Saturday, April 18, 2015

Anti-dam Adivasi, Dalit protesters again fired upon in Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh, casualties reported

Police action on April 14
By Our Representative
In less than four days of open firing at peaceful protesters in Sonbhadra in Uttar Pradesh on April 14, Ambedkar Jayanti, the again police opened fire in the morning on Adivasis and Dalits protesting against the Kanhar dam. Those fired at included large number of women in Kanhar valley, Amwar, Sonbhadra district, said National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), an apex body of tens of rights bodies in India.
"Reports of rampage in villages Sundari and Bhisur have also come where houses are smashed and hundreds of people are beaten. While the number of deaths and people suffering injuries have not yet confirmed, it is reported that they would be high", NAPM said, calling it a "clearly planned brutal attack to crush people’s peaceful and democratic resistance against the illegal construction of Kanhar dam which will cause massive displacement due to forcible land acquisition."
The NAPM said, the use of violence by the police and administration on agitating people is "not new" in Kanhar Valley. On December 23, 2014 they were "brutally beaten and false allegations of attack on sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) were made to victimise the leaders."
It added, "There have been continuous attempts to harass people by the nexus between police and local land mafias to deny land and forest rights of hundreds of Adivasis, Dalits and other poor villagers. On April 14, police fired at the gathering which left six women seriously injured and Adivasi leader Akku Charu who was shot in the chest is admitted in Lucknow."
NAPM claimed, "Despite constantly increasing number of force in the valley, including the PAC (provincial armed constabulary) and attempts to block people from joining the protesters, immense support has poured in from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujrat, Uttar Pradesh as well as from political representatives, political parties, activists, scholars, etc for the struggle."
Saturday's attack, meanwhile, are being interpreted as an attempt to stop efforts to to send a fact fining team so that actual happenings in the area came out. The attack also took place at a time when the proposed Kanhar Dam is subjudiced in the High Court.
NAPM alleged, "Without conducting any fresh cost-benefit analysis and social and environmental impact assessments, and violating the order of the National Green Tribunal dated December 24, 2014 which mandated environment clearance and forest clearance for any construction by irrigation department of UP, the government is illegally going ahead with the construction."

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