Press Release – #India – 5 activists accused by Tata Steel in fabricated cases acquitted #goodnews


Noamundi activist released
from Ieft are: Mosa Mundi, Rajaram Das, Xd, Indu Iaguri, John Barjo
 — atOut side Chaibasa District Court Singhbhum Jharkhand India
Xavier Dias
The Noamundi five have been acquittedon 29th June 2013 by the Chaibasa Court In 1991 eighteen of us were accused by TATA ST EEL in multiple fabricated criminal cases this particular case the Company got the Railways to fiIe an additional criminal case for damage to railway property too for which in NOvember Iast year 6 of us went to jaiI
The sixth Basu Deogam died in May from malnutrition and TB, I wish to remember the children and widows of the 13 of our comrades aII of who died early from curable diseases aII before the age of 45, yes we are now acquitted after 22 yrs of one of the countries biggest mining companies TATA STEEL failed strategy to harass Intimidate and defeat the resistance movement,
The struggle and resistance against Mining in the Saranda forest within which TATA STEEL and Noamundi comes continues and is now Ied by some of the children of our former comrades On 22 June a Pubic Hearing for a new mine could not be held as over 500 women men and children under the Leadership of Omon MahiIIIa Sanghatan drove them away This picture was taken out of the Court ,

.

 

#India – More mines, fewer schools in former Maoist stronghold


 

Manoharpur (Jharkhand), June 17, 2013

 

Anumeha Yadav, The Hindu

  • Villagers in Saranda, West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand, get their drinking water from the Koina river, which has high iron content. Photo: Manob Chowdhury
    The Hindu Villagers in Saranda, West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand, get their drinking water from the Koina river, which has high iron content. Photo: Manob Chowdhury
  • A Google map of the affected villages in West Singhbhum district, Jharkhand, and the mines.
    A Google map of the affected villages in West Singhbhum district, Jharkhand, and the mines.

Deep inside the Saranda sal forest, Thalkobad lies at the core of what was a CPI (Maoist) “liberated zone” in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum district along the Odisha border. Thalkobad, along with 24 other villages, was reclaimed by the Indian state after a massive military operation — Operation Anaconda-I in August 2011 to destroy the CPI (Maoist) Eastern Regional Bureau and several training camps inside Saranda. The village bears scars of conflict — a high machaan used by the then rebel government of the village is intact but the secondary school building the Maoists took cover in to return fire at the CRPF is gone. The rebels blew up the school before escaping.

Saranda is a “laboratory for how to consolidate on security successes,” Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Rural Development, in a recent interview. Mr. Ramesh launched the Rs. 250-crore Saranda Development Plan (SDP) in 56 villages here in 2011 and has since announced similar plans for rebel-controlled zones in Latehar and Bokaro districts recovered through recent paramilitary operations. Two years on, Saranda villagers are still awaiting schools and health centres, even as mining companies have lined up to invest in the newly secured forests.

In Thalkobad, the adivasi villagers recall the pitched battle that August: most families fled to Karampada 13 km away for a month, 18-year-old Munna Soya and his father were taken by the Central Reserve Police Force in a helicopter to Ranchi on suspicion, detained and beaten in several police camps and later released, 50-year-old Jarda Honhaga was beaten so severely that he died in the hospital. From the 25 villages, 37 persons were arrested, more than 100 were detained.

The CRPF returned six months later bearing sarees, blankets, and farm implements. In the last few months, the villagers have watched the construction of a security camp next to their village, and then a road connecting Karampada to Jaraikela. Some have found temporary work with the road contractor and in MGNREGA. Others fear new mines will be opened in the forest. “If mines open our land will be ruined. The river will have only red water. We are not literate. How many of us will find jobs?” said Binodini Purti who cooked meals at the secondary school that was blown up.

Red area to ‘Lal paani’

Almost all the villages in Saranda struggle for drinking water. The forest is the catchment of three large rivers — Koina, Subarnrekha, and Damodar, and several streams flow through it. But there are 12 large mining companies operating in 200 sq km of this 800 sq km forest which holds one-fourth of India’s iron-ore reserves. The Ho adivasi living in the forest first launched ‘Lal Paani Andolan’ against the pollution of the streams from effluents and surface-run off in 1978 at Noamundi and their resistance has continued. “All 56 villages are in need of potable water. There is a problem of high iron content in the water,” notes the Saranda Plan outline of October 2011.

