Skip to main content

Tribals pitted against MNC in Odisha branded Maoists, intimidated, abducted, killed: Human rights report

A Dongria Kondh protest rally against "intimidation"
By Our Representative
The National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO), an apex body of right-based advocacy groups, has taken strong exception to unprecedented “intimidation” of Odisha’s tribals and activists pitted against multinational corporation (MNC) Vedanta Resources’ Rs 5000 crore aluminum refinery venture.
An NCHRO team, investigating into “false cases, arrested, torture and killing” in the name of anti-Maoist operations, said the whole effort to seek reversal of the 112 gram sabhas’ decision declaring the entire Niyamgiri hills area – where Dongria Kondhs, a primitive tribal community, lives – as a mining free zone.
The intimidation is taking place with the help of “various paramilitary forces as Central Reserve Police force (CRPF), Special Operation Group (SOG)… stationed there in the name of curtailing the Maoist activities”, an NCHRO team, consisting of its senior office bearers Prof Amarx Marx, Reny Ayline, Narendra Mohanty, Advocate MA Momen Halder, and Jharkhand student leader Abdul Hannan Jharkhand, said.
Based on visits to the most-affected Kalahandi and Rayagada districts, which are the most affected, a report prepared by the team said, “The holy lands of Dongria Kondhs are declared as Maoist infected areas.”
Giving details, the report said, on May 10, in the wee hours, at about 3 am, about 40 uniformed people reached the village Nachiniguda, forcibly entering each house, and picked up tribal leader Baka Majhi. One of the villagers told the team, “When he tried to release himself they violently broke one of his hands. When we protested, they threatened to kill us with their fire arms. They went away with our Baka Majhi. Nothing known about him till this day...”
When the team brought the “kidnapping” incident to the light of the Kalahandi district superintendent of police Brijesh Kumar Rai, “he replied that he is not aware of it and if details are sent he would take action.”
In yet another village, Dangamati, the team met the tribals who gave details of Manda Katraka (20), who was “killed in a fake encounter by the SOG on February 27”, and later declared him a Maoist.
In a third incident, Dasru Kadraka, the 25-year-old Adivasi youth leader and activist of Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti (NSS) was arrested on April 7 from Muniguda market. “The local police are falsely presenting him as a Maoist militia leader but they have not recovered any arms-ammunition or incriminating evidence to prove it”, the report said.
Pointing out that this has been continuing for quite some time, the NCHRO said, on November 15, three Adivasis of Nisanguda village were killed by anti-Maoist combat force SOG. Then, in the third week of November 2015, Drika Kadraka, an Adivasi activist, was picked up by the anti-Maoist squad stationed in that area. “Though he escaped from the clutches of police and returned he committed suicide as a result of mental torture within the next few days”, the report states.
The report insisted, local people were “against the Vedanta Resources but they have nothing to do with Maoists. They are concerned only about their future. In order to save and protect the Vedanta Resources the state has declared a war against the tribal population.”
Demanding a case of kidnapping Baka Majhi should be registered against the cops who picked him up, the report sought investigation into “the case related to the fake encounter killing of Manda Kadraka as a death due to a real encounter between the forces and an armed terrorist.”
At the same time, the report sought withdrawal of all paramilitary forces in the Niyamgiri hill areas to ensure safety of the local Adivasi population, adding, “We demand that in the background of the historic May 6 verdict of the Supreme Court the government should ensure the implementation of the Gram Sabhas’ decision of 2013 and declare Niyamgiri as a mining prohibited zone.”

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Opposition refuses to legally challenge EVMs amidst plans of "back to ballot" protest

Counterview Desk
Even as opposition to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) allegedly to rig polls is growing, a group of prominent citizens who have come together to form the EVM Virodhi Rashtriya Jan Andolan has controversially called for a national protest against EVMs on May 30, demanding future elections should be held only on ballot paper.

When a Pak scribe said Modi has 'proved' Jinnah’s two nation theory right...

By Zafar Agha*
It was around nine in the morning on May 24, 2019, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed the Lok Sabha with 300-plus MPs. It was a call from a journalist friend, Muzamal Suhrawardy, from Lahore, Pakistan. I ignored the call. We liberals had a depressing day the previous evening as the opposition to Modi and BJP collapsed. The results belied reports from the ground and even assessments made by colleagues.

It's now official: Akshay Kumar has not been conferred honorary Canadian citizenship

By Our Representative
It is now official. Super-star Akshay Kumar has not been conferred any honorary citizenship by Canadian authorities, as claimed by him ahead of the 2019 elections. In reply to a query by Roshan Shah, who is a Canadian citizen living in Waterloo, Ontario, and belongs to Ahmedabad, the country’s authorities dealing with issues related with immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada have said that only six persons have so far been granted honorary citizenship.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

If EC's credibility is under question, shouldn't one "assume" EVMs might be tampered?

Counterview Desk
Gauhar Raza, scientist, documentary film maker and poet; senior human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi of the Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD); military veteran Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd); and Sucheta De and Sandeep Saurav of the All India Students' Association (AISA), have asked “individuals, organisations and people's movements” to send their endorsement to an appeal they have prepared on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

Govt of India overestimated GDP by 2.5%, must restore reputational damage: Ex-CEA

By Rajiv Shah
Top economist Arvind Subramanian has said that changes brought about by the Government of India in data sources and methodology for estimating the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since 2011-12 “has led to a significant overestimation of growth”. While official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent, the actual growth may have been 4½ percent, ranging from 3 ½ to 5 ½ percent during the period, he adds.

Common thread of Modi, political Hinduism, nationalism? 'Contest' of ideas isn't over

By Salman Khurshid*
Losing the 2019 election and that too in a somewhat extreme manner has confronted us with unexpected challenges: Our leadership has naturally taken it very hard and to heart but with suggested options that we cannot imagine or contemplate. Hopefully the emotions will settle soon and give us the direction to pick up the pieces and march again.

Will minorities in India be 2nd class citizens? Wake up call: Be a 'communicating' Church

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
India today is at a defining moment of her history. There is so much that has taken place in the past five years (and particularly in the last ten days)- that several citizens of the country are genuinely concerned about the future of the country! Will democracy survive? Will key elements of the Constitution be changed?