Dayamani Barla – The Voice of Jharkhand #indigenous #tribalrights


EPW, Vol – XLVIII No. 23, June 08, 2013 | Moushumi Basu

Activist-journalist Dayamani Barla has won many awards, the latest being the Ellen L Lutz Indigenous Rights Award from Cultural Survival. The first journalist from the Munda tribe in Jharkhand Dayamani wields her pen and leads the struggles of fellow tribals equally powerfully against the machinations of the state and big business.

Moushumi Basu (basu.moushumi@gmail.com)is a freelance journalist based in Kolkata

The email status message of Dayamani Barla, the tribal activist from Jharkhand always reads, “Ladenge.. Jeetenge…” (We will fight… we will win). Fighting against the establishment’s unjust policies and protecting her fellow tribals from displacement has become second nature for Dayamani. Along with the struggles however, there have also been awards and accolades.

The awards she has won include the Counter Media Award for Rural Journalism, the National Foundation for India Fellowship, and the Chingari Award. The latest is the 2013 Ellen L Lutz Indigenous Rights Award from Cultural Survival, an international non-governmental organization (NGO) in recognition of her pioneering  grass root leadership for tribal rights. Cultural Survival works with indigenous peoples across the world to defend their lands, language and culture.  Barla was chosen from amongst 60 nominees from across the world.

Described as the “Iron Lady of Jharkhand” for her fearless opposition against the infringement of adivasi rights, she was presented the award, which includes a US $10,000 cash prize, at a ceremony at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York on 23 May. The event also coincides with the twelfth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). The award has been instituted in the memory of late Ellen L Lutz (1955-2010), a well-known human rights lawyer and former executive director of Cultural Survival.

“Cultural Survival is honored to present Dayamani Barla, an Indigenous human rights activist and journalist from the Munda tribe in the Indian state of Jharkhand, with the award,” said its Executive Director Suzanne Benally. Barla has been at the forefront of people’s movements against corporate and government-led land grabs and other injustices that threaten the survival, dignity, and livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples. “This award is presented in recognition of outstanding human rights work, dedicated leadership for Indigenous Peoples rights, and a deep life commitment to protecting, sustaining, and revitalising indigenous cultures, lands, and languages,” Benally added.

Protecting Every Inch of Land

Her crusade to protect the rights of fellow tribals began from the days of agitation against the Koel Karo  hydel power project in the 1990s, near Ranchi, in then undivided Bihar. The proposed dam threatened to submerge nearly 55,000 acres of agricultural land displacing about 2,50,000 indigenous people.  Further, 27,000 acres of forests would have met a watery grave alongwith the sarna sasan diri (religious sites) of the tribal communities. The agitation gave birth to a new slogan “We will not part with an inch of our land….” which continues to reverberate in the tribal areas of Jharkhand even today. The proposal of the dam had to be finally shelved by the state government, after nearly eight tribals lost their lives in police firing on 2 February, 2001.

Barla points out:

Koel and Karo are not just rivers for us – they represent our cultural identity forming the basis of our livelihoods. When eight adivasis were martyred on 2 February, we realised that the state whose foundation stone was laid on 15 November 2000 is not actually for us tribals, but simply for the exploitation and plunder of  the natural resources of our native state and jeopardisation of our existence….

She took the challenge headlong on behalf of her tribal community, leading several agitations in the state against land grabs. She dared to rise against the world steel giant Arcelor Mittal who had proposed  a 12 MT steel plant by taking away about 12,000 acres of land spread across nearly 40 villages in Khunti and Gumla districts of the state.  In 2006 she began mobilising the public against such attempts at forcible land acquisition under the banner of the Adivasi Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch (Forum for the Protection of Indigenous People).

“ Loha nahi anaj chahiye!” (“We want grains, not iron!”) was the rallying cry of indigenous communities protesting against this project.  “The government says that those getting displaced will be compensated and rehabilitated. But the question is – what will the government and the companies compensate for?” asks Barla. “Can they rehabilitate our pure air, forests, rivers, waterfalls, our language culture, Sarna-Sasan Diri, our identity and our history? No, that is absolutely impossible…for us adivasis land is just not land but the heritage of our ancestors who cleared the forests and made the land worth living and cultivating,” she adds. Finally, the steel baron had to give up his dreams of setting up a steel plant in the tribal state.

