Letter to President of India- Protect Rights of Indigenous People or Shoot all of them


Jharkhand Human Rights Movement
C/o-Mr. Suleman Odeya, Near Don Bosci ITC Gate, Khorha Toli, Kokar, Ranchi -834001. 0651-3242752 Email: jhrmindia@gmail.com

Ref: JHRM/PI/2013/01 Date: 01/05/2013

To,
His Excellency,
Sri Pranab Mukherjee,
President of India,
Rashtrapati Bhavan,
New Delhi – 110004
India.

Sub: Requesting to protect the rights of the Scheduled Tribes (Indigenous People of India) or to shoot all of them at once rather than excluding, discriminating, exploiting, torturing and making them landless, resourceless and beggars by alienating them from the natural and livelihood resources in the name of growth and development.

Dear Sir,

1. It is extremely painful to state that I come from an Adivasi (tribal) family, who was displaced by an irrigation project without rehabilitation in 1980 and my parents were brutally murdered in 1990. However, I was managed to survive. On 30th April, 2013, you have inaugurated a power project of the Jindal Steel & Power Ltd at Sundarpahari comes under Godda district of Jharkhand. However, it seems that the tribal people were not allowed to put their concerns in front of you. The tribal people of 11 villages had gathered near Sundarpahari to raise their voices against the power project as some of them had already been displaced during the construction of ‘Sundar Dam’ and now they’ll again be displaced by the Jindal’s power project. However, these tribals were detained in Sundarpahari police station instead of hearing their plea. The question here is do they have right to freedom of expression under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution? The police have regularly been coercing the tribals who don’t want to surrender their land to the Jindal Company. According to the Santal Pargana Tenancy Act 1949, the land is non-transferable and non-saleable, whether owned by tribals or non-tribals. But how the tribals land is being bought by the Jindal Company? Is the Jindal Company allowed to violet the rule of law?

2. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India through a writ petition (CIVIL) NO. 180 OF 2011 (Orissa Mining Corporation Vs Ministry of Environment & Forest & Others) has said that the Section 4(d) of the PESA Act 1996 says that every Gram Sabha shall be competent to safeguard and preserve the traditions, customs of the people, their cultural identity, community resources and community mode of dispute resolution. Therefore, Grama Sabha functioning under the Forest Rights Act read with Section 4(d) of PESA Act has an obligation to safeguard and preserve the traditions and customs of the STs and other forest dwellers, their cultural identity, community resources. The Court has ordered the State Government to settle the matter with the Gram Sabha. But is the case of Jindal Company, where is the role of Gram Sabha? Why it has been undermined or put aside? Why did PESA Act 1996 not enforced in this case? Is it because the head of the Jindal Steel & Power Limited is one of the powerful leaders of the Congress Party?

3. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has also said through a writ petition (CIVIL) NO. 180 OF 2011 (Orissa Mining Corporation Vs Ministry of Environment & Forest & Others) that the Scheduled Tribes have the Religious freedom guaranteed under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution. It guarantees them the right to practice and propagate not only matters of faith or belief, but all those rituals and observations which are regarded as integral part of their religion. The Court has ordered to protect and preserve the tribals’ deity. However, in last 65 years of Indian democracy, thousands and thousands of sacred groves, religions places and graveyards of tribals were either submerged in Dams or destroyed in the name of development. These are several sacred groves and religions places of the tribal would be destroyed by the power project of the Jindal Company. However, the question is do the tribals really have the freedom of religion as the Apex Court has stated? Why is Government not upholding the rule of law?

4. The tribal people have already lost more than 23 lakh acres of land in Jharkhand in two ways – i) The major part of tribals’ land were taken away from them in the name of growth and development and ii) the non-tribals who came into the 5th Scheduled Area of Jharkhand for jobs also grabbed a huge portion of the tribal land illegally after earning huge money from the development projects and mining. Though the Article 19 (d) & (e) allows the all citizens to move freely throughout the territory of India and to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India but sub-clause (5) also emphasizes that the state can impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of any of the rights conferred by the said sub-clauses (d & e) for the protection of the interests of any Scheduled Tribe. However, nothing has been done in this regard to protect the tribal people. Consequently, the population of the non-tribals is multiplying in the Scheduled areas and the tribal population is rapidly declining.

