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.

 

#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.

 

#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

 

 

Jharkhand government digging up old cases against activists to silence them


Muzzled in Jharkhand

Unable to deal with rising protests against land acquisition, the Jharkhand government is digging up old cases against activists to silence them. Soumik Mukherjee reports

Gagged Xavier Dias was earlier honoured by the Jharkhand government for fighting for tribal rights

IN YET another case of witch-hunt against grassroots activists, the Jharkhand government on 24 November arrested anti-mining activist Xavier Dias and five of his colleagues. The State was acting on the basis of a 21-year-old case for their alleged role in leading a protest against Tata’s iron ore mine in Noamundi, in the West Singbhum district. This is the latest in a spate of arrests, which started with Dayamani Barla’s detention amid a crackdown on the land rights movement in Nagri village near Ranchi.

Though Dias and his colleagues were granted bail on 26 November, the arrest raises questions about the intentions of the current BJP-led government in the state. Jharkhand was formed in 2000, after a long movement for separation from Bihar, as a new state meant for the tribal-dominated population of the region.

Dias was a part of the movement for a separate Jharkhand when the Bihar Police filed the case against him in 1991. Ironically, when the state was formed, he was honoured by the state government for his role in the ‘freedom movement’, and assured that he and his colleagues would be acquitted of all the charges against them. “This is a State ploy. They never close the old cases and use them whenever they want to,” says Dias.

The arrest follows a long period of police harassment and intimidation. “The persons arrested with Dias are all mining labourers. They couldn’t stand the police harassment and surrendered before the court along with Dias,” says Gopinath Ghosh, Dias’ colleague.

Dias has dealt serious blows to the pro-mining policies in Jharkhand, infamous for its mining scams, and has vehemently opposed land acquisition for mining projects.

The current scenario of growing people’s movements in the state explains why the BJP-led government is raking up old cases against these activists. Dias’s arrest came when he was preparing for a protest against the expansion of a mine owned by Tata in Noamundi.

The villagers of Noamundi have written a letter to the Central Pollution Control Board alleging that the expansion doesn’t follow the norms set by the agency. “Even the public hearing for land acquisition was a fraud. It was held inside the Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO) facility, heavily guarded by the police. The villagers had no say in the entire process,” says a protestor on condition of anonymity.

Dias believes that efforts to silence dissenting voices will only increase in the future

Dias believes that these efforts to silence dissenting voices will only increase in the future. “People’s movements and dissent among the masses against land grabbing and other anti-Adivasi activities have reached their zenith in this state. The government fears a retaliation from the people, so they’ll keep detaining those who lead such movements,” says Dias.

Earlier last month, Barla, who was leading a protest against land acquisition in Nagri, was detained in connection with a six-year-old case. Since her arrest on 16 October, her bail plea has been rejected thrice by the Ranchi High Court. “Barla is a person who can mobilise the people and the state fears such people. Look at what happened to Sunilam in Madhya Pradesh,” says Dias.

The arrest of Barla and Dias are indications that a state meant for tribals has strayed far away from the original vision with which it was formed. Not only are leaders being detained, criminal cases are also being slapped on minors in Nagri for ‘destroying peace’. All this seems to suggest that it will take a long time for the ‘freedom fighters’ of Jharkhand to achieve what they fought for.

Soumik Mukherjee is a Correspondent with Tehelka.
soumik@tehelka.com

 

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.

Indian and International Organisations Condemn The Unjust Arrest of Activist Dayamani Barla


We, the undersigned organisations, strongly condemn the unjust incarceration of journalist and human rights activist Dayamani Barla, and demand that the false cases against her be dropped and that she be released immediately. Barla was granted bail by a local court in Ranchi on October 18th, in a case related to a protest held on 25th April, 2006, demanding job cards for rural laborers under the Rural Employment Guarantee Act. However, on the day that she was supposed to be released, jail authorities announced that she had been re-arrested on a second warrant, for “obstructing government work” [1]. We learnt that on October 29th, Barla was denied bail and remains imprisoned.

We believe the reason for this incarceration is to intimidate Dayamani Barla, who is one of the leaders of the peaceful and resolute struggle of villagers against the acquisition of fertile land at Nagri, a village situated at few kilometers from the state capital, where the government wants to build IIM, IIT and National Law School campuses. As per some estimates, at least 500 tribal families will be displaced and their livelihoods will be destroyed if the land is acquired for said institutions [2], In January, the state bulldozed farms just when the winter crops, mostly potatoes and pulses, were to be harvested. Following that, the police filed FIRs against 12 villagers [3]. We find the Government of Jharkhand‘s indifferent and unjust response to this peaceful struggle appalling- some of the protesters have even expressed support for the institutions to be built, just not at the cost of the main source of villagers’ livelihood [4].

