#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

 

 

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.

 

#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

 

Scrap MoUs violating land act, say tribals


TNN | Feb 4, 2012
RANCHI: The Adivasi-Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch (AMARM), an umbrella organization of tribals and original settlers of the state, has demanded cancellation of all memorandums of understanding (MoUs) signed between the state and corporate houses as it violates the provisions of the CNT Act.

The AMARM is also opposed to acquisition of land by the government for Indian Institute of Management and law university at Kanke and Nagri. AMARM convener Dayamani Barla said the MoU signed by the government with the corporate houses was not approved by the Tribal Advisory Council and Gram Sabha. “We want that all MoUs should be cancelled as it is against the law of the land,” said Barla adding that the recent judgment of the Jharkhand high court on strict implementation of the CNT Act confirmed the violation.

Tthe CNT Act Suraksha Samiti has called a mahapanchayat here on February 19. Tribal leaders and activists from all over the state will address the gathering.