Against hundreds of quarries illegally working with consent of authorities and against Vizhinjam port project and against the GAIL Pipeline project also mass movements are taking place.
Already in the Travancore Devaswam Board which is controlling the temples’ administration, almost 80% of the employees are from Brahmins and upper castes who form only 14% of the population. Instead of applying the SC/ST reservation quota in the Board, the LDF government has announced reservation quota for economically backward upper castes, violating the very principle of reservation. Challenging this CPI(ML) Red Star along with likeminded forces have launched a state wide campaign
Can the lathis, axes, bows and arrows of the people deemed to be “deadly weapons” stand against the modern arms and ammunition of the Odisha police? Based on the deposition of the Jajpur Collector, the Commission has said that near about 1000 villagers on January 2, 2006 gathered with lathis, axes, bows and arrows who posed a threat to the law and order problem for the construction of the boundary wall of Tata. Therefore 12 platoons of police (over 500 armed police personnel) were stationed with modern arms and weapons.
Here, the question arises how the gathering of those villagers with their traditional weapons to protect their lands and livelihoods has been termed ‘illegal’ and ‘unconstitutional’ whereas the presence of such a large contingent of armed police for the construction work of a private company like TATA as “adequate” and “cannot be faulted”? The Commission’s justification of this large presence of police resorting to barbaric violence for their “own self-defence” leading to the killing of 13 adivasis is once again establishing the monopoly of violence that the State and administration carry. The Commission is also making clear that citizens have no right to protect their own lives and livelihood. The protection of the interests of a corporate entity like Tata is the sole concern of the Commission like other Commissions have done in the past.
The Mishra Commission that was constituted to inquire into the police firing in December, 2000 in Rayagada district where three adivasis were killed and seven injured did not question the justification of police firing. The adivasis of Rayagada were fighting against bauxite mining and alumina plant of Aditya Birla. This time the PK Mohanty Commission too has justified police firing in the process of land acquisition for Tatas. Both Commissions have justified the killing of people for the self defence of police personnel. However, deployment of armed police forces to acquire land for a private company against the wishes and consent of the people have not been deemed unjustified by any Commission. In both cases, the police firing created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation that became favourable for companies to forcibly acquire land; this has been overlooked by both by a sitting judge as well as by the retired judge. This makes us doubt the impartiality of both Commissions. The Mohanty Commission has pointed out that land had been acquired between the years 1990 to 1995 and that from 1995 to 2005 people’s disappointment regarding compensation and rehabilitation built up. Those expressions of discontent were peacefully and democratically expressed according to the Commission. This is a success of the people’s movement that a Commission set up by the government has acknowledged the discontent of the people with the land acquisition process. It is to be noted that both BJD - BJP and Congress were in power, a fact that is pointed out by the Commission too. Why has the Commission not been able to point out that the administration and elected representatives in power have been equally responsible for the increasing discontent of the people? Had this discontent been addressed instead of their working in favour of the company, such a tragic incident of firing and loss of lives would not have happened. The Commission has not hesitated to question the role of some respected citizens for the aftermath of the incidents following the police confrontation with local people in May 2005. The Commission in a biased manner has questioned the role of political activists and NGOs from events around May 2005 and onwards who, according to the Commission, have “taken advantage of the volatile situation, mobilised, instigated and led the villagers to adopt a path of confrontation.” Political activists and NGOs have been standing in protection of people’s rights and ensuring that the government machinery should work democratically in the interest of people. That is why they have been targeted by the State on several occasions. Here, in justifying the use of excess police force for land acquisition of a corporate entity reveals how the Commission has undoubtedly protected the interest of the corporate. The Commission has held responsible three doctors for the incident of chopping of palms of the deceased after post-mortem and at the same time absolved them of any “oblique intent”. On the other hand, the Commission has highlighted the role of political activists and additionally attributed them with the intention of having “hijacked and converted the agitation.” It is questionable whether the Commission was working towards giving justice to the family of the deceased or instead giving a clean chit to the administration and police in order to uphold the business interests of Tata. The Commission had ample opportunity to question the state government why measures had not been taken to implement land settlements as per the Odisha Survey and Settlement Act before declaring the area as Kalinganagar Industrial Complex. Of the 13,000 acres of land earmarked for the complex, the Commission has highlighted that 7,057 acres belong to the private owners. The area came under the control of the Odisha government from the Sukinda royal family under the Odisha Estate Abolition Act 1951. Subsequently, most of the private land in this area was claimed as public land which the government arbitrarily sold to a private company. This was one of the main grievances of the people. For what “public interest” did the government use its authority to keep compensation money of the private land to itself. The Commission has maintained silence on this matter too. To recommend jobs of temporary nature to those who gave up their lives in protecting their land to avoid facing uncertainty is a travesty. Such a recommendation of the Commission to provide suitable employment to one member in each family is tantamount to the privatization of lives and livelihoods of individuals. No doubt that such precedence will establish a wrong trend. It would have been appropriate to offer a government job.
