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.

 

Dayamani Barla Selected For Cultural Survival’s Ellen L. Lutz Indigenous Rights Award #tribalrights #womenrights


 

By Cultural Survival

29 April, 2013
Countercurrents.org

(April 29, 2013). Grassroots Indigenous rights heroes too often go unrecognized. Yet their efforts to promote the rights of their peoples and protect their traditions, languages, and resources are critical to cultural survival. On April 23, 2013 in recognition of her work with Adavasi (Indigenous) communities in India, Dayamani Barla was chosen by Cultural Survival, an Indigenous Peoples rights organization, as the winner of the 2013 Ellen L. Lutz Indigenous Rights Award.

“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 2013 Ellen L. Lutz (ELL) Indigenous Rights Award,” says Cultural Survival Executive Director Suzanne Benally. Barla has been on 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 prize is presented in recognition of outstanding human rights work, dedicated leadership for Indigenous Peoples rights, and a deep life commitment to protecting, sustaining, and revitalizing Indigenous cultures, lands, and languages,” says Benally. Barla was chosen from close to 60 nominees by a distinguished panel of Indigenous leaders.

The prize honors the memory of the late Ellen L. Lutz (1955-2010), who was a renowned human rights lawyer and former executive director of Cultural Survival (2004-2010). Ellen transformed Cultural Survival by strongly emphasizing human rights and advocacy.

Coming from a humble background where she worked as a domestic servant to fund her education, Barla is the first tribal journalist from her state and is considered as the “voice of Jharkhand” for her powerful storytelling, community organizing, and writings. “Barla has been a trailblazer on many fronts, charting 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. As one of the first female Adivasi journalists in India, she has won many awards, including the Counter Media Award for Rural Journalism and the National Foundation for India Fellowship. She is an outspoken critic against the racism and persecution that Adivasi communities face.

Together with her colleagues from the Adivasi Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch (Platform of Indigenous Adivasi People to Defend their Existence), Barla has prevented ArcelorMittal, a global mining giant, from plundering the rich natural resources of Jharkhand. The proposed steel plant would have seized 12,000 acres of land and displaced 40 villages, additionally harming the surrounding ecosystems and by extension the livelihoods and survival of Indigenous communities.

Barla has also been involved in people’s mobilizations against the Koel Karo dam project. This struggle is considered one of the longest and most successful anti-dam movements in India, and is rooted in the highly mobilized Munda Indigenous community.

Barla’s steadfast commitment to the people’s democratic and constitutional rights to assemble and dissent has attracted the wrath of corrupt government and corporate actors, who are pushing for rapid industrialization and economic globalization that disenfranchises Indigenous communities. From October 18 to December 21, 2012 she was jailed by the Jharkhand government under a litany of charges ranging from leading peaceful protests against fertile farmland acquisition in Nagri to demanding job cards for rural poor in Angada block under a national employment guarantee scheme. “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,” says Odendahl. Recently she has been leading anti-land acquisition struggles, along with farmers of Nagdi, whose precious fertile agricultural land has been allocated for the construction of business, law, and information technology schools in Jharkhand. In a letter written from her jail cell, Barla reflected that the “looters of the state have become well-wishers in the eyes of the government.”

The selection of the ELL Award recipient is based on the following criteria: the Indigenous activist’s work is primarily at the grassroots level directly in Indigenous communities, and/or expands from there into advocacy at the state and international level; leadership is recognized by the communities that it represents; the activist works towards promoting and advancing Indigenous/human rights and this work reflects his or her compassion, dedication, and personal sacrifice to his or her people, communities, and Indigenous Peoples; and the award will raise the profile of the recipient’s work, advancing the activist’s efforts and helping to safeguard his or her well-being. “Dayamani is an example of a selfless and courageous activist, who powerfully demonstrates how Indigenous women play a crucial role in safeguarding the rights of their communities, while also protecting the rights of nature,” says Odendahl.

The Award recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and advance the rights of Indigenous Peoples, often at great personal risk. The ELL Award views “grassroots” leaders as those rooted in local efforts, where positive change is created through community or citizen participation in the issues that affect them. Through recognizing these individual leaders, the Award seeks to inspire other Indigenous people to take extraordinary actions to protect the world’s cultural diversity.

This year’s ELL Award, which comes with a $10,000 cash prize, brings critical attention to the undemocratic attitude of the Jharkhand state towards social activists, as well as honoring and celebrating the critical work of an Indigenous human rights defender who has fought brave struggles for the greater good of Adivasi communities in the state of Jharkhand and beyond. Barla will be presented with the award at a ceremony on May 23 at the Museum of the American Indian in New York.

