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Arrest of Odisha tribal leader meant to "appease" corporates ahead of elections

By Our Representative
The All-India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE), "strongly" condemning the arrest of Lingraj Azad, leader of the Niyamgiri Suraksha Parishad, who, with the Dongria Kond forest community successfully fought the Vedanta corporation's attempts to grab adivasi land, has said, but for their struggle, "generations of adivasis would have been dispossessed".
AIFRTE said, "The ecological balance of the region, protected by the Dongria Kond's sustainable life conditions, would also have been irreparably damaged and lost." And with his arrest, "once again it appears under threat."
Asserted AIFRTE, "The Odisha government has revived it's efforts to promote the discredited cause of exploitative corporations and to deny the adivasis inhabiting these mineral rich lands over many centuries their legitimate human rights."
Saying that Lingraj Azad, national vice-president of Samajwadi Jan Parishad, a'member organization of AIFRTE, and national convener of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), "has been arrested under trumped up charges", AIFRTE noted, charges against him include "possession of arms, which can allow him to be declared a Maoist."
Demanding Azad's immediate release and all his charges dropped, AIFRTE said, "The fact that this arrest has been made just before the impending elections shows that Odisha government is siding with the corprations for petty political and financial gains."

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