News Clippings

News Clippings 


1.Andhra police terrorising tribals: Naxal outfits TIMES NEWS NETWORK

    Berhampur, April 18. – Pro Naxalite organisations here have alleged that Andhra Pradesh police is terrorising villagers in the tribal villages along the border.

    The Daman Pratirodh Manch has urged Orissa government to immediately stop Andhra Pradesh Police personnel from ‘Illegally’ entering Orissa Villages and allegedly terrorising the tribals.
    According to the organisation, the Orissa government should also make it clear why it has not yet objected to launch a tribal agitation if the Orissa Government fails to put a stop to this.
    Substantiating its allegation, the Manch has said that on 7 April, an Andhra police team entered the Pedaguda village near Ramnaguda in Rayagada district and threatened the tribals living in the village.
    The convener of the organization, Mr. Dandapani Mohanty, said he along with some activists of the Andhra Pradesh Civic Liberties Organization went to the Pedaguda village to inquire about police atrocities.
    According to Mr. Mohanty, on 7 April, a group of around 100 grey hound personnel from Andhra along with CRPF personnel reached Pedaguda and accused the villagers of sheltering Naxalites. He alleged that several tribals had been beaten up by the police team. Dasuru patika, Bidika Kusia, patika Indira and a 65-year-old-woman, Droupadi Bidika, were injured in the incident.
    Mr. Mohanty said such action by Andhra police within Orissa’s terriotorial limits is not new. According to him in 1998, Andhra police had allegedly committed atrocities at Gata and Kapadanga villages. A pregnant woman had been killed in the incident.
    He further alleges that in December 2002, Andhra police had alleged killed a resident of Rekhapadar village called K. Nilakantrh and in March 2003, they had alleged police had a hand behind the death of Tadungu Kasu, a resident of Sunki area. The Manch also alleges that Andhra police had also arrested Kui language poet, Dasuram Majhi, from Orissa and kept him in custody for more than 16 months.
    According to the facts available with the manch, Andhra Pradesh has filed false cases against more than 200 persons living in villages near the Andhra-Orissa border such as Kandachampi, minajhola, Kinarmada, Paudapai, Bhagudi, Pandartala, Rekhapadar, Sikabadi, Bhoimada, Peadaguda.
    It is alleged that several innocents of Orissa are detained at the jail in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

2.Angry tribals halt bhumi puja, injure ADM

JAJPUR, May 9. — A day after chief minister Mr. Naveen Patnaik had asked the police to maintain peace in industrial areas and boasted of having created an environment conducive to inviting investments, Kalinga Nagar Industrial Complex, the hub of all steel-related projects, was rocked by violence today.

    The scheduled bhumi puja of Maharashtra Simplex Steel Plant, one of the many proposed projects at Kalinga Nagar, near Duburi was halted midway by a violent mob of tribals and locals who pelted stones and attacked police as well.
    They were demanding jobs or compensation from the company.
    'Additional district magistrate Mr. S Gopalan and several other officers were injured, some of them seriously, and had to be rushed to hospitals.
    Armed with traditional weapons, the mob ran amok at the 'bhumi puja’ site. Four platoons of armed police were also dispatched to quell the violence.
    No arrests have been made so far, Jajpur superintendent of police Mr. B Mishra said.
    Reliable sources said the finance minister, Mr. Prafulla Ghadei, who was scheduled to attend the 'bhumi puja’, returned from Jajpur town this morning.
    Sources said that the mob, comprising local residents and tribals was agitated at not being "taken care of" and were demanding enhanced compensation.
    The violence was its way of showing off its strength.
    It also insisted that the company should enter into negotiations with it on several issues such as providing it jobs or adequate compensation.
    Trouble began since this morning but the ADM had spoken to the residents explaining that the 'bhumi puja’ was being conducted after a MoU had been signed with the state government.
    But this did not convince the locals, many of whom were reportedly supporters of a ruling party heavy weight.
    They alleged that local BJD leaders had fried to appease them with promises of jobs, additional compensation work orders such as the supply of construction material but past experiences had made them wiser.
    An executive of another plant in the area said that such violence occurs when industrial houses fail to live up to people's expectations.

3.Tribal musical tools fast vanishing

Baripada, May 2: Several tribal ethnic musical instruments are fast vanishing into oblivion, primarily because the instruments are made from hides, skins or body parts of animal, included in the Grade Schedule of the wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
    Santhal social activist and general secretary of Mayurbhanj-based Society for Research and Development of tribal Cultures (SRDTC) Gurva Soren said besides the Santhal, other tribals too find it tough to replace their musical instruments as the animals, from whose hide these were made protected under the Act.