Tribal Model of Development

Barla however clarifies that the tribals are not against development but it should be sustainable and not at the cost of uprooting them. “We should also be a part of this development process by getting access to health, education, jobs etc. We want development of our identity and our history— social values, language and culture. We want the polluted rivers to be pollution free. We want wastelands to be turned green…. This is our model of development”, she says.

Recently, the state government was locked in a major anti-displacement struggle against adivasi farmers at Nagri. Barla who was at the forefront of the agitation was jailed from 16 October to 24 December, for taking part in demonstrations with the farmers of Jharkhand. The battle was over 227 acres of fertile land that has sustained the tribals in the region for generations. However, the  government had allotted it to the Indian Institute of Management, the Indian Institute of Information Technology and the National University of Study and Research in Law (NUSRL). Caught in this crossfire were about 128 affected families, who claim to be the lawful owners of the land. They contend that neither they nor their forefathers had agreed to sell their lands and had not accepted the amounts for the deal at that time.

Is This Freedom?

Coming from a family of bonded labourers who had lost their lands in the name of national development, Barla could well identify with their sufferings. Barla argued that the instituions be allotted alternative area for their campuses instead of their fertile paddy land. “If we demand a National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) card, they issue a property warrant. If we demand our land, water, forests, the Jharkhand government says we are a danger to the state. They book us in false cases, by calling us Maoists…. Is this the freedom that leaders like Birsa Munda fought for?” she asks.

Considered as the “Voice of Jharkhand” for her struggles and powerful pen, she is also the first journalist from the Munda tribe. “Barla has charted new waters as an Indigenous woman to ensure the voices and perspectives of Adivasi people are heard by the larger mainstream society,” says her nominator Terry Odendahl, executive director and CEO of Global Greengrants Fund. She funded her education by working as a domestic help. Even today, her source of livelihood is a road side tea and snacks stall “Jharkhand Hotel”, run by her husband Nelson.

For Barla, activism and journalism go hand in hand.  “When I visit different villages as a journalist I listen to their issues first. Then they ask for possible solutions to their concerns and in the process, I find myself getting involved in their struggles”, she confesses.

But to be involved with the struggles and stand with the people does not mean that she has to quit writing. “I am an activist as well as a journalist.” However, it has not been easy for her to make forays into mainstream journalism “It has always looked down upon us adivasis as uncivilised, naïve and foolish. It is a stereotype to say that adivasi are stupid. Now we are trying to prove that we are not… ” she says, smiling.

 

World listens to ‘Iron Lady of Jharkhand’ in the Big Apple


New York, May 25, 2013

Narayan Lakshman, The Hindu 

Jharkhand adivasi rights activist Dayamani Barla receives the Ellen L. Lutz Indigenous Rights Award from Suzanne Benally, executive director of Cultural Survival, an indigenous peoples’ rights organisation.Photo: Narayan Lakshman
Photo: Narayan Lakshman Jharkhand adivasi rights activist Dayamani Barla receives the Ellen L. Lutz Indigenous Rights Award from Suzanne Benally, executive director of Cultural Survival, an indigenous peoples’ rights organisation.Photo: Narayan Lakshman

Dayamani Barla was presented with the first ever Ellen L. Lutz Indigenous Rights Award by Cultural Survival, an indigenous peoples’ rights organisation

The Big Apple is renowned as the home of investment banks, glitzy fashion shows and other 21st-century tributes to prodigious wealth accumulation. But on Thursday it played host to a powerful symbol of Indian adivasis’ struggle against oppression, Jharkhand activist and journalist Dayamani Barla.

On a rainy and blustering evening in Manhattan, Ms. Barla, who has been described as the “Iron Lady of Jharkhand” for her fearless opposition to the infringement of adivasi rights was presented with the first ever Ellen L. Lutz Indigenous Rights Award by Cultural Survival, an indigenous peoples’ rights organisation.

After an eloquent address at the reception in her honour at New York’s National Museum of the American Indian, Ms. Barla told The Hindu that she doubted whether this international recognition would make a difference to the situation in Jharkhand, but added that those who opposed the adivasis’ struggle to preserve “jal, jungle, jameen” may now have pause to consider why the U.S. had thus honoured their cause.

The self-made scribe, who rose from humble beginnings to become the voice of the Munda tribe and other deprived communities, has reason to worry about the situation back home. In all Ms. Barla is said to have nine cases foisted on her by the government and people associated with the award indicated that she had faced obstacles in leaving Jharkhand for this event in the U.S.

On October 18 last year, she was jailed for two months for demanding job cards for the rural poor in Angada block under the NREGA scheme, a charge that stemmed from a 2006 case against her.