We, the undersigned citizens, strongly disagree with the findings of the Commission report. In the last many years when state violence has been increasing against those fighting for their lands and livelihoods, such a report is legitimising the coercive tactics and undemocratic actions of state and companies. We plan to come together on January 2, 2018 for a collective protest against the police firing and state repression on people’s movements struggling for the protection of land and livelihoods.
This statement was signed by: Biswapriya Kanungo (Human Rights Activist), Debaranjan (GASS), Lenin Kumar (Janabaadi), Lingaraj Azad (Niyamagiri Suraksha Samiti), Mahendra Parida and banshidhar Parida ( AITF), Manohar and Pradip Sahu (CSD, Odisha), Narendra Mohanty (INSAF), Prafulla Samantra (NAPM), Pramodini Pradhan (PUCL), Radhakant Sethi (CPI-ML Liberation), Ranjana (WSS- Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression), Sivram (CPI-ML Red Star), Srikanta Mohanty (CPI-ML , Odisha), Tapan Mishra (Chaasi Mulya Sangha) and Srimanta Mohanty.
December 18, 2017, Bhubaneswar
To provide compensation for crop loss to actual farmers (land owner or share cropper) as declared by the state government.
Fix and provide the minimum support price at one and half times more to the actual production costs of paddy along with other agriculture produces like maize, pulses, cotton, sugarcane, beetle vine, coconut, lentils, black gram, groundnuts, etc.
Exemption or complete web-out of the loans of farmers and provide them new loans with zero interest.
Provide Rupees 20 lakhs of compensation to each farmer’s family who committed suicide due to crop loss as reiterating their previous demand.
Immediately enact law to protect the interest of Share Croppers.
Exemption of land cess, irrigation and electricity tax besides exemption of education fee of the children for current year, in the areas affected with draught, erratic rainfall and insect attack of crops and provide seeds, organic fertilizers and pesticides free of cost for Rabi crops.
The peasant organizations have also strongly criticized the guidelines adopted by National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) which is also followed in the State as State Disaster Response Fund declared the compensation package to farmers. It is “a drop in the ocean” to tackle the grim situation of farmers in crop loss and can’t solve the severe agrarian crisis, they observed. Farmers would not be benefitted much from this. The peasant leaders put their demands before the BJP led NDA government to amend the guidelines of NDRF and increase a judicious amount of compensation rather than shedding crocodile tears for the farmers. The leaders further demanded to change the relief code and increase the amount to Rs. 20,000/- per acre of crop loss caused in all types of natural calamities to the actual farmers.
Leaders also recommended that “to keep track on the distress sale of the agriculture produces and make solution of the situation, the District Collectors should be held accountable and responsible for seasonal monitoring. As effective network mechanism should be functional in each district to check distress sale.”
The convention and mass dharana was presided by the presidium taking members like Pramod Rath (AIKKS), Asish Kanungo (AIKS), Jameswar Samantray (OKS), Ashok Pradhan (AIKM), Jyotiranjan Mohapatra (AIAKS), Bhalachandra Sadhangi (AIKMS), Brahmananda Mallik (AIKMKS), Narendra Mohanty (Chasi Mulia Surakshya ‘O’ Sangram Parisad, Kandhamal) and Ramakrushna Jena (Chasi Adhikar Sangram Manch, Ganjam).
After the presentation of Base Paper by Suresh Panigrahi, including the members of presidium the leaders like Sankar Sahu, Srikant Mohanty, Jagannath Mishra, Ramachandra Muduli, Anirudha Mallick, Balabhadra Mallick, Krushna Chandra Rout, Hrusikesh Mishra, Tusharkant and Kishan Pattnaik supported the demands raised through base paper. A eight member delegation met to the Revenue Minister and apprised him about the grim situation of farm and farmers. A memorandum was also given to the Honourable Governor of Odisha.
A resolution was passes and call was given to organise protest in different form before the district collector offices and submission of memorandum within the month of December and appeal to farmers to be united under a united broader platform irrespective of their political identity for the greater cause to save farm and farmers.
The team visited Osmania University on 5th December and met different students’ unions, teaching and non-teaching staff along with Maneru hostel students and collected some invaluable details of the cold death by consolidating information and now publishing the details of electronic and print media belief in the Government being responsible for the Murali’s death. Based on the evidences of the death, situation as well as considering opinions expressed by different people, past death came to our conclusion that the Government was MORALLY responsible to the incident.
Prior to the Telangana state formation, the un-certainty led to the innocent death. Ironically, even today three and half years after the achieving the TELANGANA state, many students are still in a state of severe desperation due to FALSE PROMISES made by the Govt. regarding employment opportunities of late, the cut throat competition in private Educational Institutions along with extreme stress students are subjected to stay abress has led to many adversities.