    Citing the case of ‘changnu’, a musical instrument used by the primitive tribals likes 'Bathudi'. 'Juanga' and 'Khadias', Soren said these were made from the hides of monkeys or deer both of which found a place in the Graded Schedule of endangered species.
    The Khadias, who lived inside the dense forests, believed that the tiger would not attack them if they performed the ‘changnu’ dance and music in the night inside the forest to the accompaniment of their traditional musical instrument. If the ‘changnu’ vanished, the tribes' cultural ethos would also disappear, Soren remarked.
    Similarly, Santhal's musical instruments 'kaandra' is made from an oval-shaped; hard shell of the freshwater turtles, an endangered species protected under the Wild-life Protection Act.
    Yet another instrument of the Santhals 'sakwa' (bugle) is made from the horns of the Indian Bison. The sound generated by this bugle could travel miles to alert the members of the community about a social congregation or to attend a prescheduled hunting excursion.
    Animal hides were also being used for making the 'dhumsas' or the 'kettle drums', the scholar said adding that yet another musical instrument called 'khanjani' used mainly by the Vaishnabs was prepared from the belly hide of the large Bengal Monitor Lizard, a seriously threatened species which has been included in the Schedule of the Wildlife Protection Act. Soren said. The soft musical tune would be lost if the hides of the animals are replaced with the skins of goats and cows.
    Besides, the instruments would lose their sanctity thus being disallowed to be used in me religious rituals or the 'jahira poojas'. The suggested documentation of the sounds of few instruments still left with the tribes. He also proposed a research study on how replacements could lie done with bides of other unprotected animals without losing the original musical charm.

4.Tribals oppose sanctuary plan

    PHULBANI, April 19. — A large section of tribals residing over a forest area of 339 square-km in the Kotagarh and Daringibadi blocks of Kondhmal where a wildlife sanctuary is supposed to come up are now determined not to leave their home and land.

    The tribals, who the administration claims, are already being instigated by a particular NGO working in these areas have indiscriminately felled hundreds of trees of valuable species in a few villages in Kotagarh and Daringibadi blocks and set fire of timbers, causing serious damage to forest wealth.
    According to the divisional forest officer, Baliguda territorial division, Mr. G R Patra, the Center had issued a notification in 1981 under Section 18 of the Wildlife Protect Act, 1972 for the establishment of a wildlife sanctuary in Kotagarh area and asked the state government to take steps in this regard.
    The government notification had prohibited the felling of trees, poaching of wild animals and other deforestation activities. After the initial resistance, the residents had kept silent. Their present protests helped the forest mafia, which has been active in Kotagarh, Daringibadi and Tumudibandh blocks and are out to loot the forest wealth. – SNS

5.Tough times for tribals, say activists

    Bhubaneswar: The tribals are in for a tough time with Orissa heading for industrialization, predicted human rights activists. Around 50 rights activists and 15 retired judges from across the country are taking part in the National Consultation of Retired Judges programme, which began here on Friday to discuss issues concerning rights violations.

    Colin Gonsalves, co-director of Indian People’s Tribunal, said the state government should take the local people into confidence before launching any project in the tribal areas. "No government ever listens to the people before evicting them to take up development work. This practice must j change," he stressed.
    Citing the instance of the Utkal Alumina project in Kashipur in Rayagada district, Gonsalves said though the tribals are not interested in the project, the state government is going ahead with it by deploying police to foil all protests against the company.
    Among other things, the eviction issue will figure prominently in the four-day meet where IPT is associated with the programme. "One of the sessions will be dedicated exclusively to issues like the displacement of tribals, starvation and environment degradation. Besides, we will discuss organizing public hearings on burning issues of rights violation," further informed Gonsalves. Public hearing is a major tool, which can bring forth major issues to public knowledge, he added.

6.From tribals to temples, a treasure trove for tourists

By Dikhya Tiwari

Bestowed liberally with bounties of nature, Orissa is a reservoir of tourism potential. Be it for its majestic monuments, bountiful rivers, beautiful beaches, luxuriant forests and rich wildlife, exquisite handicraft or even traditional tribes, the State attracts a large number of tourists from all over the globe. In fact, it is well said "but for the snows of the Himalayas, Orissa can offer all that the International tourists want."