Thalkobad, Tirilposi, Baliba lie downstream of Steel Authority of India (SAIL)’s crushing plant at Kiriburu where ore is washed and crushed into uniform pieces. At Kiriburu, SAIL’s Rs. 4.23 crore-slime beneficiation machine meant to extract ore from the water that is discharged back into the river does not work. “It has not worked even once since it was inaugurated in 2010. When the inspection teams come, the guesthouses are full and the orchestra comes from Jamshedpur,” says a SAIL official. SAIL’s mines in Saranda accounted for over 80 per cent of its 15 million tonne production last year.

Downstream, villagers dig shallow pits, a few inches deep by the river to collect drinking water. Farms in Thalkobad, Karampada, Navgaon, Bandhgaon, Mirchgada, Bahada, Kalaita, Jumbaiburu have been ruined by the ore-laden water. “I cannot say about the beneficiation plant but the Kiriburu plant is being modernised. The river is polluted because private mining companies wash 200-250 dumpers carrying iron, oil and grease everyday in the river. I check them when I spot them,” said Dilip Bhargava SAIL General Manager (Mines).

More mining leases

Since January, the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure headed by the Prime Minister has recommended clearance for opencast mining in Saranda forest in areas that form the Singhbhum Elephant Reserve to three private firms. JSW Steel owned by Sajjan Jindal got lease of 998.7 hectares in Ankua forest division, Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) led by Congressman and industrialist Naveen Jindal got 512 hectares in Ghatkuri forest. The approval of 138.8 hectares forestland in Ghatkuri to Rungta Mines Limited was nearly completed last month. There are 155 proposals on the anvil for leases in 500 sq km — nearly two-thirds of the forest.

On paper, the proposals must first be recommended from the state government. “We have little say in the recommendations,” says a senior forest official. “There are over 600 elephants in Saranda. More mining may disturb their migration intensifying their attacks on villages,” says state Principal Chief Conservator of Forests A.K. Malhotra in Ranchi. A proposal by the department of forest to notify 63199 hectares forest in Saranda as inviolate is pending since 2006.

Ironically, the recent approvals to private firms are riding on the back of clearance given to SAIL in February 2011 to mine iron ore in Chiria in Saranda by Mr. Ramesh. Mr. Ramesh, then Minister of State for Environment and Forests had overturned the Forest Advisory Committee’s decision to grant approval to SAIL citing the Public Sector Unit (PSU)’s “Rs. 18,000 crore IPO on the anvil”. Private mining firms have cited the proximity of Ankua and Ghatkuri to SAIL’s Chiria mines to argue they too be granted permits in the already “broken,” what is no longer pristine, forest. Mr. Ramesh in 2011 said that in Saranda, he was in favour of mining only by the PSU but there was no executive order to back this or grant it legal status.

As the government has issued a slew of mining permits, the Minister in interviews to the media asked for a 10-year moratorium on mining in Saranda. “A gap of 10 years will allow the situation to stabilise, will allow building trust among the locals, and allow time to train and educate local people to take advantage of the economic opportunities that mining throws up but there seems to be a desire on the part of the government to allow mining in Saranda,” said Mr. Ramesh to The Hindu. There has been no public reaction from the UPA to Mr. Ramesh’s suggestion.

No new schools, or health centres

While in Thalkobad where the secondary school building was blown up by Maoists, Surendra Purti, a high school graduate from the village volunteers to teach teenaged children in the primary school building. He is not paid any wages. The teachers stopped coming long back and the nearest high school is in Manoharpur, 45 km away. At Tirilposi, the next village 17 km away, there are 90 school-going children but no building. “CRP sahib broke the roof,” explains village munda Budhram Gudiya.

The SDP’s original outline proposed 10 residential schools. Now, that seems all, but abandoned. “There is a plan to build one ashram school at Manoharpur,” says the recently-posted District Collector Abu Bakr. Mr. Ramesh explained the conceptual change in the SDP as both the interiority of the villages and the fact that “education and health are different ministries.”

The plan lists building 10 Integrated Development Centers (IDCs) — each will have a hospital, besides an anganwadi, ration shop, banks — only one has been completed at Digha this April. To improve health services, a mobile health unit has deputed since last October to visit all villages. “The ambulance visits regularly,” say villagers in Thalkobad. But it has not yet been spotted in Tirilposi though a motorable village road exists. In January an eye-health camp was held by a private hospital. “More than a third of over 1000 villagers had pterygium — a painful inflammation which may lead to blindness — because of exposure to mine dust,” said Dr. Bharti Kashyap.