Although she got bail two days later, she was immediately re-arrested in relation to two other cases, where she was accused of disrupting law and order during a protest. Keeping up her journalistic mission, she wrote from her jail cell that the “looters of the state have become well-wishers in the eyes of the government.”

On that occasion Nagri residents and activists stepped up the demand for her release and prominent intellectuals, including Noam Chomsky, Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey, signed a petition “strongly condemning [her] unjust incarceration… and demand that the false cases against her be dropped and that she be released immediately.”

Terry Odendahl of Global Greengrants Fund, who nominated Ms. Barla for the award, reflected on the Jharkhand police’s attempts to silence her protests when she said, “Dayamani’s jailing was a reminder to civil rights activists across the nation of the unfriendly role the Jharkhand state is taking towards drivers of democratic change.”

Ms. Barla’s determination to keep the forces of India’s modern capitalist machine from eating into adivasi land clearly caught the eye of the award selection committee, which picked her out of a group of nearly 60 nominees.

Alongside her colleagues from the Adivasi Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, Ms. Barla in 2008, succeeded in preventing global steel and mining industry behemoth ArcelorMittal, from proceeding with the establishment of a $8.79 billion steel plant based on the proposed seizure of 12,000 acres of land and the displacement of 40 villages, not to mention the likely ecosystem and indigenous livelihoods damage.

In an article written at the time she was quoted saying, “We will not allow the ArcelorMittal Company to enter into the villages because one cannot be rehabilitated once displaced. The lands which we cultivate belong to our ancestors; therefore we will not leave it.”

Since 2010, she has also led numerous protests in Nagri village, nearly 16 km from Ranchi, against the Jharkhand government’s efforts to acquire over 200 acres of farmland to set up IIM, IIT and National Law School campuses.

On Thursday, a captivated audience of human rights lawyers, academics, and members of indigenous communities from across the world listened as Ms. Barla said that in the span of 12 years, the Jharkhand government had signed 104 MoUs with corporate, 98 per cent of which were mining interests with a strong demand for natural resources in the region.

“If the government gives land for mining to all companies, Jharkhand will lose its environment and the land will become infertile,” Ms. Barla explained, adding that in 10 years, the population of displaced people would increase four-fold, permanently destroying indigenous habitats and livelihoods.

 

All Eyes On Govt Vs Vedanta Case


| Jan 22, 2013 | Forbes

The government versus Vedanta case has the entire mining industry interested in the outcome, in the hope of getting more clarity on mining permissions
All Eyes On Govt Vs Vedanta Case
Image: Getty Images
Vedanta’s aluminium refinery at Lanjigarh in Orissa remains shut due to nonavailability of bauxite

The Supreme Court is hearing a petition filed by the Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) against the Ministry of Environment and Forests’ decision to withdraw the permission given to mine bauxite reserves on the Niyamgiri hill range. A joint venture between OMC and the local unit of the Anil Agarwal-owned Vedanta Resources, wants to develop the mines in Orissa and supply bauxite to the alumina refinery run by the London-based company. 
Though the Supreme Court had cleared the mining proposal in 2008, three years later the environment ministry withdrew its clearance. A committee set up by the then Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh alleged that provisions of the Forest Rights Act had been violated.

The apex court’s ruling will decide the fate of Agarwal’s aluminium project in Orissa that has till now coughed up losses of Rs 2,500 crore. The refinery is right now shut down for want of bauxite supply.

But the whole mining industry is interested in the outcome of the case. Some of the biggest companies, from SAIL to ArcelorMittal and Posco have applied for mines that fall in forest areas, and one of the most important aspects discussed by the Supreme Court is the scope of the Forest Rights Act. In a hearing on December 6, the court had asked the Central government to make its stand clear on whether a local gram sabha has the final right over mine reserves.

In a 2009 directive, the environment ministry had said that any project that intends to use forest land will need to first settle the rights, including taking consent of tribals and other traditional forest dwellers, through a gram sabha before the land is taken from them.

While companies like Vedanta claim to have held gram sabhas for land-owing tribals, bringing “other traditional forest dwellers” under the purview of the Forest Rights Act would “increase expenditure”, said a senior executive of a leading private Indian mining company.

Interestingly, there might be a re-think happening at the Centre. This prompted Tribal Affairs Minister Kishore Chandra Deo to warn in his letter in early December to Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, “This order is extremely significant… any dilution of the above mentioned circular of 2009 will have an adverse impact on the Vedanta case which is sub-judice,” a newspaper report quoted him.