5. The Jharkhand Government has signed more than 100 MoUs with National and multi-National companies, who are grabbing the trabals land illegally and the government is facilitating it instead of protection the land rights of tribals. The Jharkhand Government has also proposed for two industrial corridors under the Jharkhand Industrial policy 2012. According to JIP-14 (a) State Govt. will initiate necessary steps to promote / develop two industrial corridors, namely Koderma – Bahragora and Ranchi-Patratu- Ramgarh Road, where the efforts will be made to develop the corridor with 25 KM each side of 4 laning, which means, major part of the land will be handed over to the corporate houses. If that happens then where will the tribal people go? Do they have right to a dignified life?

6. On 5 January, 2011, the Apex Court of India while hearing on an appeal (the special leave petition (Cr) No. 10367 of 2010 Kailas & others Vs State of Maharashtra) said that the tribal people (Scheduled Tribes or Adivasis), the Indigenous People of India but they were slaughtered in large numbers, and the survivors and their descendants were degraded, humiliated, and all kinds of atrocities inflicted on them for centuries. They were deprived of their lands, and pushed into forests and hills where they eke out a miserable existence of poverty, illiteracy, disease, etc. And now efforts are being made by some people to deprive them even of their forest and hill land where they are living, and the forest produce on which they survive. Despite this horrible oppression on them, the tribals of India have generally (though not invariably) retained a higher level of ethics than the non-tribals in our country. They normally do not cheat, tell lies, and do other misdeeds which many non-tribals do. They are generally superior in character to the non-tribals. The Apex Court said that it is time now to undo the historical injustice to them. However, the Indian Government has done nothing to protect them. Instead, it has been facilitating in corporate land grab of the Adivasis (tribals or Indigenous People) of India.

Since, you are the custodian of the tribal people of India, therefore, I demand for following actions:
1. To order for investigation on detention of tribals and land grab by the Jindal Steel & Power Limited in Sundar Pahari and also cancel the Jindal’s power project as it is a severe threat to the existence of the tribal people especially the Primitive tribes (Paharia) of Sundar Pahari.
2. To investigate and cancel all the MoUs signed since 2000 without consent of the Gram Sabha under PESA Act 1996 and also order for withdrawal of the Industrial Police 2012 and order the state administration to return the illegally acquired land of the tribals by the corporate houses.
3. To order for a judicial inquiry in all the cases of illegal land grabbed by the non-Adivasis in the Scheduled areas.
4. To order to stop the corporate to buy land by themselves and order the Government to acquire land under the Santal Pargana Tenancy Act 1949 and Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act 1908 for development projects with the consent of the Gram Sabha under PESA Act 1996.
5. To order the Government to enforce the rule of law i.e. Constitutional provisions, 5th Schedule Area, PESA Act 1996, CNT Act 1908, SPT Act 1949, the Forest Rights Act 2006, etc.

Indeed, it’s necessary to take the above said steps to protect the constitutional, legal and traditional rights of the tribal people. However, if you are unable to protect us, I would humbly request you to gather all the tribal people at a place and shoot them so that you’ll get rid of us and could build this nation on the graveyards of the tribal as per your dream.

The architect of the Modern India Pt. Jwaharlal Nehru’s Temples of Modern India has turned into graveyards of the tribals (Indigenous People of India). Therefore, in the next time whenever and wherever you inaugurate such development project proposed on the tribals’ land, please remembers that you are building this nation on the graveyards of the Indigenous People of India.

I believe you understand my pain, anguish and sorrow. I hope to hear your positive response. I shall be highly obliged to you for the same.

Thanking you.

Yours sincerely,
Gladson Dungdung
General Secretary,
JHRM, Ranchi.

 

#Chhattisgarh Turns Back on Mining Industry- #goodnews


By Prasenjit Bhattacharya, India Real Time, Nov 5.2012

Reuters,Miners worked at a coal mine in Chhattisgarh, November 21, 2009.

Chhattisgarh –  one of India’s three largest mineral-producing states – has had enough of industries like mining, power, metals and cement.

The local government says it doesn’t want any more such projects, although the state has long relied on these industries for growth.