There is hectic activity in all villages to build new Indira Awas houses. This March as part of the Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society’s efforts to provide long-term livelihood security, a team of trainers of Self-Help Groups from Andhra Pradesh visited Saranda. The team stayed 15 days in Thalkobad but no meetings have been held since it left. Villagers say they are unsure what to make of their visitors. “They said “hum se judiye”(join us). That is what the party (Maoists) used to say too, and look what followed,” said Binodini Purti. At Tirilposi, villagers explain it differently. “Most families earn Rs. 60 a day after selling siali leaves in the market in Barsovan in Odisha. What will we save?” asks Budhram Gudiya. Then there are families in debt to pay legal expenses. Guvida Honhaga (60) among those arrested by CRPF got bail last year after his son Bimal, a mine worker, spent Rs. 1,60,000 on legal expenses. “I borrowed Rs. 40,000 each from four people at 20 per cent interest. Now he is required to go Chaibasa court thrice a month and that costs Rs. 900 — a fourth of my salary,” said Bimal Honhaga.

Rubber stamp by gram sabhas

At Manoharpur block office, 40 km away, an official waved a sheet of blank paper with 40 signatures. “This is what the mining firms submit as gram sabha’s consent for mining. They call people to football matches and get them to sign anything,” he says.

Bilarman Kandulna, 25, a political science graduate from a Manoharpur college was elected panchayat representative in Digha in 2010. “Some manki-munda (community leaders) now roam in Scorpio SUVs, but a few boycotted the Electrosteel public hearing for Kudalibad mines last year. Last April, we held demonstrations in the villages. The company then shifted its public hearing in Bahihatu, 20 km away,” says Kandulna. “What is the use of forest pattas when they give mining leases in the same forest?” he asks. Of 812 claims for individual forest rights, 511 were accepted till April, the rest were rejected as they fell in mining lease areas. Though a significant number of community rights — over 1200 — have been granted under SDP.

At Jamkundiya at the house of Laguda Devgam, the manki of 22 villages, there is no Scorpio car, but there are three solar street light poles towering on three sides of his house — the only streetlights in the otherwise non-electrified villages in Saranda. They are inscribed as gifts from Rungta Mines Limited, Usha Martin Industries, and Tata Steel.

At Sonapi, one of the six villages that boycotted the public hearing, there is anger. “If anyone comes to your courtyard, something will be disturbed,” said Mary Barla. “We asked for a written commitment that the company will provide health, education, jobs but they did not do it. Instead they shifted the public hearing site. Now they are back again with blankets.”

 

Exchange on Saranda Development Plan between Aman Sethi and Jairam Ramesh


June 5, 2012

[1] http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3487034.ece
(Original report filed by Aman Sethi on June 4)

[2] http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article3494009.ece?homepage=true
(Jairam Ramesh responds to Aman Sethi’s report)

[3] http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article3494008.ece
(Aman Sethi responds to Jairam Ramesh)

The construction of 24 fortified police bases in the midst of Saranda, an 800-sq. km. patch of forested hills veined with a quarter of India’s iron ore reserves, has sparked concerns among political activists who believe that a development plan intended for tribals in Jharkhand has been hijacked by mining corporations.

In October last year, Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh and the State government, launched the Saranda Development Plan (SDP) to implement government schemes in 56 villages after a massive military campaign wrested control of the area from the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) after nearly a decade of rebel rule.

Yet, interviews with senior administrative officials, villagers and activists in Saranda suggest that development efforts could hinge on 80 km. of a proposed 130-km. road connecting villages situated atop iron deposits in Kiriburu, Karampada and Dhobil to an arterial road at Birsa on the Odisha border. Ministry of Steel documents indicate that steel companies have lobbied for the construction of this particular stretch of road before and after the SDP was announced. News reports claim that the State government has received proposals for mining leases in more than 500 sq. km. of the 800-sq. km. forest.

17 camps get clearance

“The camps will be built along this [Karampada-Bisra] road to provide security for development projects and to prevent the Maoists from re-establishing their presence in the area,” said Arun Kumar Singh, Superintendent of Police, West Singhbhum, in an interview. “While the first camp at Saidal is already operational, we have begun work at our next camp at Ankua.”

Mr. Singh said that the police hoped to construct at least six camps in the next two months before the rains began but declined to provide exact locations for these bases.

“Thus far, 17 camps have received clearance from the Forest Department and land for another three camps is under consideration,” said S.R. Natesha, Divisional Forest Officer for Chaibasa. Mr. Natesha, who is also the Special Executive Officer for the SDP, said three major camps would require 5 hectares of land, the rest have been allotted 2.5 hectares of land each.