The biggest concern though is whether this will further increase the uncertainty around mining project permissions. “A balance is needed as neither environment nor industrial development should suffer. Any clarification from the government should help reduce the confusion on what is and what is not allowed to be mined. Overall, government policies should be aimed at reducing the uncertainties for project proponents who put risk capital on large infrastructure projects,” says Gurpreet Singh Chugh, director, Natural Resources, Crisil Infrastructure Advisory.

Read more: http://forbesindia.com/article/special/all-eyes-on-govt-vs-vedanta-case/34539/1#ixzz2Ii3WE9rq

#Jharkhand Activist Dayamani Barla gets bail #goodnews


ANUMEHA YADAV, The hIndu, Dec 22,2012

She has been in jail for over two months for leading protests related to land acquisition

The Jharkhand High Court on Friday granted bail to activist Dayamani Barla, who has been in jail for over two months for leading protests related to land acquisition and functioning of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

Ms. Barla, who was brought to the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) here, is expected to be released from Birsa jail on Saturday afternoon.

“This is of significance to our movement to save our land and water resources. This is a victory for the people of Jharkhand. Our struggle will go on,” said the award-winning activist and journalist at the court.

The court sent a property warrant against Ms. Barla on September 23 in a 2006 case against her for leading a protest march demanding that the people of the Angada block in Ranchi district be given MGNREGS job cards or given unemployment allowance. At this time, she led a successful protest against the setting up of a steel plant by ArcelorMittal at Gumla and Khunti, citing the Chotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act that prohibits sale of tribal land to non-tribals.

She surrendered and got bail in this case, but two days later, on October 19, she was arrested in a case of leading a protest of tribal farmers against the government move to acquire 227 acres of agricultural land in Nagri village, 15 km from Ranchi, for campuses of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indian Institute of Information Technology and the National University of Study & Research in Law (NUSRL).

An FIR was registered against her on August 15 in the course of protests in Nagri for “leading a group of over 100-150 farmers, who entered the plot where the NUSRL and the IIM had constructed boundary walls and cultivated the land.”

On November 5, while in jail, Ms. Barla became an accused in another case. This was for participating in a demonstration organised by Jharkhand Dishom Party (JDM) leader Salkhan Murmu on October 4, in which JDM workers were accused of burning an effigy of the High Court.

Ms. Barla got bail in this case, but both the CJM court and the district court rejected her bail application in the Nagri case.

The agitation in Nagri continued while Ms. Barla was in jail. On December 15, over 100 Oraon adivasi farmers organised a protest in front of Raj Bhavan here for Ms. Barla’s release and against violation of the CNT Act.

 

15DEC-March to Ranchi against Displacement,land grabbing and arrest of Dayamani barla


Aadiwasi Moolwasi Astitva Raksha Manch has called for a massive march to Ranchi against Displacement, Illegal Looting of Resources, Land grab in Nagdi Village and Arrest of Dayamani Barla.
All are requested to join hand and participate in heavy numbers and make this march a success.

Date: 15th Dec. 2012
Time and Venue: 12pm on wards
march to Rajbhawan

Organizer:
Aadiwasi Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch
Block Committees: Karra, Torpa, Raniya, Kamdara