Instead, Chhattisgarh is keen on reinventing itself as a hub for making auto-parts, processed food, electronics and software, says Raman Singh, the state’s chief minister.  ”I have been telling investors in one-to-one meetings … that we are not interested in new projects in the core sectors,” Mr. Singh told the Wall Street Journal. Over the weekend, Mr. Singh hosted a two-day investors’ meet aimed at persuading companies, mostly domestic, to invest as much as $22 billion in the state.

The “core sector” is shorthand for mining, metals, cement and power generation businesses. The state’s large reserves of bauxite, coal and iron ore have attracted significant investment from state-run and private companies, including Coal India Ltd. 533278.BY +0.54% Vedanta Resources VED.LN -3.28% and Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. 532286.BY -2.04%

“A power project takes 10,000 crore rupees ($2 billion) to build but employs 700 people, while an IT company would invest just 10 crore rupees and employ 600. We want to bring in industries that create jobs,” said Mr. Singh, a senior politician with the Bharatiya Janata Party, the main opposition to the Congress-led central government.

Unemployment is a major problem in Chhattisgarh, a state that, despite its mineral wealth, is one of India’s poorest.

Endemic poverty is one of the reasons many locals support left-wing rebels, known as Maoists, who operate in the state and inhabit its densely forested areas. Chhattisgarh is a hotbed of rebels who claim they are upholding the land rights of local tribes and rural poor against the government and industrial interests.

Maoist rebels have opposed industrial and mining projects, which typically require large swathes of land, making it difficult for companies located in areas with strong Maoist presence to operate. Apart from Maoists, local villagers and tribals have also become increasingly vocal opponents of mining and power projects in mineral-rich states like Chhattisgarh.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh at a press conference in Raipur, December 7, 2003.

As a result, Mr. Singh says that for the state to guarantee land and water to large mining or power projects “is not that easy.”

“Water and land are limited. How many projects can the state support?” said Mr. Singh. “The government has enough land for industries that don’t require much land, be it agriculture-based companies, auto or technology companies, so we are encouraging such investments,” he added.

Mr. Singh said that while the Maoist insurgency remains a problem, the government has been able to contain it. “The problem is being fought on two fronts. We are educating children in tribal villages so they don’t pick up guns later in life, but when insurgents kill people, the police can’t just stand and watch. So we fight back too.”

The inside of Mr. Singh’s modest bungalow in Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh, is crowded with security. Cameras and cell phones are not allowed inside the premises, which are patrolled by officials armed with walkie talkies.

It’s unclear how successful Chhattisgarh’s investment pitch will be. While Indian states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat and the Delhi have seen a steady flow of investment in recent years, security issues mean that states like Chhattisgarh are a tougher sell. Large Indian and global companies in technology and automobiles sectors stayed away from the investors’ meet over the weekend.

There is scope for investment in other sectors, like agriculture. Investors said that the state’s large production of fruits and vegetables is likely to be attractive for companies looking to make juices and other processed foods.

But can this really replace industries like mining in the state’s economy?

Orissa diverts 12,000 hectares of forest land for Mining industries


BS Reporter / Kolkata/ Bhubaneswar Mar 21, 2012

Close to 12000 hectares of forest land have been diverted in the state in the past 10 years for mining activities and also to make way for industries in sectors like steel, aluminium, power and petroleum refining.

While mining activities have taken the lion’s share of the forest land (10,182 hectares), 1749.02 hectares have been diverted for industrial projects.

Forest land in the state has been diverted for as many as 90 miners during 2001-11, including Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco), Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC), Ferro Alloys Corporation (Facor), Tata Steel, Rungta Mines Ltd, Essel Mining & Industries Ltd KJS Ahluwalia and Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) to name a few.

The industries for whom forest land has been diverted are JSPL (168.32 hectares) for its integrated steel & power complex at Angul, Posco India (1252.22 hectares) for its 12 million tonne per annum steel mill in Jagatsinghpur district, Aditya Aluminium Ltd (119.26 hectares) for its aluminium smelter and captive power plant at Sambalpur and Bhusan Steel & Power Ltd (61.48 hectares) for its integrated steel plant in Angul district to name a few.

Of the 11082.3 hectares of area to be taken up for compensatory afforestation, 7727.63 hectares have already been covered.