Dayamani Barla is one of the leading anti-displacement activists fighting illegal land-grab by by corporations and the government alike in various parts of Jharkhand and other parts of India.  Known as the “Iron Lady of Jharkhand,” she is one of the national conveners of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), along with Medha Patkar and others and an Executive Committee Member of the India Social Action Forum (INSAF). She is also one of the leading voices of the Adivasi community.

[1]www.thehindu.com/news/states/other-states/activists-step-up-demand-for-dayamani-barlas-release/article4038183.ece
[2] www.countercurrents.org/alam191012.htm
[3] www.tehelka.com/story_main52.asp?filename=Ne020612Nargi.asp
[4] http://intercontinentalcry.org/nagri-peoples-fight-for-identity-and-existence/

Sincerely,

Association for India’s Development
Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha (Mazdoor Karyakarta Committee)

Fabricated.in
India Friends Association
Indian Social Action Forum
International Alliance for the Defense of Human Rights in India
Manthan Samayiki
Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan

Mining Zone People Solidarity Group

Moving Republic, Bangalore
Our Developing World
People’s Solidarity Concerns, Bangalore
PUCL, Chhattisgarh
ViBGYOR Film Collective, Thrissur

 

 

#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.

 

#Poem- Now its dangerous to be #Dayamani Barla #Jharkhand #Tribal #Indigenous


 

Below is the poem by By Himanshu Kumar, On Dayamani Barla, The iron Lady of Jharkhand who  is behind bars now and has  been fighting for the land rights of the tribal people, and is now behind bars.Dayamani Barla is an indigenous tribal journalist and activist from the Indian state of Jharkhand. She came from very humble backgrounds and worked as a maid to pay her way through the University. She became notable for her activism in opposing Arcelor Mittal‘s steel plant that tribal activist say would displace forty (40) villages. She has won a number of prestigious awards for journalism.

Born in Arhara village in Jharkhand, Dayamani Barla, 44, could have been one of the faceless thousands displaced by India’s largest steel plant.Today, she leads the mass movement against it. She could have been another Adivasi with a crumbling house and a buried story. Instead, she chose to become a storyteller, the voice of Jharkhand, the first tribal journalist from her state. Barla paid for her education by working as a domestic help in Ranchi. She washed dishes for the police, ate leftovers, stayed in a shed with buffaloes and coolies, learnt to type in English and Hindi, and worked as a typist for one rupee an hour. With a rural reporting fellowship and a bank loan of 25,000, she founded the Jan Hak Patrika. “I wanted to present the point of view of Adivasis, Dalits and women,” she says.

The money lasted two years. By then, she had convinced established local media like Prabhat Khabar to give space to Adivasi and Dalit issues. Barla is also at forefront of the Adivasi Mulvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, a people’s movement that unites thousands of Adivasis, Dalits and farmers across Jharkhand. In the past decade, she has trekked from village to village, alerting those who stand to be displaced by a steel plant, protesting against dams on the Koel and Kari rivers, against delimitation that would reduce the number of seats for scheduled tribes, against corrupt MGNREGA middlemen. Death threats from shadowy unknown figures have not deterred her.

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.

 

 

There is anEenglish translation below, and you can also here the recitation at cgnetswara here

http://www.cgnetswara.org/index.php?id=14427

अब बड़ा खतरा है दायमनी बरला होने में

अब आदिवासी होने में खतरा है

अब गाँव में रहने में खतरा है

गाँव में ज़मीन है

गाँव में पेड है

गाँव में नदी है

गाँव में खनिज है

गाँव में लोग हैं

गाँव में दायमनी बरला भी है

गाँव की ज़मीन पर कम्पनी की नजर है

गाँव की नदी पर कम्पनी की नजर है

गाँव के पेड़ों पर कम्पनी की नज़र है

गाँव के खनिज पर कम्पनी की नज़र है

लेकिन गाँव में दायमनी बरला रहती है

सरकार कम्पनी से डरती है

पुलिस कम्पनी से डरती है

अखबार कम्पनी से डरते हैं

दयामनी बरला कम्पनी से नहीं डरती

कम्पनी का राज है

कम्पनी नाराज़ है

इसलिये कम्पनी बहादुर के हुक्म से

पुलिस बहादुर ने दयामनी बरला को

पकड़ कर जेल की सलाखों के पीछे डाल दिया है

आओ शुक्र मनाएं

दायमनी बरला अब जेल में है

अब दायमनी बरला कम्पनी बहादुर को रोक नहीं सकेगी

अब कम्पनी बहादुर दायमनी बरला के गाँव की  नदी को छीन लेंगे

अब कम्पनी बहादुर दायमनी बरला के गाँव की ज़मीन को छीन लेंगे

अब कम्पनी बहादुर दायमनी बरला के गाँव के खनिज को छीन लेंगे

अब कम्पनी बहादुर देश का विकास कर देंगे

अब कम्पनी बहादुर सब ठीक कर देंगे

पता नहीं आखिर हमें इस देश की सारी दायमनी बरलाओं से कब मुक्ति मिलेगी ?