Mr. Natesha and Mr. Singh did not comment on the logic behind land allotment. Police sources said the five-hectare camps would function as battalion headquarters while the remaining camps would serve as forward operating bases housing at least a company (approximately 70 fighting men) each. While 17 of these camps shall be manned by the Central Reserve Police Force, Indian Reserve Battalions operating under the Jharkhand Police shall man the rest.

Mining not development

“This road is 110 per cent built for the mines, not the people,” said Sushil Bahrla, a Congress party worker and former director of Birsa, a Jharkhand-based NGO focused on land rights and mining. According to the minutes of the Inter-Ministerial meetings chaired by the Ministry of Steel held in December 2010 and again in February this year, a number of steel investors expressed concern that the Ministry of Environment and Forests was delaying clearances for mining projects in Saranda, particularly in Kiriburu, Karampada and Meghahataburu.

According to minutes of the February 2012 meeting, steel representatives requested forest clearance and lease renewals for Chiria, Barsua and Dhobil mines, and noted “the bad condition of State roads/highways, particularly on the border of the States of Jharkhand and Odisha…”

Government figures state that of the Rs. 248 crore allocated to the SDP, Rs. 104 crore shall come from the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and will be spent on the 130 km of roads. “We have started the work for 7 km in the first stage,” said Santosh Satpathy, Jharkhand’s Rural Development Secretary. “The work will be completed in two stages. Already we have awarded work to contractors. So the road will soon be completed.”

Saranda plan intended to implement government schemes in 56 villages wrested from Maoists

Reports claim Jharkhand got proposals for mining leases in over 500 sq. km. of Saranda forest

—————-

[2]

I read Aman Sethi’s piece on the Saranda Development Plan (“Nine months on, police camps sole development in Saranda plan”, June 4) with great interest but with greater anguish. Before I deal with his main charge — that private mining interests are behind the SDP — I want to lay out what the SDP is all about. It is the first systematic experiment in combining a security-oriented and development-focussed approach in Maoist-affected areas on a large-scale. In July-August 2011, the CRPF and the State police jointly “liberated” this area of West Singbhum district of Jharkhand from 11 years of Maoist control and domination. One of the very first things I did after becoming Union Rural Development Minister in July 2012 was to initiate discussions with the State government on how best to consolidate on the success achieved by the CPRF and launch development activities in this most backward area. In October 2011, the SDP was prepared by the district
administration covering 56 villages in six gram panchayats of Manoharpur block. The population covered is around 36,000 (7,000 households).

The main elements of the SDP are as follows:

•Building houses for 6,000 households under the Indira Awaas Yojana which have already been sanctioned in December 2011.

•Appointment of 56 Rozgar Mitras from local tribal youth for MGNREGA works for which over 6,000 job cards have already been issued and something like Rs.60 lakh in wages have been disbursed.

•11 roads and one bridge to be constructed under the PMGSY for improving connectivity to all habitations, of which two roads are nearing completion.

•Implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 under which 2,122 claims have been received and 176 titles have already been distributed.

•Distribution of 7,000 solar lanterns, 7,000 transistors and 7,000 bicycles paid for by SAIL which is to be completed by end-July 2012.

•Launch of five mobile health units, again as part of SAIL’s corporate social responsibility programme, of which three are in operation and two more will start by end-July 2012.

•Start of six watershed development projects covering an area of around 36,000 hectares, which were sanctioned in February 2012.

•Improving access to drinking water supply for which 128 hand pumps have already been installed.

I have personally visited Saranda twice in the last few months and in response to a suggestion made by a local human rights activist have set up a broad-based monitoring group to see how the SDP is being implemented. I have been receiving mixed feedback — some local reports are positive but some others have raised questions.

Now, to Mr. Sethi’s main charge — that the main purpose of the SDP is to protect and enhance the interests of private mining companies. As the full picture of the SDP highlighted above will reveal, the daily concerns of deprived tribal communities are the very core of the SDP.

It is true that a number of private mining companies have their eyes on the mineral wealth of Saranda. But I can categorically assert that there was never any thought given to private mining when the SDP was conceived. Indeed, I distinctly recall that when I was Environment and Forests Minister, the issue of mining in the Saranda area had come up repeatedly and I had taken the position that only SAIL should be allowed to mine. On February 9, 2011 I had, in a publicly available speaking order (as indeed were all such decisions of mine in that tenure), clearly laid out the reasons for this special treatment for SAIL and the conditions associated with the forest clearance. Subsequently I am on record as having opposed opening up Saranda to private mining. In Paderu in Andhra Pradesh, I have consistently taken the view that bauxite mining — private and public — should be banned.