15 दिसम्बर को रांची चलें! झारखंड हमारा है………..! कंपनियों की जागीर नहीं………!!
इतिहास गवाह है- सांप-बिच्छू, सिंह-भालू से लड़ कर हमारे पूर्वजों ने इस धरती को आबाद किया है। अपने लहू से इस राज्य को सींचा है। हमारा परम कर्तव्य है- इस इतिहास को आगे बढ़ाना, विकसित और संरक्षित करना। हमारी लड़ाई न सिर्फ जंगल-जमीन बचाने की लड़ाई है, बल्कि झारखण्ड की सामाजिक, सांस्कृतिक, आर्थिक, पर्यावरण के साथ गौरवशाली इतिहास, पहचान और अस्तित्व को बचाने का संघर्ष भी है। आदिवासी मूलवासी अस्तित्व रक्षा मंच इस विरासत की हिफाजत के लिए दृढ़ संकल्प है। राज्य बनने के बाद सरकार ने 104 देशी-विदेशी कंपनियों के साथ एम. ओ. यू. किया। इसमें मित्तल कंपनी और इस्पात इंडस्ट्री को 2006 में तत्कालीन सरकार रांची जिला के कर्रा प्रखण्ड के गांवों को हटाकर 12 मिलियन टन का स्टील करखाना बैठाने का इजाजत दिया। उस वक्त जल-जंगल-जमीन की रक्षा के लिए ’’अपने पूर्वजों की एक इंच जमीन नहीं देने’’ का नारा जमीन बचाओ संगठन के बैनर तले से बुलंद हुआ। कर्रा प्रखण्ड के गांवों से उठा आवाज, वर्तमान खूँटी जिला के तोरपा और रनिया प्रखंड सहित गुमला जिला के कमडरा प्रखंड के खेत-खलिहानों में गूंजने लगा। जमीन बचाओ संगठन से लेकर आदिवासी-मूलवासी अस्तित्व रक्षा मंच के सफर का अपना इतिहास है। मंच ने लोकतांत्रिक-अहिंसात्मक जनशक्ति को संघ्र्ष का हथियार बनाया और इसी के साथ आगे बढ़ने की कोशिश की। परिणाम भी सामने है- हम लोगों ने इस इलाके को उजड़ने से बचा लिया।
आदिवासी मूलवासी अस्तित्व रक्षा मंच संघर्ष के मैदान में हर परिस्थितियों और कठिनाईयों से जूझते हुए अपने जिम्मेवारियों के साथ आगे बढ़ता रहा और सबके दिलों में जगह बनाया। दस्तावेज बताते है कि इस इलाके में मित्तल कंपनी और इस्पात इंडस्ट्री, गोंविदपुर क्षेत्र में 8000 एकड़ जमीन में स्टील प्लांट लगाने की योजना बनायी थी। इन उद्योगपतियों के लिए पानी की व्यवस्था के लिए कारो नदी में रेहड़गड़ा के पास डैम बनाने की योजना थी। इन उद्योगों को पानी की कमी न हो, इसके लिए छाता नदी में भी डैम बनाने की योजना थी। इन परियोजनाओं से गांव के गांव उजड़ते। अतः इसे रोकने के लिए मंच को एक-एक व्यक्ति का प्यार और सहयोग मिला। यही कारण है कि आज भी वहाँ लहलहाती हरियाली उसी रूप में है, जैसा की हमारे पूर्वजों ने हमें सौंपा था।

आप लोगों को याद होगा कि कैसे कंपनी और सरकार के दलालों ने ’’साम-दाम-दण्ड-भेद’’ की नीति अपना कर हमारे संघर्ष को दबाना चाहते थे। दिन-रात मौत की धमकियां दी जाती थी- ’’गांव-गांव में बैठक करना छोड़ दो, नही तो इतनी गोलियां मारेगें की शव का शिनाख्त भी नहीं हो पाएगा।’’ इसके बावजूद हम लोगों का कदम नहीं रुका। वे फिर धमकाते थे-’’कंपनी के खिलाफ गांव वालों को भड़काना नहीं छोड़ोगे तो लोगों के बीच से बैठक से ही उठा लेगें।’’ साथियों! हर धमकी और चुनौती हमारे मनोबल को अपनी धरती और राज्य के जिम्मेवारियों के प्रति और मजबूती देता गया। हर संकट में हमने अपने को और मजबूत करना सीखा, और यही ताकत हमें जीत के मंजिल तक पहुँचाया है। यही हमारी पूँजी है, इस पूँजी को और बढ़ाने की जरूरत है।
हम लोगों ने भाषा-संस्कृति और इतिहास को विकसीत करने के लिए प्रकृति-पर्व करम और सरहुल सामूहिक रूप से मनाते आ रहे है। बिरसा मुंडा की जयंती हर साल 15 नवबंर को मनाते आ रहे हैं। झारखण्ड के शहीदों- सिदो-कान्हू के हूल तथा बिरसा मुंडा के उलगुलान एवं विस्थापन के खिलाफ, संगठन के संघर्ष को याद करते हुए 29-30 जून को हर साल संकल्प सह शहादत दिवस मनाते आ रहे है।

हम लोगों ने संकल्प लिया है-
(1) हम अपने पूर्वजों की एक इंच भी जमीन नहीं देगें।
(2) राज्य में व्याप्त भ्रष्टाचार के खिलाफ मंच निरंतर संघर्ष करेगा।
(3) हम अपनी भाषा, संस्कृति और इतिहास की रक्षा हर हाल में करेंगे।
(4) कृषि विकास के लिए कोयल नदी, कारो नदी और छाता नदी के पानी को किसानों के खेतों में लिफ्ट इरिगेशन और पाईप लाईन द्वारा पहुँचाने के लिए सरकार से मांग करेंगे।
(5) जंगल और पर्यावरण की रक्षा के लिए हम प्रतिबद्ध हैं।
(6) शिक्षा व्यवस्था को ठीक करने के लिए हम लोग प्रयास करेगें।

