#India-Displaced farmers watch the rise of Naya Raipur

Naya Raipur, October 30, 2012

Suvojit Bagchi, The Hindu

  • The Jungle Safari at Naya Raipur which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Raman Singh on Oct. 19, 2012. Photo: Suvojit Bagchi
    The Jungle Safari at Naya Raipur which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Raman Singh on Oct. 19, 2012. Photo: Suvojit Bagchi
  • Chaitram Yadav, a farmer who got less compensation for his irrigated land . Photo: Suvojit Bagchi
    Chaitram Yadav, a farmer who got less compensation for his irrigated land . Photo: Suvojit Bagchi
  • Rakhi village is almost empty now, as most of the villagers are rehabilitated in a nearby colony. Photo Suvojit Bagchi.
    Rakhi village is almost empty now, as most of the villagers are rehabilitated in a nearby colony. Photo Suvojit Bagchi.
  • Mohan Sahu of Khandwa who has lost 20 acres to the Jungle Safari. He says,
    Mohan Sahu of Khandwa who has lost 20 acres to the Jungle Safari. He says,”The jungle safari is affecting at least two villages.” Photo: Suvojit Bagchi.
  • A notcie on a wall in Barauda, one of the three affected villages says land is up for sale in a nearby village
    A notcie on a wall in Barauda, one of the three affected villages says land is up for sale in a nearby village

Inauguration of Naya Raipur, a city planned by the Congress government in 2002, is the biggest event in Chhattisgarh’s history since its inception in 2000. The city is spread out in three layers having a core area with a safari, golf course, government offices, film city, theme park, central business district, hospitals, housing societies, health and education complex and army cantonment spread over almost 20,000 acres.

Approaching the city, in the middle of a vast swathe of barren land, on a grass mound about 15 feet high, stands a platform with figures of two women and a man dancing, presumably to a tribal tune. A peacock with a CFL lamp hanging from its beak is watching them. The platform also hosts a tiger, a bison, a buffalo, and two birds.

The ‘installation’ was designed to mark the inauguration of a ‘jungle safari’ by Chief Minister Raman Singh last week. The safari, along with a botanical garden and a golf course, is among the most touted features of the new capital. Government officials believe that these are ‘mandatory’ for a modern city like Naya Raipur. Villagers who have lost their lands to the city and the safari, however, think otherwise. “It would adversely affect at least two villages, at a time when large scale deforestation is going on unchecked in north Chhattisgarh,” said Mohan Sahu of Khandwa village. Mr Sahu lost 20 acres of farm land to the safari.

An organisation of farmers who have lost their land – Naya Rajdhani Pravabhit Kisan Kalyan Samiti (KKS) – has appealed to President Pranab Mukherjee to cancel his scheduled visit to inaugurate the capital on Nov. 6.

Digambar Sahu (name changed) from an affected village, Baraud, lost 18 acres of farmland and now works for a builder in Naya Raipur. Last Saturday, as he was heading for work, few of the fellow villagers asked him why he was working for someone displacing the farmers. Mr. Sahu replied, “You refused a discussion five years ago. Why point a finger at me now?”

He explained that he and other the farmers were paid approximately Rs 6 lakh to Rs 12 lakh per acre as compensation between 2006 and 2012. “That is Rs13 to Rs 22 for each square feet of land,” he pointed out whereas real estate companies are now charging the consumers Rs 3000 per square feet of finished housing.

The government has banned sale of land in 27 villages of Naya Raipur since 2005. Farm land could only be sold to a government body, Naya Raipur Development Authority (NRDA). “We lost our livelihood and are paid Rs 15 per square feet. On the other hand, NRDA sold our land to the builders who are selling it at an astronomical price to consumers,” says Kamta Rathre, the secretary of KKS.

However, NRDA data suggests that till September this year more than 12,000 acres of land has been acquired mostly through ‘mutual consent.’ “We were threatened with confiscation of our land under the Land Act of 1894. Is that ‘mutual consent,”’ asked Geeta Yadav, sarpanch of Khandwa.