Cultural Survival is a global leader in the fight to protect Indigenous lands, languages, and cultures around the world. In partnership with Indigenous Peoples, we advocate for Indigenous communities whose rights, cultures, and dignity are under threat. For more information go to www.cs.org

Contact: Suzanne Benally, Executive Director, 617-441-5400 x 16 sbenally@cs.org
Agnes Portalewska, Communications Manager, 617-441-5410 x14 agnes@cs.org

 

PRESS RELEASE- Under pressure Maharashtra government initiates dialogue with Medha Patkar and NAPM


Press Release

On the 7th day of Medha Patkar’s indefinite fast, slum dwellers in Mumbai barge in to Mantralaya

Demonstrations held in Bangalore, Delhi and other places in support of the struggle targetting Congress offices and Maharashtra government

Under pressure Maharashtra governemnt initiates dialogue with the Andolan

They can only demolish houses not our hopes and strength”

Mumbai, April 10 : Today is the sevnth day of the indefinite fast by Medha Patkar and Madhuri Shivkar in Khar Golibar, Mumbai. Early in the day basti dwellers and supporters in Mumbai entered the Mantralaya and raised slogans against the government, while the assembly was in progress. Later, by force they were moved by the Police to Azad Maidan, where the demonstrations continued all day. Medha ji’s is growing weaker every day but her health remained stable during the day.

In Delhi, many organisations, movements and individuals came together to protest the inaction by Maharashtra government and stood in solidarity with the struggle in Mumbai. Justice (Retd) Rajinder Sachar led the delegation and handed over a letter signed by Aruna Roy, Swami Agnivesh, Prashant Bhushan, Sumit Chakravarty, Sanjay parikh, Dayamani Barla, Chittaroopa Palit, K B saxena, Manoranjan Mohanty, Vimal Bhai, Rajendra Ravi and many others.

In Bangalore, members from different organisations and especially those from the Ejipura slum demolitions affected people gathered together and stormed in to the Karnataa State Congress office. They raised slogans against the Congress party and demanded that immediate action be taken by the Maharashtra government.

 

Support also came from Hussain Dalwai, Member of Parliament, Congress, who visited the fast site and extended his support and promised to take up the issue with Sonia Gandhi and the Central Govt. Shyam Sonar, Members of Swadhar, an NGO in Mumbai, Advocate Ghoge, Prakash Bendre, members of India Against Corruption and others kept visiting the fast site extending their support.

Later in the day, an emissary from Collector Office, came with a message from the Maharashtra government to initiate the process of dialogue. Andolan gave him the copy of the demand as below and showed its resolv to continue the struggle indifinitely on the site, unless and until, issues were resolved.

The first demolition in Golibar started in 2011. That was the time when Medha Tai Patkar went on an indefinite fast. After 2 years demolition started again for the SRA project developed by Shivalik Ventures. Residents are determiend to fight them, they say, “ Hamare sirf ghar tute hain… hosla abhi bhi buland hai” (they can only demolish houses not our hopes and strength). Children even udner duress have been writing their examination, the hope for a dignified life lives on in the struggle.

Prerna Gaikwad, Aba Tandel, Ajit Gavkhedkar, Jameel Bhai, Poonam Kanaujia, Sumit Wajale, Nasreen , Seela manswanee

Contact : 9892727063 | 9212587159 | nampindia@gmail.com

Demands of the Andolan are Following :

  1. The enquiry in respect of 6 S.R.A. Projects, under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary, Housing, is in progress since 13th January, 2013. We demand that the work in all these projects should be stopped un till the report of the enquiry is completed and actions taken on the recommendations.

  2. If demolitions are being carried out in accordance with court rulings but the preconditions put forth are not met, main issues and allegations of corruption through forgery, fraudulent consent are not resolved etc., then in such cases project work should be stopped and no further demolitions be carried.

  3. In cases where the residents have submitted self development projects or wish to submit the same, they should be sanctioned and encouraged and started immediately.

  4. S.R.A. Should ensure that in case of ongoing S.R.A. Projects all conditions in L.O.I. should be complied with.

  5. The L.O.I. of the developer should be withdrawn wherever the developers have submitted forged / false documents or wrong information in violation of the L.O.I – as in case of Shivalik builders.

