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

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.