Protest Over Kalinga Nagar Steel Plant Revenge rant in Kalinga Nagar air
Maoist hand suspected in Kalinga Nagar flare-up Orissa's bullets pierce Jharkhand's tribal Heart
Dead tribals' palms chopped off for cop identification Naveen Faces Kalinga Nagar Funeral Heat
Tribal belt sits on tinder box Kalinga Nagar tribals vow to stay the course of struggle
Showing the way for fellow tribals Opposition indicts Naveen for violence
Jajpur Collector, S P under ‘ house arrest’ Tribals flex muscle over Naveen’s industry policy
Tribals protest bauxite mining in Niyamgiri Gavit for Changes in tribal rights laws
Blood flows as rehab packages gather dust Naveen urges NCC to veer tribal youths away from Naxals
Bandh cripples Orissa  

Protest Over Kalinga Nagar Steel Plant

By Rajaram Satapathy


    Bhubaneswar: The simmering anger against the government’s continuing industrialisation overdrive flared up into a massive public outpouring of rage that claimed the lives of nine persons in a police firing prompted by it. At least 40 persons were also injured.

    A havildar was hacked to death by the angry mob and six villagers, including a woman, died on the spot when police fired in the clash with tribals during their protest at the Kalinga Nagar industrial complex in Jajpur; 100 km from here, on Monday, Two others died in hospital later in the evening. The villagers were opposing what they called the forcible occupation of their land for a planned Tata Steel plant.

    Unconfirmed reports put the toll at 13, wh8ich includes 11 villagers. Jajpur SP Binaytosh Mishra, however reiterated that the toll did not exceed nine. Calling the situation" extremely tense" he said" We are keeping a strict vigil." A shocked state government rushed armed reinforcements to assist the local police in the area.

    About1,000 people, mostly tribals, tried to resist the construction of a boundary wall by Tata Steel at Nuagaon-Champakoila village on monday morning. The police claimed the protesters took matters to a head in no time and pounded on construction workers. "They attacked policemen and workers with lethal weapons. One constable was chopped to death. This prompted other policeman to fire in self-defence," the SP maintained.

    Reports claimed that the armed policemen did not fire straightaway but burst teargas shells. This failed to control the situation since the crowd, grossly outnumbering the men in uniform, shot sharp arrows and hurled bricks and stones relentlessly. "The crowd dispersed only after the firing, "DGP Suchit Das said.

    Many locals, however; disagree " I had only a bow and arrow but the police bullets were too powerful...they were merciless and fired in discriminately." Said 42 year-old Shyama Bamar.

    Sabitaa Dharia ofGobarghati concurred" We were about 3,000 people from 25 villages of four gram panchayats. There were hundreds of women and ch8ildren. The police beat up the women with lathis and opened fire. Several bodies have been dumped in a pond near Sarangpur where the firing took place." She said.

    The protesters were farmers who survived off their land. Police said the authorities had offered compensation to the tribesmen living off the land which they had summarily rejected.

    In November, protesters had blocked a similar construction attempt by Tata’s labourers. The police said the land had been acquired by the government for industrialisation initiative.

    Chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who called the incident" very unfortunate" announced an ex gratia of Rs 1 lakh to the next of kin of those killed and promised to reimburse medical expenses of all the injured.

    Officials attributed the violence to the ongoing tug-of-war between locals and the government over compensation for land being acquired for a series of steel plants and other industries . Kalinga Nagar, an upcoming the industrial complex, is the site of a host of propsed manufacturing units with investment running units with investment running into thousands of crore. Tata Steel, officials said, had been allotted about 2000 acres. A part of this land was handed over to the company about 13 years back. Tata officials, however, were unavailable for comment on Monday’s incident.

    Sources said the villagers were reportedly paid about37,000 per acre for the land which gave them their bread. Locals deemed this amount grossly inadequate. Only recently the government too had buckled under protests to offer Rs25,000 more per acre.