Cultural Tourism

: Orissa is a crucible of culture. The cultural heritage of the State is mirrored in its breath-taking monuments ranging from 2nd century B.C. to 13th century A.D. The golden triangle embracing Bhubaneswar, Konark and Puri has acquired international acceptability. The sky piercing spire of mighty Lingaraj, sculpted archway of Mukteshwar, breath-taking architecture of Rajarani, the double-stored temple of Bhaskareswar and the 2nd century B.C. and honey-combed caves of Khandagiri and Udaygiri have been gifted by our ancestors for posterity. The Sun Temple of Konark is a heritage monument whose sculpture defies human comprehension. And of course the famous temple of Jagannath of Purl is one of the greatest pilgrim centers of the country.

Besides the monuments, handcraft, Patta, dhokra works, appliqué and textiles form important segments of the cultural fabric and speak volumes of unique craftsmanship.

Coast and Lake

: Nature has endowed Orissa with a Ions coastline of 480 km, punctuated by captivating beaches, which provide ample opportunities for enjoyment round the year.

The sea beach of Puri is rated as one of the best in the world. Close by is the virgin beach of Balighai. The other important beaches are Chandaneswar at Chandipur in Balasore and Gopalpur in Ganjam.

Shimmering in the luxury of its blue expanse, relaxes India's largest brackish water lake, the Chilika. The tourism potential of this lake entirely rests on its ecosystem. It is a natural habitat for winged visitors and a delight for tourists.

Forest and Wildlife

: The State is liberally clothed with forests, which are bristling with colourful wildlife. Important green covers are the Similiual forests (Mayurbhanj), which besides being a tiger reserve, is known for its orchids and waterfalls, the mangrove forests of Bhitarkanika (Kendrapara), the largest nesting around o^ Olive Ridley sea turtles, the thick forest near the Tikarpada gorge (Angul) across river Mahanadi and the forests in Kandhmal district rich with wildlife.

Tribal Tourism

: Tribal culture forms a colourful spectrum of Orissa and draws the attention of visitors from all over. The ancient tribals like Bondas make good study for researchers. Santhalas and Sauras are known for their paintings and musical instruments. No wonder, Orissa with its variety of destinations and rich cultural heritage is a premier destination for both domestic and foreign tourist.

7.Court Marriage amongst Juang tribals
(Source: Dharitri dated 24th April 2005)

    The traditional juang marriage is changing. Once inconceivable, the juang youth have begun taking shelter of the court to solemnize their marriage. The bridegroom Pitambar Juang (age 25 years) belongs to Talabali village of Banspal Block and the bride Chandrika Juang (age 20 years) belongs to Khajuribani village of Harichandanpur Block of Keonjhar District in the state of Orissa. They registered their marriage on 19th April 2005 in the office of the Legal Aid Centre managed by an NGO I.N.V. Advocate Sudhansu Sekhar Panda who heads this Legal Aid Centre claims that this marriage has been solemnized with the consent of the families of both the bridegroom and the bride. 

8.Birth Centenary Year of Pt. Raghunath Murmu is observed
(Source: Dharitri dated 4th May 2005)

    Pt. Raghunath Murmu who gave Olchiki script to Santhali language, had he lived, would have turned 100 this year. The tribal employees of Khurda Railway Division organised a cultural programme on 3rd may 2005 to observe this occasion. Mr. Megharai Murmu, Sr. Divisional Personnel Officer presided over the meeting. Mr. Ramji Malhotra the Divisional Railway Manager and Mrs Pinki Malhotra Chairperson of Eastcoast Railway Women’s Welfare Organization graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and Guest of Honour respectively. Mrs Manak Murmu conducted the cultural programme on behalf of the tribal women. 

9.Andaman Tribes at Risk of Extinction
Stanley Theodore in Hyderabad
(Source: The Statesman – 17th May 2005)

