Skip to main content

Dongaria Kondhs demand immediate halt to Odisha police "repression" in Niyamgiri Hills

By Manohar Chauhan
Dongaria Kondhs, under the banner of Niaymgiri Surashkya Samittee (NSS), has demanded immediate halt to police repression and asked for peaceful life in Niyamgiri Hills. Alleging state repression on their peaceful movement towards saving Niyamgiri Hills, Lada Sikaka, president of NSS, accused the Government of Odisha of pushing pro-corporate and anti-tribal activities in the state.
Sharing his experience of "police brutality" on Dongria Kondhs, Sikaka told media in Bhubanesewar, "On October 20 when I had been to Langigarh old market to sell orange, the local police in civil dress came in Bolero and abducted me without any warrant, covered my eyes with a clothe and took me to the local police station where they severely beat me up and tortured me. They released me on the next day after taking my signature on a blank paper."
"They frequently asked me to stop the protest that we had planned before the Ragayagada Collector's office against police repression and Maoist movements in the Niyamgiri Hills", Sikaka added.
Dadhi Kadarka, another senior member of NSS, said, On October 8, I was similarly picked up by the Raigarda Police from Munikhol Panchayat office near Muniguda without stating what was my fault and without any warrant. Police took me to the SP office and was severely physically torture. They released me on October 9.
“In similar manner, on October 18, police abducted Jamu Gauda from village Jhadikhol from Langigarh market and took him to Muniguda police station under Raigarh SP office. They tortured him and compelled him to give information on Maoist links, and threatened to send him to jail. The next day police freed him, Kadarka added.
NSS had called for peaceful protest before the district collector's office Raigarh on October 23 against both police repression and Maoist harassment in the Niayamgiri Hills. They applied for permission it on October 15. Following that, the Kalahhandi SP had called leaders of NSS, including Lingaraj Azad, senior organizer of NSS, and asked them to stop the protest plan otherwise he would take stringent action against them.
“Whoever picked up by the police was either compelled to surrender as Maoist or to give information on Maoist links and get praises from police, and when they would suggest they had no information, the police would torture them and threatened them they would be sent to jail, Sikoka asserted, adding, they would continue their peaceful democratic protest to "save Niayagiri Hills despite police repression and Maoist harassment."
Taking note of police repression, a fact-finding team consisting of Narendra Mohanty (Insaf) Chandranath Dani (Human Rights Defenders Alert), Pradeep Sahoo (Campaign for Survival anf Dignity), Niranjan Mohanty (advocate), and Gaoutam Patra (social worker) visited Niyamgiri Hills, including Muniguda, Lanjigarh and Rayagarda and discussed the prevailing situation with the affected people. They told media about "gross human rights violation by Kalahandi and Raigarda police in the Niyamgiri Hills."
Present on the occasion, Green Nobel awardee Prafulla Samantara spoke out about innocent tribals in Niayamgiri area who, he said, are protected under Schedule 5 of the Constitution and the Forest Rights Act, 2006. He called upon the Government of Odisha to stop "brutal repression on democratic movements in the state in the name of Maoists."
Later in the day, Dongaria Kondh representatives along with several of Odisha's noted activists submitted a petition to the Chief Minister demanding impartial investigation on the alleged incidents of police repression and to take stringent action against those who were responsible for it under the SC-ST Prevention of Atrocity Act, 1989.
They sought a detailed report on all false cases against members of NSS and those who have been put in jail. They said, there should be a total stop to further arrests and torture of innocent people in the name of Maoist repression. In the petition, they also demanded from the Government of Odisha to ensure complete closure of Vedant Alumina Plant in Lanjigarh which they asserted is the main cause of all pollution in the area.

Comments

TRENDING

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

One lakh schools closed down, draft policy 'seeks' commercialisation: Whither RTE?

By Our Representative
A national consultation on the new draft National Education Policy (NEP) with senior experts, teachers’ association representatives and other stakeholders at the India International Centre in New Delhi on July 11, organised by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, has expressed serious concern over curtailment in the budgeted expenditure on education year after year, even as closure of more than one lakh schools over the "last few years."

Lynching as state terror? Complete dearth of 'political will' to deal with mob violence

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
On Friday July 5, thousands of people had gathered at a rally in Surat to protest against the growing mob lynching incidents in different parts of the country. There are different interpretations at what happened during the rally: with police blaming the rallyists and those in the rally blaming the police for using teargas shells upon them without any reason.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

UN report notes 'suppression' of Kashmiri independence groups in Pakistan

By Our Representative
A top United Nations (UN) body has suggested that the intense fervour of Kashmiri nationalism isn’t just sweeping the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) state but is equally strong in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), pointing towards how the Pak authorities have been seeking to suppress it by placing restrictions on rights to freedoms of expression and opinion, assembly and association on every section of PoK’s population.