The CEO of NRDA, S S Bajaj denying the allegation, told The Hindu that the Government is not ‘making any profit’. “We gave an offer to the farmers at the beginning to get involved as partners. They refused and opted for compensation. In fact, cost of developing a city is much more than its existing land price. The government is incurring all costs and paid the farmers more than the market price.” The ‘Land Use Plan’ of Naya Raipur illustrates that at least 15-20 % of the inner core of the city will be up for sale for commercial activities.

There are other anomalies which are leading the farmers to believe that they have had a bad deal. Seventy-year-old Chaitram Yadav, whose land records show that he was cultivating an irrigated patch, was paid a lower compensation that stipulated for ‘non irrigated’ land. Several farmers complained about such anomalies, while Mr. Bajaj said these are ‘minor mistakes’ by local land revenue officers.

The Chairman of NRDA, N Baijendra Kumar, feels the land has been acquired ‘peacefully’. “We got good cooperation form the farmers. There is trivial resistance from few individuals and we hope to resolve it,” he said. Mr. Kumar insisted that the rehabilitation deal given to the farmers is ‘one of the best in the country’.

Meanwhile deep inside the villages, the peasant families are having sleepless nights. The local intelligence is routinely calling the peasant leaders to check their whereabouts. “I think we all will be picked up soon,” said a seemingly exhausted Kamta Rathre after a hard day’s campaign in the villages. The peasants have decided not to celebrate the inauguration of the new capital and will switch off their lights for a week to register their protest.


2 years, 5 cities, 6 cases – and ‘proof’ everywhere is the same magazine #draconianlaws

Muzamil Jaleel : New Delhi, Wed Sep 26 2012,  Indian Express

On April 16, 2006, Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh was tense. There had been communal clashes a week ago during Eid-e-Milad. In the afternoon, policemen from the Kotwali police station arrested two women, 20-year-old Aasiya and 23-year-old Rafia, daughters of one Abdul Hafiz Qureshi. The police, in their seizure memo, claimed to have recovered “incriminating material” from Aasiya — three copies of an April 2004 issue of a Hindi magazine, Tehrik-e-Millat, and a SIMI donation receipt towards “office construction fund” (receipt no. 0033359, dated January 25, 2006) with the name “Kumari Aashiya Khan” in Hindi for an amount of Rs 500.

SIMI was banned in 2001. If an underground outfit issuing a donation receipt for a building on their old stationery seems unlikely, the story of the magazine is even more odd.

All the three copies of Tehrik-e-Millat allegedly recovered from Aasiya have her name written by hand in Hindi as “Aashiya” on the cover. The police also claimed to have seized two copies of Tehrik-e-Millat with “Rafia” written by hand in Hindi on the cover. Tehrik-e-Millat is a fortnightly published from Kota in Rajasthan. Though the Kotwali police station in Khandwa later booked the magazine’s owner-editor M A Naiem, the magazine has never been proscribed.

This is not all. In the space of two years, these same copies of the April 2004 issue of Tehrik-e-Millat — with the names of the Khandwa sisters written by hand on the cover — travelled to at least two other states. Several cases later, the police even started referring to the magazine as “Tehrik Millat Aasiya” and “Tehrik Rafia” in their official records. However, other than their names on the magazines, the two sisters were never mentioned in police records.

July 2006, Pune

After the July 11, 2006, bomb explosions on local trains in Mumbai, the magazine popped up in the chargesheet filed by the Anti-Terrorism Squad, Mumbai. Among the 13 people arrested was Sohail Mehmood Shaikh of Bhimpura, Lashkar, Camp Area Pune, who was held on July 25, 2006. The ATS claimed Sohail went to Pakistan via Iran in November 2002 for arms training with the Lashkar-e-Toiba. They also said a search of Sohail’s house in Bhimpura on July 30, 2006, had led to the recovery of six books including the “April 2004 Tahrik-e-Millat Asia” that had “Aashiya” written by hand on the cover. Police claimed to have recovered the same magazine, with the same handwritten “Aashiya”, during searches at the homes of the other 7/11 accused — Mohd Faisal Ataur Rehman Shaikh of Bandra, Muzzamil Ataur Rehman Shaikh of Mira Road, Jameer Latifur Rehman Shaikh of Vallabhbhai Patel Nagar and Dr Tanvir Ahmad Mohd Ibrahim Ansari of Agripada, all in Mumbai.