Regarding the expanded presence of the security camps in Saranda, I have been guided by the views of the district and State administrations who feel that it is premature to withdraw police personnel completely at this stage. It is true that I have facilitated with my erstwhile ministry clearances for setting up such camps. I make no apologies for it. The presence of the police is essential for enhancing public confidence. One Rozgar Mitra — Srikrishna Mahato — was killed by the Maoists on March 2, 2012. The Maoists and their many “front” organisations obviously do not want the atmosphere of fear and intimidation to be dispelled so that people can lead normal lives. The security camps are necessary so that rural roads that tribal people — not private mining companies — want get constructed and MGNREGA works proceed unimpeded.

(Jairam Ramesh is Union Minister of Rural Development. )

————-

With all due respect to Mr. Jairam Ramesh, I believe the Minister has misconstrued the central thrust of the article. As the lead paragraph makes clear, activists are concerned that “a development plan intended for tribals in Jharkhand has been hijacked by mining interests”.

At no point does the article imply that the Saranda Development Plan itself is a ruse by mining interests, or that Mr. Ramesh has interceded on behalf of said interests. Rather, it quotes activists who feel the SDP is being selectively implemented to suit certain powerful lobbies. As Mr. Ramesh himself has said in the past, a Union Ministry can only provide funds and guidance for projects like the SDP; implementation remains in the hands of the State government and local administration. This is why I chose to travel through Saranda and speak with villagers and local officials rather than rely on indicators like “funds sanctioned” or “projects okayed.”

Mr. Ramesh’s Ministry may be allocating funds on a war footing, but the results are yet to reach beneficiaries. On October 25, 2011, Mr. Ramesh wrote to the Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Arjun Munda, and outlined certain short-term interventions to be completed in six months (such as the distribution of solar lanterns, bicycles and transistor radios, distribution of BPL cards) and medium-term interventions to be completed in two years.

For the purposes of brevity, I offer the following anecdotes from a visit I made seven months after Mr. Ramesh’s letter to Mr. Munda:

— The Special Executive Officer in Charge of the SDP in Chaibasa said he was yet to receive his terms of office and his responsibilities were still being finalised.

— According to a SAIL official, in seven months the local authorities had distributed 200 radio transistors, 200 bicycles and 2,000 solar lamps out of an intended 7,000 of each.

— Not a single integrated development centre had been installed, though a foundation stone had most certainly been laid. Officials said the pre-fabricated structures were on their way.

— No BPL cards had been issued in the villages of Baliba or Thalkobad when I visited, and so neither village was eligible for houses under the Indira Awaas Yojana. While Mr. Ramesh may have sanctioned the construction of 6,000 houses, no official or villager could point me to a scheme beneficiary.

The only project that does seem to be progressing, my article notes, is the construction of 21 police camps. The article quotes the Superintendent of Police of West Singhbhum who says the camps will provide security for development works.

As a counterpoint, I spoke with Congressman Sushil Barla, who claimed that mining corporations have hijacked the SDP.

It must be pointed out that the SDP is primarily a confluence of existing schemes, rather than a special package. If anything, its implementation was supposed to set it apart from business as usual.

Immediate Release-Jharkhand is becoming a Military State- Fact Finding Report


Coordination for Democratic Rights Organisations(CDRO) FACT FINDING: SARANDA, PORAIYAHAT, May20-22nd 2012

