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Chhattisgarh crackdown on anti-mine struggle meant to 'uproot' mass movements

Counterview Desk 

The civil rights network, Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization's (FACAM)*, commenting on the recent arrests of two activists Tirumal Lakhma Koram and Ranu Podyam of the Modanaar Jan Andolan and Orcha Jan Andolan in Chhattisgarh, and the District Reserve Guard's crackdown on anti-mining struggle, has said that this is the latest in a "spate of brutal state repression" on the Adivasis.
Calling it a "concerted effort by the Indian state to uproot the ongoing mass movement against the corporate minings", it regretted, mining projects are being carried out "without the permission of the Gram Sabhas of the affected villages, which is mandated under the Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA), 1996. Implementation of PESA is one of many demands of multiple ongoing mass movements..."


It has come to our notice that the leader of Mad Bachao Manch, Orcha (Orcha Jan Andolan) Tirumal Lakhma Koram and one Ranu Podyam were arrested by police forces of Rawghat Camp at around 4PM on 9th December 2023, when they were traveling back to Modanaar Jan Andolan and Orcha Jan Andolan, after attending Bechaghat movement anniversary event.
On 9th December 2023, Adivasi villagers of Kanker marked the 2nd anniversary of the Kanker’s Bechaghat movement against the construction of BSF camp and bridge, which was done without the consent of the Gram Sabhas.
Later that day around 5 pm, Narayanpur Police also arrested Tirumal Shankar Kashyap, President of Adivasi Adhikar Bachao Manch, (Banglapara – Modanaar Jan Andolan), along with another member, Tirumal Samlu Koram from Narayanpur.
It is pertinent to mention that a few days ago a brutal crackdown was unleashed by District Reserve Guards (DRG) on the Orcha Jan Andolan. We are witnessing a spate of brutal state repression in these Adivasi regions. These are to be identified as a concerted effort by the Indian state to uproot the ongoing mass movement against the corporate minings and unprecedented militarization through multiple paramilitary camps.
It is important to mention here that all these projects are being carried out without the permission of the Gram Sabhas of affected villages, which is mandated under the Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA), 1996. Implementation of PESA is one of many demands of multiple ongoing mass movements in Bastar.
The objective of brutal crackdowns by corporate-state nexus is not hard to establish, which is to displace the indigenous people and intensify the loot of natural resources. Evidently, these are desperate attacks to isolate almost 40 mass movements in different regions of Bastar that are opposing rapacious corporate mining, para-military camps, fake encounters, fake surrenders and mass arrests.
Through these forced surrenders and mass arrests, the state is aiming to break the fighting resolve of the masses resisting corporate plunder. The targeted arrests of leadership of these movements is a well laid out strategy to render these movements leaderless and crush them under military boots.
The arrest of 8 leaders of Damkondawahi Bachao Sangharsh Samiti (Surjagarh-Gadchiroli) and its continuation in Narayanpur and Kanker is a clear indication of this pattern unfolding, one after the other and often simultaneously. 
This strategy to render movements leader-less and cadre-less is an intrinsic aspect of Operation Samadhan-Prahar, which strives to intensify plunder of our people’s resources and destruction of Jal-Jungle-Jameen.
The Forum against Corporatization and Militarization strongly condemns the arrest of Tirumal Lakhma Koram, Ranu Podyam, Tirumal Shankar Kashyap, Tirumal Samlu Koram and demands their unconditional release.
We also appeal to civil society members, democratic rights activists and organizations, students, professors, progressive democratic mass organizations, peasant and working-class organisations as well as all democratic and peace loving people to oppose these malicious attacks on the masses struggling for protection of country's resources and expose the corporate-state nexus of plunder.
*Constituents: All India Students Association (AISA), All India Revolution Students Organization (AIRSO), All India Revolutionary Women’s Organization (AIRWO), Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Students Organization (BASO), Bhagat Singh Chhatra Ekta Manch (bsCEM), Collective, Common Teachers Forum (CTF), Democratic Students Union (DSU), Mazdoor Adhikar Sanghathan (MAS), Nazariya Magazine, Progressive Lawyers Association (PLA), Trade Union Centre of India (TUCI), Vishwavidyalaya Chhatra Federation (VCF)



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