July 2006, Mumbai

In an affidavit filed before the UAPA (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act) Tribunal in 2010, Assistant Police Inspector, ATS, Mumbai, Rahimatullah Inayat Sayyed, spoke of Danish Riyaz Shaukat Ali Shaikh, an “active member of SIMI”, who was arrested on July 30, 2006. According to the affidavit, a raid on Shaikh’s home led to the recovery of several Islamic books in Urdu such as Jihad Fi Saabi Illah, Jihad Asghar and Jihadi Fishbilliah, besides ‘Tehrik Millat Aasiya’, the same magazine.

August 2006, Mumbai

According to an affidavit filed by Inspector, DCB, CID, Mumbai, Milind Bhikaji Khetle, a case was registered at Kandivali police station on August 13, 2006, against Mohd Najib Abdul Rashid Bakali and some of his “SIMI associates”. The affidavit said that on August 14, 2006, police seized four SIMI booklets from Bakali’s house. One of the alleged ‘SIMI’ booklets was a copy of the April 2004 issue of the Tehrik-e-Millat magazine with “Aashiya” written by hand in Hindi on its cover.

September 2006, Malegaon

On September 8, 2006, powerful blasts ripped through the Bada Kabaristan area of Malegaon after the Shab-e-Barat prayers, killing 37 people and injuring over 100. An FIR was registered at Azad Nagar Police Station, Malegaon, and Noor-ul-Huda Shamsudoha, a labourer, was arrested under the UAPA for being a SIMI member and for “popularising and publicising” SIMI. During a raid on Noor-ul-Huda’s home at Jafarnagar, police claimed to have seized “objectionable books’’ that included the copy of the April 2004 issue of the Tehrik-e-Millat magazine with “Aashiya” written by hand in Hindi on its cover.

On September 19, 2006, the investigation was transferred to ATS, Mumbai. Within days, Noor-ul-Huda became one of the main accused in the Malegaon blast case. Eight more people were later arrested as the ATS, Mumbai, claimed to have solved the case. Noor-ul-Huda and the other accused had already spent six years in jail in Mumbai by the time the case took a new turn following Swami Aseemanand’s confession in January last year. On November 16 last year, Noor-ul-Huda and the other eight were granted bail.

September 2008, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh

On September 19, 2008, the MP Police nabbed “SIMI activist” Mohd Ali, 29, of Jabalpur from the Misrod railway station. Police officer T I Chandan Singh Surama recorded in the FIR: “We searched his bag and found papers of SIMI which is an offence.” The Misrod police station claimed that the papers seized from Mohd Ali’s bag included “Tehrik Rafia” — that is how the police’s seizure memo refers to the Tehrik-e-Millat magazine because it had “Rafia” written by hand in Hindi on the cover, the same copy of the same magazine that the Kotwali police station had claimed to have seized on April 16, 2006, from Rafia in Khandwa.

Besides, the police claimed that a SIMI donation receipt towards office construction fund (Receipt No. 0033359) dated January 25, 2006, with the name Kumari Aashiya Khan in Hindi for an amount of Rs 500 was recovered from Mohd Ali. This donation receipt is also exactly the same as the one the Kotwali police had claimed to have recovered from Aasiya in Khandwa. It was on the basis of these two “incriminating” documents alone that Mohd Ali was booked under the UAPA.