साथियों! विभिन्न परिस्थितियों ने हमें एक दूसरे से अलग करने का प्रयास किया। लेकिन हमारी एकता और एकजुटता को किसी ने तोड़ नहीं सका। यही हमारी ताकत है। इस ताकत को बनाये रखने की जरूरत है। अलग राज्य तो मिला लेकिन आदिवासी एवं मूलवासियों के जंगल-जमीन-नदी-पहाड़ की रक्षा की चिंता किसी को नहीं है। इसलिए राज्य को हम लोगों को ही नया दिशा देना होगा। इसी संकल्प के साथ हमारा संघर्ष जारी रहेगा। कोयल नदी, छाता नदी और कारो नदी का बहता पानी हमारे संघर्ष का इतिहास बयान करता है। इसे हमेशा बहने दो।
आज जरुरत है हमें अपनी एकता व एकजुटता के साथ राज्य की दमनकारी नीति एवं कारपोरेट लूट के खिलाफ 15 दिसंबर को राँची में आयोजित विशाल प्रदर्शन में शामिल हों…!

निवेदक : आदिवासी मूलवासी अस्तित्व रक्षा मंच प्रखण्ड समितियाँ : कर्रा , तोरपा , रनिया , कमडरा

 

#India- #Jharkhand Dayamani Barla faces government’s wrath over agitation against land grab


Edited by Sabyasachi Dasgupta | Updated: December 11, 2012

 Jharkhand activist Dayamani Barla faces government's wrath over agitation against land grab
RanchiIn Jharkhand, activist and journalist Dayamani Barla has spent the last month and half in prison. Activists in the state allege she is facing government persecution for leading an agitation of villagers near the state’s capital Ranchi. The government says her arrest has nothing to do with any particular agitation and is in line with the law, and related to her participation in earlier agitations across the state where police cases were registered against Ms Barla.

48-year-old Dayamani Barla rose to prominence in the 1990s when she led the ‘Koel Karo’ agitation, protesting against a dam that threatened to submerge 66,000 acres and displace 135,000 tribal families. The plans for the dam had to be finally shelved. Ms Barla also led agitations against all major steel giants in Jharkhand, including ArcelorMittal.

This time though, her agitation against the government seems to have proved costly for this tribal activist.

Since 2010, Ms Barla has led the agitation at Nagri, a village 25 kilometres from Ranchi, where the Jharkhand government is trying to acquire 202 acres of fertile land for building a law university, an Indian Institute of Management and another institute. Ms Barla’s troubles mounted since she began the agitation at Nagri.

On October 16 this year, Ms Barla had to surrender before a Ranchi court in a four-year-old case related to a road block she had led in Ranchi. Ms Barla surrendered after the court ordered her property attached in the case. Activists allege that before the launch of Nagri agitation there was no movement in the case for four years.

In August, Ms Barla got bail in the case within two days, but never came out of prison, as she was rearrested by the Jharkhand Police for allegedly ploughing land at the Nagri village despite government restrictions. Since then, her bail application has been rejected three times by lower courts in Ranchi.

Sushanto Mukherjee, a state member of the Marxist Coordination Committee, the organisations leading the agitation at Nagri, says, “Dayamani Barla is being 100 percent persecuted. The government feels if they keep her in jail, they will manage to grab the lands in Nagri. But we will not let that happen.’

At ground zero of the agitation, people like Kadir Kujur are defiant. He owns a few acres of land at Nagri which he says is extremely fertile and suitable for multiple crops, dismissing the government’s claims of the low fertility of this land. He says Barla’s arrest is a pressure tactic by the Jharkhand government. “Why should the government persecute activists? They are only showing us the way forward in this struggle. I don’t feed Dayamani Barla in return for her contributions to our cause,” said Kujur.

But at the Jharkhand Police Headquarters, Director General of Police GS Rath says all allegations by activists about Dayamani Barla’s arrest are blatant lies. According to Mr Rath Dayamani Barla “is a political activist and the law of the land is the same for everybody. If someone violates the law can you blame the police for acting against them.”

