bullet injuries in the firing and 25 were treated by the doctor accompanying the committee. Four critically injured persons were in the hospital. Some have bullets stuck within their wounds. Though it appears to be rubber bullets, the kind of bloody wounds each one of the persons treated has received does not seem to be the work of rubber bullets.
2. No efforts by the administration to treat the injured. People don’t wish to go out for treatment for fear of torture and arrest.
3. The police firing at the site of the controversial common corridor road near Baligootha was unwarranted and uncalled for and therefore looks to be preplanned.
4. 29 platoons of armed police, 2 platoons of NSG, 70 police officers and 7 magistrates does speak a lot about the firing and also speaks about the atmosphere of police terror prevailing in the area.
5. The witnesses report that familiar faces in the nearby localities close to the ruling party came in police uniform and attacked all houses in Baligootha. They did not carry guns. They had swords and other deadly weapons in their hand.
6. Civilian goons in the presence of police could be seen in the place in which 144 was declared, as reported by the people.
7. The houses of leaders of the Manch have been damaged and all important articles including food grains burnt.
8. Agitating and aggrieved tribals are spending sleepless nights under trees in fear of more attacks, since the police, goons of the company and certain criminal elements associated with the ruling party are having a field day with good cooperation of the administration and police.
9. The presence of such a huge force itself threatens the peace of the area.
10. The administration does not seem to be sensitive to the cause of the tribal protesters as much as it is concerned for the companies in Kalinganagar.
1. The Honble Chief Minister should immediately intervene and call an immediate halt to the controversial common corridor project
2. Since the administration has betrayed the people once more a dialogue should take place at the highest level with the CM on the demands of the tribals including the one calling for land for land. Even people owning land in the common corridor have not been consulted.
3. Instead of building police stations one after another in a small place with corporate funding the CM should ensure that every village gets developmental inputs particularly education, health, water, social security schemes such as widow pensions all of which have been suspended arbitrarily.
4. Law should not be taken to hands by any citizens and this law applies first to the police administration. All officers, civil and police, involved in the firing of 30th March and in criminal activities such as injecting a sense of fear among the tribals the day preceding the firing and conflicts must be suspended immediately and be subjected to trial.
5. Financial compensation to the tune of Rs 1 lakh for every person injured in the firing be given to the victims.
Justice Ch.Pratap Mishra(Retd)
State terror unleashed on protestors – Police invade villages
(Source : Surya Shankar Dash, forestrights listserv)
On March 28, 2010 the Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch leaders and villagers welcomed the Jajpur District Collector and had a discussion with him on the controversial common corridor, though they knew very well that 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 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 then started attacking 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, a large number of Tata supporters and 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 whereabouts of the leaders are not known.
One person, Member Kalundia received bullet wounds in the chest and legs… Police has demolished houses and set them ablaze… Cattle have been indiscriminately shot at… Two days before Orissa Day the Govt celebrates with a bloodbath…
The latest update is that the police has vacated the village but has gathered about half a kilometer away in front of Rohit Ferro Chrome Factory where the construction of the common corridor road is to begin… All houses have been ransacked… foodstocks set afire… televisions, radios, etc have been destroyed… the girl who was beaten up by police has been admitted to the hospital… its not clear yet how many have been arrested but some 20-30 people have sustained serious injuries in the attack…