  6. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra has agreed to implement ‘Rajeev Awas Yojana’ in the slums of Mumbai instead of S.R.A., on 2nd January, 2013. However these very slums are being buldozed even today. So, the displacement of these slums should be stopped till R.A.Y. is implemented. The same was conveyed to the State Government by the Union Minister Ajay maken on April 2, 2013.

  7. Pilot projects in respect of slum at Mandala, Mankhurd under the R.A.Y. Have already been submiited to the state as well as Central Governments. That should be approved and implemented at the earliest.

  8. Civic amenities (like water, toilets, nallahs, roads ) should be provided to all the slums immediately as per the written assurance given by the Municipal Commissioner.

  9. The Chief Secretary had given a written assurance on 25th May, 2011 that 19 bastis as agreed in the list, after 9 day fast by Medha Patkar, will be decalred slums within 3 months. There is no action on this assurance till date. The same should be done. The Chief Minister, and the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Housing had premised again in January, 2013 to complete this action during discussions held with them. They also gave a written assurance to that effect. The displacements that are being carried out at present are, therefore, grossly unjust and hence should be stopped forthwith.

  10. Shri Ajay Maken, Minister for Housing and Urban poverty alleviation, Government of India has written a letter to the Chief Minister, Maharashtra state on 2nd April, 2013. The Chief Minister should declare his stand on the letter in writing.

  11. The land of Sathe Nagar should be given for R.A.Y. . This land is currently under the hold of Bombay Soap company.

===============================================

National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
Web : www.napm-india.org

Twitter : @napmindia

 

 

#India-Jharkhand: Muffling dissent #Aparnamarandi #Dayamanibarla


 

MANOB CHOWDHURY 

Aparna Marandiwith her son in Ranchi after Frontline-, Dec 2012

JHARKHAND is leading from the front to shackle the many democratic people’s movements which have raised their voices against private mining and land acquisition in the State. In an unprecedented move, the State police, in late November and December, arrested several civil rights activists who have been leading the anti-mining struggle with the support of displaced tribal people

On December 8, Aparna Marandi, a long-time Dalit rights activist who has exposed many scams, including the high-profile Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme scam, and has led many demonstrations against land acquisition, was arrested on false charges, some activists say. Aparna, along with her infant son and three other activists, was arrested for her involvement in two different protests, the first of which was held six years ago and the second on November 30.

In custody, Aparna and the other activists were allegedly forced to sign forged documents and were presented before a magistrate only on December 10.

In a similar incident on November 24, the police arrested prominent anti-mining activist Xavier Dias and five of his colleagues for their alleged role in leading a protest against the Tata’s iron ore mine in Noamundi in the West Singbhum district of the State 21 years ago.  These are the latest in a spate of arrests, starting with the booking of another civil rights activist, Dayamani Barla. She was leading a protest against land acquisition in Nagri village near Ranchi on October 16 when she was detained in connection with a six-year-old case. Her bail plea has been rejected thrice by the Ranchi High Court.

The arrests were noticed only when they started to happen in an orchestrated way in the space of a month and for no immediate reason. The Jharkhand government has not made any statements so far. However, as of now, these arrests look like a witch-hunt against prominent activists of the State.

Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta

 

#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

 

 

Community Journalist, Aparna Marandi, son Alok, 3 more Untraceable after Arrest/Detention by Jharkhand Police


On December – 10 – 2012, VIDEO VOLUNTEERS

Since the evening of 8th December, 2012, community journalist Aparna Marandi and her 4 year old son Alok Chandra have been untraceable since their detention by the Jharkhand Police at Hatiya Railway Station, Ranchi, Jharkhand. Aparna and her son were  arrested along with their companions Baby Turi, Headwoman of Jatipur Panchayat, Sushila Ekka, social worker and 14 year old Satish, a relative of Aparna.

The women were preparing to board the Tejaswini Express to Hyderabad to participate in a public meeting on the eve of the International Human Rights Day. When the police were moving in on them, Baby Turi managed a quick phone call to her husband, Damodar Turi. The police were dressed in plainclothes, she said. Despite the fact that the detainees were women and children, no policewomen were present at the scene.

Once the news got out over the internet and local newspapers, concerned friends and acquaintances have been desperately trying to contact the victims. Their cell phones are ringing but there has been no reply. Attempts to contact the police and government officials have so far been unsuccessful. It is approaching 48hrs since the women and children have been missing but so far the police has denied this arrest.