Activists have now approached the Jharkhand High Court in an effort to get bail for Ms Barla, and have also threatened to move the Supreme Court if necessary. But the immediate future looks bleak for Dayamani Barla, as she counts her days in jail with little hope of coming out anytime soon.

Activist Dayamani Barla has spent 45 days in jail now with three of her bail pleas rejected. She is perhaps paying the price for agitating against the Jharkhand government. Human rights activist Binayak Sen speaks to NDTV on the arrest.

http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/india-decides-9/binayak-sen-on-dayamani-barla-s-arrest/257938?v_also_see

Dayamni barla appears at teh court on 12-12-12

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=393580630725146&set=a.393575577392318.91813.373449066071636&type=1&theater

 

 

French minister wants Mittal out of France


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 01:06

FRANCE-ARCELOR-LAKSHMI-MITTAL:French minister wants Mittal out of France

By Nicholas Vinocur and Yann Le Guernigou, moneycontrol.com
PARIS (Reuters) – Steelmaker Mittal, which acquired France’s Arcelor in 2006, is no longer wanted in France due to years of broken promises, Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg said on Monday, intensifying a row over plans to close two furnaces in northeastern France.

Montebourg’s attack on ArcelorMittal, which he later qualified, risks exacerbating tensions in a dispute that is central to Socialist President Francois Hollande‘s efforts to save jobs and reverse years of industrial decline.

It came after Montebourg, one of the most left-wing ministers in the government, said last week France could nationalise the company’s Florange site on a temporary basis while the government tries to find a buyer.

ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, has said it will shut down two blast furnaces at Florange from December 1 unless the government can find a buyer to operate them.

“We no longer want Mittal in France because they haven’t respected France,” Montebourg said in an interview with Les Echos business daily published on Monday.

He said Chief Executive Lakshmi Mittal had told “shameful lies” since 2006 about the group’s plans and had not kept his promises to the French government.

“The problem with the blast furnaces at Florange is not the blast furnaces at Florange, it’s Mittal,” he said.

A source close to Indian-born Lakshmi Mittal, who according to French media is due to meet with Hollande on Tuesday, told Reuters that management were “very shocked” at Montebourg’s words.

“These are quite violent declarations against a company which employs 20,000 people in France,” the source said.

BACK-PEDALLING

Qualifying his statement later on Twitter, Montebourg said in a message that while ArcelorMittal’s methods were questionable, the group would continue to operate in France, where it has more than 100 industrial sites.

Montebourg’s back-pedalling was part of a pattern for the outspoken minister, who previously embarrassed the government by saying it would not allow Peugeot PSA <peup.pa>to close a plant near Paris, only to retract the pledge.

Libya‘s sovereign investment fund, which Montebourg said in November was interested in acquiring a Petroplus refinery in northern France, denied on Monday having expressed interest in the refinery, according to Libya’s Lana news agency.

The fate of Florange, situated in the former heart of French steel making country, became a symbol of France’s flagging industry during campaigning for the May election and is now a test of Hollande’s promise to reverse the decline.

Failure to save jobs at Florange would add to a list of industrial shutdowns, including Peugeot PSA’s production site, and risks deepening fears in the public that the government is powerless to save jobs.

Unemployment is at a 13-year high of over 10 percent and October jobless claims due on Tuesday are expected to show another increase.

A spokeswoman for Montebourg was not immediately available to comment. ArcelorMittal, which employs some 20,000 people across France, declined to comment.

Last week, Montebourg said the government had received two offers from buyers interested in acquiring more than just the two blast furnaces, but gave no further details.

ArcelorMittal has denied having received any such offers.

A source close to the company said plans to shut down blast furnaces including those at Florange pre-dated the merger between Arcelor and Mittal, which had never promised to keep the site operating when it signed the deal in 2006.

 

(Editing by Catherine Bremer and Sophie Hares)

 

Dayamani Barla’s bail petition rejected #Jharkhand


 

Press Trust of India / Ranchi November 24, 2012, 20:45

A local court today rejected the bail petition of social activist Dayamani Barla, who had surrendered before the court on October 16 in connection with a 2006 case.

The court of Additional Judicial Commissioner, which earlier reserved the order on Barla’s bail petition, rejected it on the ground that she had obstructed government work.

Barla had on October 16 gave herself up before the Ranchi court and was sent to judicial custody in connection with an agitation she had led in 2006.

Two days later, she secured bail from the court, but was re-arrested on a second warrant following an FIR charging her with obstruction of government work at Nagri when she joined the villagers in their protest in July against land acquisition by the government for setting up educational hub at Nagri, about 20 kms from here.