Interim report/Press release
23rd May 2012
Jharkhand is fast becoming a military state. Similar to operation green hunt which was started three years ago in mineral rich forest areas resided by adivasis, brutal operations are being carried out continuously in Jharkhand as well. ‘Operation Anaconda’ was launched as a special operation in August 2011 in Saranda forest area of West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand. Reasons for speeding
up of such military operations by the state can be viewed in a twofold context. One the one hand mining activity in Saranda has been on the rise. Saranda is Asia’s largest mineral reserve and holds immense economic importance. On the other hand, contrary to the government claim that the area has been cleared of Maoist activity, infact it is far from being crushed.
In order to gather first hand details of the manner in which the state has reacted to the changing conditions on ground, an all-India team from the Coordination for Democratic Rights Organisations(CDRO) was set up constituting members from human rights organisations of Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand. The team conducted an
investigation in Saranda and the adjoining areas between 20th and 22rd May 2012.
What follows is a brief summary of the observations made by the team. In Puraiyahaat, in January 2011, hundreds security forces entered Kamaay village. They beat up people and arrested four of them called Marshall Bhuiyaan, Nelson Bhuiyaan, Premanad Bhuiyaan and Pinky Bhuiyaan. The first two are still imprisoned while the other two have to appear regularly at the Thana. They are all falsely implicated in helping the Maoists. The CRPF also destroyed property, and mixed food grains in this
village.
On the 20th of May itself, a security operation was conducted in Pandua village. Around 500 jawans entered the village at around 5.30 in the morning. Hallan Huttar was taken away blindfolded and handcuffed by the forces. Villagers now fear his death. Abraham Munda’s property was destroyed, and 3500 rupees were taken away. 15 year old Mithun Bhuiyaan was beaten black and blue. Munda’s
wife and her year and half old son were also beaten up by a high rank police official. One villager was looted of Rs. 10,000 which she had kept aside for buying ox for her fields. Also, a para-doctor here is frequently oppressed with the accusation of treating Maoists. According to the villagers this destruction continued in the village for almost three hours during which the forces also consumed
liquor and marijuana. Few villagers were even forced to flee from their village on that day. In the same village, on the 10th of this month when the forces attacked the village, they also misbehaved with the women here. It was shocking to know that there were no women in the force while women were tortured brutally.
The team also visited 4 villages of Manoharpur block: Tirilposi, Raatamaati, Deegha, Tholkobaad. In all of these villages, forces converted whole villages into their base camp for an entire month.Villagers had to hide in the jungles and many ran away to their relatives in nearby villages to escape oppression. Of those who were left in the village, men were held captive separating them from the
women. They were tortured and even had to relieve themselves wherever they were locked up. Old people who couldn’t run away were beaten up so badly that some of them even died. Houses were burnt and people jailed. Most of them are still in Chaybaasa jail, and according to their families they  are not even sure of the offense of which they are accused. In Tirilposi alone 17 people have been
imprisoned. Economically dented, these villagers are totally unable to follow legal proceedings to get relief. In one of the copies of charge sheets observed by the team, a villager was implicated in UAPA, CLA, and in addition also blamed of sedition and waging war against the state.
Additionally, it was observed that under the IAP, contractors from outside were given work which is against the rules of IAP.
Right after operation Anaconda was completed, the government started a development project in the name of Saranda Action Plan(SAP) under which villagers have been given solar panels, clothes, utensils, and sewing machines as short term trust building measures. The government also plans to introduce long term measures like livelihood options, building of check dams, and training for
employment among others. Simultaneously, in and around these villages security forces are also in the process of constructing permanent camps. Saranda will be home to 20-25 camps soon.
Certain questions come to the fore. How has the state suddenly woken up to the development needs of the tribals here after so long? Is it only a coincidence that Operation Anaconda, the SAP, and private mining project leases are falling in line together here in Saranda? Why has the government cracked down so hard all of a sudden on the people of Saranda?
A trajectory can be spotted in the actions of the government in Saranda. It is clear that the government has failed to estimate the real needs of the people. And with the maoist activity refusing to fade away, the government with the fear of losing ground has reacted frantically by launching brutal operations on the people. By terrorizing the tribals, the state is simply trying alternatives to sustain a larger foothold over them.
It is therefore that we demand, the following:
1. All CRPF, military and para-military camps be removed from the state
2. In the context of mining and SAP implementation, PESA and the 5th Schedule be implemented according to which decision making rests on the tribal communities.
3. All private mining activity be stopped immediately.
4. Justice for those who have been beaten up and exploited, and release of all those people who have been imprisoned and implicated in false cases. The perpetrators, the CRPF instead must be booked for the oppression meted out by them.
5. After this attack on their identity and existence, the autonomy of tribals should be left unaffected.
Members:
Shashi Bhushan Pathak, Aloka Kujur, Mithilesh Kumar, Santosh (PUCL Jharkhand); Puneet, Social
Activist, Naushad, Journalist (Jharkhand)
Gautum Navalakha, Shruti Jain, Megha Bahl(PUDR, Delhi)
Chandrashekhar, Narayan Rao, Rajavindam, APCLC, Andhra Pradesh)
Pritpal Singh, Narbhinder (AFDR, Punjab)
Rajeev Yadav, Shahnawaz Alam (PUCL, Uttar Pradesh)
Chandrika, Prashant Rahi (Independent journalists)

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