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

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Jharkhand Adivasi lynched to death by mob "chanting" Jai Shri Ram: Fact-finding team

Counterview Desk
On April 10, 2019, Prakash Lakda, a 50-year old Adivasi of Jurmu village of Gumla’s Dumri block, was lynched to death by a mob of men from the Sahu community of neighbouring Jairagi village. Three other victims from Jurmu – Peter Kerketta, Belarius Minj and Janerius Minj – sustained severe injuries due to the beating by the mob. A fact-finding team of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), comprising of several activists and representatives of member organisations, conducted a fact-finding inquiry into the incident on April 14-15.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.

Election Commission suffering from worst-ever "credibility crisis": Ex-bureaucrats

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, a group of ex-bureaucrats have lamented ‘weak-kneed’ responses of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Citing various violations of the model code of conduct, and pointing towards how ECI has taken little action, the letter asks the President to tell ECI to “conduct itself in a manner where its independence, fairness, impartiality and efficiency are not questioned.”