Along with five others, Barla is also facing contempt notice served by the Jharkhand High Court on November 8 for their role in the burning effigy of the high court building on October 4.

Barla came to lime light when she led agitations in Gumla and Khunti districts against land acquisition by the ArcelorMittal for its steel project, which the company signed with the Jharkhand government in 2005.

Displaced villagers lock Tata Kalinganagar Nagar plant gates


FRIDAY, 02 NOVEMBER 2012 18:56PNS | JAJPUR

At least 1,200 displaced villagers on Thursday forcibly locked all the three gates, including the main gate, of the Tata Steel plant at Kalinga Nagar in protest against the slipshod attitudes of the officials of the company in providing jobs and other facilities to them.

They demanded that the company implement the Odisha Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) Policy, 2006 in letter and spirit and also consider youth above 18 years of age as separate families.

“As per Section-2 of the R&R Policy, an 18-year-old male member is entitled to getting separate family status. A major son irrespective of his marital status, an unmarried daughter or sister of more than 30 years of age, a physically and mentally-challenged person irrespective of age and sex, a mentally challenged person suffering from more than 40 per cent permanent disability, a minor orphan who has lost both his or her parents and a widow or a woman divorcee are considered as separate families as per the policy. But the Tata company is yet to consider 18-year-old youth as separate families; as a result many youth are not getting jobs and other benefits,” said Ramachandra Badara, a displaced tribal.

When contacted, Senior Manager of Corporate Communication of the company JK Padhi said, “984 families were displaced in 2005 for the steel plant. We provide all types of helps to them. January 1, 2005 was the cutoff date to consider any displaced person as a family by the company. After 2005, the company cannot consider any person above 18 years of age as a separate family.”

Tatas claim that they have ‘purchased’ all the Adivasis of Kalinganagar. But listen to this news. For a history of the Kalinganagar struggle please see this

 

#India- Activists step up demand for #Dayamani Barla’s release


 

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

RANCHI, October 27, 2012, The Hindu

Activists and supporters of Dayamani Barla, award-winning adivasi activist and journalist who was given bail but arrested soon after in a second case on October 19 in Ranchi, have prepared to intensify their demand for her release.

They will move court for her bail on November 29. The Adivasi Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manchi (AMARM) has announced a protest in front of Raj Bhawan the same day.

“The government’s intention is clear. They want to intimidate Dayamani and break the movement of the Nagri villagers who are demanding the government build elite college campuses on non-agricultural land, instead of displacing them” said Father Stan Swamy, a Ranchi-based social activist.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Ranchi first sent a property warrant against Ms. Barla on September 23 this year in a 2006 case registered against her for leading a protest march demanding that villagers be given MNREGA job cards or given unemployment allowance in villages in Angada block in Ranchi district. At this time, Ms. Barla had led a successful protest against setting up of Arcelor Mittal’s steel plant over 11,000 acres of land in Gumla and Khunti citing Chotanagpur Tenancy Act which prohibits sale of tribal land to non-tribals.

“Two days after Dayamani surrendered before the Magistrate’s court in the 2006 case which the government raked up after six years, she was given bail only on the condition that a blood relation will have to be present. This is not often done and shows the government is trying to make things difficult for Dayamani,” said Faisal Anurag, a Ranchi-based independent journalist. “When we went to the jail to receive her, the jail superintendent said a second warrant has been issued against her in an August 15 case for obstructing government work citing the incident when she led Nagri villagers to plough land on which government had built boundary walls,” he said.

Since 2010, Ms. Barla has led a movement against Jharkhand government acquiring 227 acres of paddy farmers’ land in Nagri village, 15 kms from Ranchi, for the campuses of Indian Institute of Management, Indian Institute of Information Technology and the National University of Study & Research in Law (NUSRL). The government claims it acquired the land from them in 1957-58 to build an extension to Birsa Agricultural University. However, Right to Information (RTI) applications filed by Ms. Barla revealed that of the 153 families to whom the government had offered a total compensation in 1957, only 25 families in Nagri took it and the rest had refused.

Speaking to The Hindu on October 1, Ms. Barla has challenged the Jharkhand government’s acquisition of this land using clause 17 (4) of the Land Acquisition Act, which is for situations of urgency such as building a railway line or an airport.

Mr Anurag said Ms. Barla was a diabetes patient and had made requests to be provided meals accordingly but the jail authorities had not cooperated.