However, the pace of compensatory afforestation taken up by industrial players has been comparatively slower.

Only 157.89 hectares have been taken up for compensatory afforestation so far out of 1806.78 hectares mandated for these industrial projects in lieu of forest land diverted.

It may be noted that the Orissa government had presented a Rs 325 crore, five-year Action Plan to the Union ministry of environment & forests (MoEF) under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).

The additional Action Plan aims at enhancing forest protection on the joint forest management mode. The joint forest management mode envisages active involvement and participation of people for protection and enrichment of forest through Vana Sanrakshyana Samities (VSS).

Blood Stains in Jindal Steel- Part 2


This is Part II of “Blood Stains in Jindal Steel“. Samadrustitv team visited Angul District Hospital and interviewed victims of Jindal assault. Both the videos have been done by Tarun Mishra with video support from Madan who belongs to the affected village.

Joint Statement on brutal corporate attack on peaceful protesters in Odisha.


 

We are extremely shocked and distressed over the barbaric inhuman violence on peaceful protesters especially woman by the security guards and hired goons of Jindal steel plant in Angul, Odisha. There has been series of attacks on unarmed peaceful protesters against forcibly land grab all over Odisha. On 25th January 2012 when the entire Nation was gearing up for the Republic day celebrations and the Indian ruling classes, the big business and the corporate media was busy trumpeting the arrival of India major economical power house these recurring brutal violence by the corporate goons on mass movements in ODISHA exposes the hollowness of our rulers claim of India being the world largest democracy.

On 25th January 2012 around four thousand men and women went to Jindal Steel Plant, Angul to demand a justified compensation for the land forcibly grabbed from them and also to demand jobs which was promise to them both by the Company and Odisha Government. When the procession arrived in the factory security guard of the Jindal Steel Company and hired goons brutally attacked men and women especially women who were in the front against the struggle. The barbaric scene is difficult to explain to in words. In front of a large posse of police the hired goons in the security guards of Company attached them with iron rods and stick. Fatally injuring more than two hundred men and women, many of them are now admitted in SCB Medical College, Cuttack and different hospitals in Angul. Women were beaten ruthlessly with iron rods their cloths were torn, they were bleeding profusely, the bestiality of the goons reached most shocking and appalling limits when some of them inserted iron rods into the private parts of the women. There is nothing much to say after this about the great proclamation of Odisha Chief Minister about the so called great peaceful industrialization of Odisha. When an FIR was lodged the local police station, none of the senior executive of the company including the CEO was arrested except the token arrest of the security officer. This incident is a horrifying indicator of the growing state and corporate attacks on peaceful mass movement of Odisha. In November 2011, the hired goons of POSCO in front of a large contingent of police men attacked the peaceful protesters of the Anti-POSCO struggle in Jagatsinghpru District Odisha, with bombs killing one an injuring many.

We strongly condemn this dastardly attack on peace protesters against Jindal Steel Company in Odisha, we demand immediate arrest of the CEO and other senior executive of Jindal Steel Plant registering criminal case against them for brutally attacking people injuring men and women. We demand the dismissal and trial of all the policemen, who was present during this inhuman shameful incident including SP of the district.

We appeal to all the progressive, democratic, Human Rights and Women’s Organizations to condemn the incidents and demand action against the culprits.

Prafulla Samantara NAPM / Lok Shakti Abhiyan

Sudhir Patnaik Editor, Samadrusti

Ajit Jha Samajwadi Jan Parishad

Kiran Saheen Media Action Group, Delhi

Sehenaz Malek Arman Mahila Sangathan, Ahmedabad

Mamata Das NFFPW / POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity, Delhi

Kamayani Bali Mahabal Human rights lawyer activist
Subrat Kumar Sahu POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity, Delhi

Asit Das POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity, Delhi

Bhanumati Gochhait POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity, Delhi

Rita Kumari Pravasi Nagarik Manch, Delhi

Ranjeet Thakur Journalist, Uttarakhand

P.K. Sunderam Research Scholar, JNU

Blood Stains in Jindal Steel, Orissa. 25th January 2012


See what happens to displaced villagers who protest against Jindal Steel in Angul, Orissa.