    May 16. — The Andaman & Nicobar tribes are in great danger now than ever before due to inbreeding among them, director of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Dr. Laiji Singh, said.
    "Many animals are crtically endangered due to inbreeding. What holds good for animals holds good for humans too. The tribes in these islands are at great risk of extinction." he told a press conference.
    The six tribes in the 572 islands are regarded as the "windows to the past" in the sense of how the world's population evolved after the first batch of migration out of Africa and towards India 50,000 to 70,000 years ago.
    The Great Andamanese is 20-member strong, Onge — 98, Shompens —180, Jarawa - 200 and Sentinelese — 250. The only tribe with relatively substantial numbers are Nicobarese — 22,000.
    The tribes are hunter- gatherers and need natural habitats like forests to exist. Dr Singh said during his interaction with Onges they expressed happiness at going back to the jungles instead of living in settlements organised by the government.
    The Sentinelese are primitive, hostile and strongly dislike any interaction with the world. After the 26 December tsunami there were fears that they were wiped out, but fortunately several of them survived.
    Dr. Singh led a path breaking DNA study of these tribes, barring the Sentinelese, to lend weight to the "out of Africa" theory. The five-year study showed that the tribes do no share genetic similarities with mainland Indian tribes, but with the African population.
    "The evolution of the tribes may be due to the initial penetration of the northern' coastal areas of the Indian Ocean by modern humans in their out of Africa migration. Therefore they are the windows to the look into the past and hence they need to be persevered," he said.

10.Andaman Tribes throw light on historic Journey
By Pallava Bagla
(Source: The Indian Express: 13th May 2005)

    New Delhi, May 12: In a discovery that could help rewrite the history of human evolution, scientists from Hyderabad have come up with startling evidence that India could very well have been the first stop in the long march from Africa. And that this journey happened through sea rather than land as is now widely believed.
    While scientists from the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) tracked this migration using modern molecular biological tools, vital clues came from an interesting source-lhe Onge and Great Andamanese tribes of Andamans.
    Reporting their work in Thursday's issue of the prestigious American journal Science, the scientists in association with an Estonian team-were able to reconstruct this prehistoric story of human colonisation by comparing DNA collected from living humans.
    Hunting for long-forgotten signs that erase fast when populations intermix, the seven-member CCMB team-led by Lalji Singh and Kumaraswamy Thangaraj-zeroed in on the Onge and Great Andamanese who have been living largely in isolation.
    Since no fossil records are available, the team used a novel approach of studying the latent molecular clock that is embedded in DNA.
    They recorded the tell-tale signs of his migration by way of unique mutations in DNA found in the powerhouse of cell scalled mitochondria.
    Using blood Samples, they compared the complete sequence of the mitochondrial DNA extracted from five members each of the Onge and Great Andamanese, all part of the negrito group of inhabitants of the islands.
    To their surprise, the team foundthat the Onge and Great Andamanese resembled the African population more closely. This, according tothem, could have happened only if the Onge and Great Andamanese were almost direct descendants of the first human beings.
    The CCMB findings suggest that when humans started migrating, one group used the coastal route to reach the Andamans and continued to survive in pure populations-all intervening signatures have been erased by time.

11. Green Brigade Joins Tribal Cause
(Source: The Statesman: 18th May 2005)
    BHUBANESWAR, May 17. — After a brief lull, the decade-old agitation against the construction of an alumina plant in Kashipur received a boost with a fact-finding team comprising Prof. S Parasuraman, director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Ms Manimala and Mr VT Padmanabhan, all environment, activists from Kerala supporting the tribals' cause.
    Talking to reporters following their return from Kashipur, the team said it was shocking how tribal rights to land and livelihood were being trampled on by a private company and the local police. They also alleged that the local residents were being kepi in the dark and there is no alternative source of livelihood being provided to them. Those who oppose the alumina project are subjected to police atrocities, they said.
    Mr Parasuraman felt that it was high time that the state government discusses all issues with the affected in the 22 villages and an environment impact assessment by an independent agency should be conducted. Incidentally, a proposed alumina plant of Utkal Alumina International Ltd has been hanging for a decade owing to a people's resistance movement. Of late, however, the government has been claiming that people had agreed to avail compensation and that the project would be carried out. The project is a highly mechanised one and is a 100 per cent export-oriented project. Hence, it will not benefit local residents.
    They regretted that the state government had no proper rehabilitation policy and was turning land holders to landless wage-earners. They also pointed out that tribal land cannot be acquired just to help a company make profits-extractive industries or mining-based industries instead of benefiting locals cause them more harm than good and the World bank has recently decided to stop funding such projects, Mr Parasuraman said. He expressed apprehensions about large scale damage to the environment in the area. The hillocks serve as watersheds but mining activity will destroy this and the streams may dry up, he observed. The teams visit was organised by Indian Social Action Forum. It has demanded the withdrawal of police and paramilitary forces from the villages, talks with people and stop total intimidation.


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