Aparna Marandi is the wife of cultural activist Jeetan Marandi. Jeetan was a composer and singer of the songs of the people’s movements in Jharkhand. He sang about poverty, starvation, corruption, oppression – realities of life in some of the most marginalized regions in the country. The state reacted to his activism with draconian force and incarcerated him. Despite being acquitted by the Jhakhand High Court, Jeetan continues to languish in prison. It has been four long years since he was arrested.

Since Jeetan’s arrest, Aparna has been indefatigable. With her son in her arms, she would go from courts to police stations to government officers to conferences to rallies in the streets in an effort to secure justice for Jeetan. She is one of the most powerful voices for human rights and justice in grassroots Jharkhand.

Listen to a recording of her voice on August 11th, 2012 (http://www.cgnetswara.org/index.php?id=13006) in which Aparna questions if India is indeed independent. “I look in all the four directions and I see that ‘independence’ is just lip service. I cannot see any signs of ‘rights’ and ‘freedoms’… It is the very people who work for society who are put in jail. My husband is one such example,” she says. Aparna is an outstanding, outspoken, empowered citizen of the country.

In the light of these events, the Jharkhand police’s action is tantamount to ‘kidnapping’. Coming on the heels of the arrests of many activists and social workers like Dayamani Barla, it reveals a disturbing trend in which the state of Jharkhand would seem to resort to any deplorable violation to silence voices of non-violence and dissent.

In November 2012, Aparna was trained in community media by Video Volunteers and she had joined our IndiaUnheard Community News Service as a correspondent from Girdhi district of which she is a resident. Aparna is a colleague and a compatriot.

In these confusing times we live in, it is a voice like Aparna’s that speaks the ground realities, the truths, the words that need to be said. They need to be acknowledged not silenced.

We condemn the police and the state’s actions and dumbfounding silence as unconstitutional, unlawful, illegal and anti-democratic. We stand in solidarity with Aparna, Baby and Susheela. We hope for the well being of the two young boys Alok and Satish.

Help free Aparna by repeatedly contacting Jharkhand DGP, G.S.Rath on the following numbers.

Office No.           – 06512400737, 06512400738

Residence No     – 06512234755

Fax No.               – 06512400738

Mobile No.         – 9934315260, 9431115260

  • Demand that he tell you the whereabouts of Aparna, Alok, Baby, Susheela and Satish.
  • Demand that they be produced before a magistrate.
  • Demand that the police officials responsible for this unconstitutional detention be suspended.

 

PUDR statement on possible arrest/detention of Aparna Marandi and other anti mining activists in Jharkhand


Please call Aparna Marandi’s number 09771949885 , wife of Jiten manardi who might be detained or arrested ,Lets make life hell for the cop and police station where she is, I called  her at 11pm from Mumbai just rang no one picked up, pl share

December 9, 2012

Peoples Union for Democratic Rights expresses grave concern over disappearance and a possible arrest/detention of Aparna Marandi, Baby Turi and Sushil Ekka along with two minors Alok Chand Marandi (4 years) and Satish from Hatia Railway Station in Ranchi, Jharkhand on evening of 8.12.2012 . All of them had come to this station to board Tapaswani Express in their route to Hydrabad for participating in a public convention.

It is to be noted that Aparna Marandi , Alok Chand Marandi and Satish are related to a leading cultural activist of Jharkhand Jiten Marandi as spouse, son and nephew. Both Jiten and Aparna have been relentlessly campaigning against mining interests, ‘devlopment’ led displacement as well as larger climate of repression in Jharkahand villages accompanying the operation Green Hunt. Jiten Marandi was earlier framed along with three others, by the Jharkhand police in false cases of Maoist related violence in which 19 people were killed and the lower court had awarded him and others with death sentence. The Jharkand High Court however found the charges against them unsubstantiated and had acquitted them in December 2011.

Baby Turi on the other hand is an elected representative and is Mukhiya of Jitpur panchyat in Dhanbad District of the state. Sushila Ekka is a social activist and hails from Badka village in Hazaribagh District.

PUDR strongly condemns this deplorable step of the Jharkhand Police and demands that the whereabouts of these five people be immediately made public. Securing the life and liberty of its citizen is utmost function of the government. We therefore hold Jharkhand government complicit in this mysterious disappearance and grave transgression of fundamental rights of citizens.

PUDR sees this incidence of disappearance as a chain of events that links to continuous process of repression in the state of Jharkhand, in light operation Green Hunt that has forsaken the constitutional governance in the state.

Paramjeet Singh, Preeti Chauhan
Secretaries