    Opposition leader J B Patnaik described the firing as" unfortunate and shocking."



Revenge rant in Kalinga Nagar air

By Sandeep Mishra\TNN

Duburi(Jajpur\ Bhubaneswar: Armed tribals took to the streets in Jajpur district on Tuesday, seeking revenge for the death of 12 fellowmen in police firing at Kalinga Nagar.

    In Bhubaneswar, a stunned Naveen Patnaik government said it would set up a judicial inquiry committee headed by a sitting high court judge to probe the violence that threatens to spark tribal protests within and outside the state. It, however: did not disclose when the inquiry would be completed.

    Armed with axes, bows and arrows and other weapons, hundreds of angry tribals blocked National Highway 200 and several other roads in Jajpur district. They burnt tyres at several points to stop traffic.

    There was tension, anger and sorrow everywhere. On NH-200 at Madhuban Chhak, a group of tribals stood guard next to the bodies of four fellowmen who were killed in Monday’s police firing. Nitima Banora of Majakhia said, " We ended up losing our lives while trying to protect our livelihood. Even if we have to die, we will not part with of our land."

    Banora’s companion, Nagi added, " They have killed my brother: What was his fault? The police showered us with bullets when we asked for proper compensation for our land. We will fight back." His voice choked as he helplessly looked at his brother's body lying in the middle of the highway.

    "Kukuda munda, ama munda saman to ( our lives worth as much as that of a chicken)," a tribal youth screamed as he tried to console a weeping woman who lost her relative in the firing. Some of his companions vowed to teach the government a lesson.

    Rumours about the police dumping bodies at secret locations made the situation more tense. Jajpur collector Saswat Mishra, who drew a lot of criticism for the Kalinga Nagar flare-up, put the death toll, including that of Havildar Gopaprasad Mohanty. At 13. More than 1000 villagers had zeroed in on the industrial hub to protest the construction of a wall for a Tata Steel plant. As tempers flared, the tribals badgered the havildar to death, prompting the police to fire.

    District civil and police authorities remained confined to the Kalinga Nagar police station. To pacify the protesters, they tried to speak to tribal leaders through " neutral" intermediaries throughout the morning. Their attempts bore fruit around 2.30 p.m. When the tribals agreed to sent their dead for post-mortem.

    Prior to this, the district authorities lifted the curfew, which was imposed on Monday evening, around 6 a.m. They said no untoward incident was reported from any where during the day.

    The scale of Monday’s violence left the authorities in a state of shock and confusion. Jajpur SP Vinaytosh Mishra said, " This time we were taken by complete surprise. On previous occasions, the tribals came armed, but never charged at us. We had to open fire after they butchered a cop in front of everybody."

    In the morning, Naveen visited SCB Medical college in Cuttack where 16 people, including 12 tribals, are under going treatment. At least six tribals are still in " critical condition".



Maoist hand suspected in Kalinga Nagar flare-up

By Sandeep Mishra\TNN

Bhubaneswar: Monday’s unprecedented violence in Kalinga Nagar has brought to the focus the need for proper handling of tribals" protests against the frequent acquisition of their land for industrialisation.

    For quite some time, under ground Maoists have been strongly opposing setting up metallurgical units by big houses.

    Considering this, observers did not rule out the possibility of the Maoists" hand in the Kalinga Nagar clashes that led to the death of at least seven people. They said the use of a bomb and the hacking of a policeman in full public view did not look like the acts of ordinary villagers.

    The observers said there was a strong possibility of Kalinga Nagar becoming vulnerable to rebel attacks mainly for two reasons. First, as the state’s industrial hub, it is in the process of having at least 10 steel plants. Including Tisco’s six MTPA units. Second the Communist extremist have a significant presence in Jajpur district, under which Kalinga Nagar falls.

    However, senior officials did not comment on the issue of a Maoist involvement, fearing an adverse impact on investments that the Kalinga Nagar has been attracting in a big way.