Incidentally, in the initial Khandwa case in which Aasiya and Rafia were arrested, the police kept extending the list of accused, going on to arrest 12 youths, including their brother Inam-ur-Rehman. Later, Inam was also picked up after the Jaipur blasts of May 13, 2008, and taken to Rajasthan. All the 14 held in the case were initially accused of being SIMI members.

On December 9, 2011, a fast-track court acquitted 11 of the 14, including Inam.

No end to water protest in Madhya Pradesh #Omkeshwardam


Reported by Siddharth Ranjan Das, Edited by Shamik Ghosh |  NDTV Updated: September 06, 2012 18:37 IST

PLAYClick to Expand & Play

BhopalIn Madhya Pradesh‘s Khandwa area, 51 people stayed immersed in water for the 13th day today in what’s being called a ‘jal satyagraha’. The protestors are demanding compensation and rehabilitation for villagers whose homes will be submerged under water after with the state government’s order of opening all the gates of the Omkareshwardam in Madhya Pradesh.With Narmada flowing above the danger levels, the government has little choice. However, the protestors, members of the ‘Narmada Bachao Andolan‘, say the government’s decision to increase the water level of the Omkareshdam on the Narmada without rehabilitating people living in low lying villages is a violation of a Supreme Court order, which says villagers must be rehabilitated at least six months before such a move is implemented.

“Till the time water level comes down to 189 and as per court orders, we get the 5 acre land. And labourers get Rs. 2.5 lakh. Till that time even if we die, we will sit here,” said one of the 51 protestors at Madhya Pradesh’s Ghogal village, who have been sitting in water for the past 13 days.

“In the water, fishes and crabs are biting us, our skin is affected and it is raining also,” said a protestor.

However, despite the deteriorating health of the protestors, the government has so far offered no medical help. No one from the local administration has visited the spot of the protest.

The water of the Omkareshwar Dam has already risen to 190.5 meters and its effects can been seen in Ghogal, Kaamankheda and 28 other villages, where crops have been damaged.


IMMEDIATE RELEASE-1000s from 250 VILLAGES OF 10 DISTRICTS support oustees #mustshare

September 2, 2012 · by of resistance and more · in News Release. ·


On the 8th day of the on going Jal Satyagraha at Ghoghalgaon around 5000 people from 250 villages of 10 districts arrived to extend their solidarity to the Satyagrahis. The daughters of the Satyagrahis tied Rakhsa sutra (security band) to the thousands of people who arrived at the site as a gesture of seeking support & security. 51 Jal satyagrahis continue to stand in water for the 8th day in Ghoghalgaon fighting for their cause in spite of the blisters in their hands & feet.

A huge gathering of the kith & kin of the oustees came together which increased the Confidence & morale of the Satyagrahis. More than 5000 People from more than 250 villages of districts like Khandwa, Indore, Dewas, Burhanpur, Harda, Badwani, Khargone, Bhopal & Dhar gathered on the call of the Oustees in Ghoghalgaon to lend an overwhelming support to the protesting Oustees.
The supporters declared that they would send petition to the Chief Minister through their corresponding Village, Block & District level demanding him to reduce the water level in the dams & rehabilitate the Oustees. Women came in large numbers to Gholghaon in order to support the protesting Oustees. The supporters also declared that if the Government fails to take immediate action they would actively join the struggle with the Jal Satyagrahis.

The ongoing Jal Satyagraha in Ghoghalgaon entered its 8th day. In spite of the hands & feet of the Jal satyagrahis having turned pale & developed blisters, they are strong & determined in their stand. And their morale & confidence level has increased after receiving the support from the wave of women & men supporters who arrived at Ghoghalgaon today. The meeting concluded by offering prayers to Mother Narmada & an oath taken by the supporters as well as Satyagrahis that they would stand together in this fight for the Rights of the common people.

Alok Agarwal

Narmada Bachao Andolan
2, Sai Nagar, Mata Chowk,
Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh -450 001
Telefax : 0733 – 2228318
E-mail : nbakhandwa@gmail.com


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