An anecdote is the case of Murali which was evident past collecting opinions and feed backs during the course of the fact finding committee’s investigations..
Optimistically looking for a better future, after his graduation Murali enrolled for Post Graduation in M.SC. Physics. However the chilling reality of the current employment opportunities for the students of Telangana, and soon he realized that circumstances are grim. Hence, Government failure to keep-up with promises is the only fact that hits us hard as a sinister reality in Murali’s chilling death.
As a retaliation, when students showed their disagreement that Murali’s case was not just a suicide, the way it was handled by TRS Government was inhuman. The dissatisfaction of students and unemployed youth in the form of boycotts, were cruelly handled by the Government in order to suppress the opposition of students unions and unemployed youth demands. The fact finding team demands:
A Judicial enquiry into the death of Murali. Police officials who inhumanly handled the situation should be suspended and Home Minister should be held responsible for the same. University Autonomy rights were severally hampered. Hence, Vice-Chancellor should resign. Rs.50 lacs. ex-gratia to be granted to Murali’s family for the irrevocable loss along with providing job to atleast one family member. As rural students struggle with English language, facilities and training programmes to be provided for a better grasping of the language
In its existence of less than six months, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) has created the largest ever coalition of farmers’ organisations in the country, cutting across states and agro-climatic regions. By organising Kisan Mukti Yatras covering nearly 10,000 kms over three months, the AIKSCC has created a nation-wide footprint for itself, besides deepening of consciousness among the farming and the non-farming communities.
The massive Kisan Mukti Sansad has been a major milestone in this journey. It demonstrated the capacity of this coalition for ground mobilisation across the country and succeeded in registering the plight of the farmers and their demands before the country. The first ever Women’s Parliament was a critical acknowledge-ment of the role of women as farmers. By formulating and presenting two Bills centred around its two demands, the AIKSCC has demonstrated that it is not merely about protests and opposition, it is a common resource for policy alternatives on Indian agriculture.
The Kisan Sansad has resolves to intensify the struggle. In the next phase a nation-wide Campaign on two bills will begin on 26th of November in Baardoli (Gujarat). The campaign will culminate in a Kisan Mukti Diwas on 26th of January all over the country.
Comrades Sharmistha, Zakur Ali from Bhangar Committee, Vimal (secretary of Delhi Red Star committee), Jyothi from Basthi Raksha Committee and others addressed the dharna explaining the one year old people’s resistance going on at Bhangar, appealing support of all progressive forces.
After dharna following memorandum was submitted to the Ministry of Power
THE Committee for Protection of Land, Livelihood, Ecology and Environment representing over 50,000 villagers affected by the 400/220 KV Rajarhat powergrid substation project undertaken by the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited.
We have been protesting against this project which was supposed to have been set up at Rajarhat in the North 24 Paraganas district of West Bengal, but which was shifted to the South Paraganas district and set up among fertile multi-crop farmlands and vast wetlands for some unknown reason, for many years now. However, all our representations to the PGCIL as well as the W Bengal govt. have fallen on deaf years. Instead, the West Bengal government has unleashed a reign of terror over the affected villages, arresting scores of people and even killing two villagers.
We would like to bring to your notice that the project has come up flouting every single rule and procedure related to the Right of Way and other safety measures. 440 KV transmission lines have been put up over brick kilns, schools, houses and other buildings, without any regard for ground distance. The SF6 gas insulated substation has been set up bang in the middle of a densely populated village. Dozens of transmission towers have been set up over wetlands and farmlands. The lives and livelihoods of the villagers as well as the ecology and environment are under risk of severe electromagnetic pollution. There has already been one instance of coolant leaking from the substation and spoiling crops of the adjoining fields.
PGCIL has not undertaken the mandatory process of consultation with the villagers. All land has been acquired forcibly and at gunpoint.
Under the circumstances, we have been demanding dialogue with the state government and the PGCIL authorities for over a year now. However, our demands have been answered by brute terror.
A vast range of experts suggest that the completion of this project will spell doom for all the villages over which the transmission lines run, because of zero compliance with Right of Way and Ground Clearance standards and because of the impending electromagnetic pollution. A project of this kind is not supposed to be set up over fertile farmlands and wetlands. It was supposed to have been set up in Rajarhat, but due to some unknown reason it has been shifted to the villages of South 24 Paraganas.
We oppose this project and demand dialogue. We seek your urgent intervention in the matter to facilitate dialogue between the villagers and the authorities. We also seek your intervention with the West Bengal state government to ensure a stop to the state terror to which we are subject. We look forward to speedy redressal
Street corner meeting at Lake Market, South Kolkata by CPI(ML) Red Star, WB State Committee on first anniversary of Demonetisation attracted many. Many such programs were organized at different places in the country