कब हमारी सारी नदियाँ

सारे पहाड़

सारी ज़मीनों

और सारे जंगलों पर

कम्पनी का कब्ज़ा होगा

कम्पनी के कारखाने

कम्पनी की नौकरी

कम्पनी की कारें

कम्पनी के शापिंग माल

कम्पनी की सड़कें

कम्पनी के टोल बूथ

कम्पनी के कालेज

कम्पनी के आई आई एम्

कम्पनी के आई आई टी

कम्पनी की यूनिवर्सिटी

जिसमे पढ़ने वाले बनेगे

कम्पनी के गुलाम

कम्पनी के मतलब की शिक्षा

कम्पनी के मतलब का ज्ञान

कम्पनी के फायदे के लिये विज्ञान

कम्पनी की मर्जी की सरकार

कम्पनी के हुकुमबरदार कोतवाल

अब तुम ही बताओ

हमको दयामनी बरला से क्या काम ?

Translation by Priyanka

It is a grave danger now to be Dayamani Barla
It is a danger to be an adivasi
It is a danger now to reside in the village

There is land in the village
There are trees in the village
There are rivers in the village
There are minerals in the village
There are people in the village
There is also Dayamani Barla in the village

The company is eying the land of the village
The company is eying the rivers of the village
The company is eying the trees of the village
The company is eying the minerals of the village
But Dayamani Barla resides in the village

The government fears the company
The police fears the company
The newspaper fears the company
Dayamani Barla does not fear the company

It is the rule of the company
So the company is angry
That’s how with the order of the company chief
The police chief put Dayamani Barla
Behind the bars of prison

Come, let’s celebrate
Dayamani Barla is now in jail
Now Dayamani Barla won’t be able to stop the company chief
Now the company chief will snatch the river of her village
Now the company chief will snatch the land of her village
Now the company chief will snatch the minerals of her village
Now the company chief will develop the country
Now the company chef will make everything alright

When will be relieved of all the Dayamani Barlas of this country?
When will all our rivers
All our trees
All the land
And all the forests
Be taken over by the company

Company’s factories
Company’s jobs
Company’s cars
Company’s shopping malls
Company roads
Company’s toll booths
Company’s college
Company’s premium technology institutes
Company’s premium management institutes
Company’s university
In which those who study will become
Slaves of the company

Education as needed by the company
Knowledge as needed by the company
Knowledge to profit the company
Government to suit the will of the company
Cops to shout “Sir yes sir” to the company

So now, you tell me
Why do we need Dayamani Barla..?

#India# Jharkhand # Tribalrights – Dayamani Barla:Gagged Again!


Gagged again!

Minutes after getting bail, tribal activist Dayamani Barla returns to life behind bars. Soumik Mukherjee reports

DAYAMANI BARLA, who was arrested earlier last week (State Ploy to Silence a Dissenting Voice?, 27 October), was rearrested in connection with the same case by the Jharkhand Police minutes after she was granted a judicial bail by a local court on 19 October. Barla’s arrest proves how a dissenting voice is shown little regard by the system, and how a state meant for tribals is safeguarding the interests of all, but tribals.

The police was acting on a separate FIR filed against Barla in 2006 in connection with the case that saw her arrest last week. Both the FIRs were filed after she led a protest outside a Block Development Officer’s office in Ranchi, demanding fair distribution of MGNREGS job cards. Interestingly, while the first FIR mentioned her name, the second FIR, on the basis of which she was rearrested, does not mention it; she was included under the ‘Others’ list.

In January, police questioned Barla for alleged Maoist links after she attended a conference in Ranchi where Binayak Sen and Telugu poet Varavara Rao had demanded the release of political activist Jiten Marandi. Barla’s colleagues term the latest arrest as “a shameless act” by the state authorities. Ranchi SSP Saket Kumar Singh refused to comment on the matter, saying: “Write whatever you want to. What difference will it make anyway?”

Barla has been at the forefront of land rights agitation in Jharkhand and one of the principal voices against State-sponsored atrocities against tribals. It is largely thanks to her efforts that steel companies such as Arcelor-Mittal were forced to stop acquiring large swathes of tribal forestland in Jharkhand.

Since land in Jharkhand is protected under the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908 and as most areas in the state come under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, farmland cannot be used for industrial purposes. But the government has been giving out farmland for industrial and urbanisation projects. Barla has ceaselessly stood up against these projects, constantly drawing the government’s ire.

At TEHELKA’s THiNK fest last year, Barla had drawn attention to the plight of the farmers and tribals in Jharkhand. Ironic that within a year of her rousing speech that was greeted with a standing ovation, this crusader finds herself all alone in her fight against the State’s excesses.

Soumik Mukherjee is a Correspondent with Tehelka.
soumik@tehelka.com