    DGP Suchit Das said, " We do not have any clear-cut information on the Maoists" involvement. It’s too early to comment." However, a police offical, who did not want to be named, added, " We are getting information on the role played by certain Leftist elements... We are not too sure about the Maoists... We cannot confirm or deny anything at the moment."

    Sources said the Maoists had been targeting companies setting up their nits in Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattishgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashatra. They said the rebels had been trying to moblise tribals against the government’s bid to " forcibly displace villagers in the name on industrialisation. "What has come in handy for them is the tribals" growing concern at the frequent agreements between the government and industrial houses on setting up new units.

    Significantly, finance minister P C Ghadei, who represents the Sukinda Assembly seat which includes Kalinga Nagar recently asked local youths to form " Biju Sena ", a private army, to take on all those opposed to industrialsation.



Orissa's bullets pierce Jharkhand's tribal Heart

Ranchi Tribals Promise Support To Orissa Agitation

Ranchi: The reverberations of Monday’s incident in Orissa’s Jajpur district are transcending borders and being palpably felt n Jharkhand, which has also lined up an impressive blueprint for industrial resurgence. Tribal outfits in the neighbouring state have wasted no time in reacting strongly to the police firing that killed 12 tribals who were protesting against the alleged occupation of land which has been the source of their livelihood.

    These outfits include the Parha Raja, Manjhi Pargnait, Munda Manki Doklo Sohor Maha Samiti, Jharkhand Mines area coordination Committeee, JOHAR and the Adivasi Adhikar Morcha. This poweful conglomerate of tribal representatives also announced theitr decision not to hand over" an inch of their land" in Singhbhum-one of India"s richest districts in terms of mineral wealth-or elsewhere in the state to industrialists. This is significant since large steel players, including the world’s richest Indian L N Mittal and Jindal Steel among others, have already signed a litany of MoUs with the state to set up plants here. Tribal organisations have also the state to set up plants here. Tribal organisations have also sent a delegation in three vehicles that heave left for Baripada to lend their support to their counterparts in Orissa.

    Several tribal groups have also called for daylong protest strikes and rallies in Noamundi, Sisngbhum and Karra block over the next few days.




Dead tribals' palms chopped off for cop identification


Controversy has arisen over the retention of five dead tribals" palms by the police for " future identification." These tribals were killed along with seven others in Mondays police firing near a Tata steel plant at Kalinga Nagar.

    The disclosure of the ghastly act of dismembering the bodies may worsen the situation in the tribal belt. Ex-stateIGP Anandi Sahu, who is now with the BJP, said, "This is highly improper. The police are trying to spark a riot. They can be tried under Section 153 of the IPC"

    State CPI secretary Nityananda Pradhan and human rights activist Prabir Das sought a probe into the incident by the National Human rights Commission. Pradhan equated the chopping off the tribals" palms with" the torture of dead bodies by US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan."

    However, IGP( Law and order) BB Mishra alleged that the doctor, who performed post mortem on the bodies in Jajpur District Hospital cut off the palms on his own. He said:" The police did not ask for the palms, It’s the doctor who did it. We will seek action against him. Only 10 fingers are retained for identification."

    A late night report said three doctors believed to be involved in the gruesome affair were suspended forthwith.

    Earlier, the Kalinga Nagar Police said they retained the palms for identification. All the 12 dead were cremated at a mass funeral at Nugaon near Kalinga Nagar on Wednesday.



Naveen Faces Kalinga Nagar Funeral Heat


Jajpur\Bhubaneswar: Thousands of tribals on Wednesday gave a tearful farewell to 12 fellowmen who died in Monday’s police firing at Kalinga Nagar: They organised a mass cremation for the dead near the statue of legendary tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda at Nuagaon village, about 120 km north of the state capital.

    With this, the tribals, who are hurt and angry, made it clear that the " sacrifice of the 12 martyrs" has become a rallying point for them in their fight against the "usurpers" of their land, since morning, they started marching into Nuagaon from different parts of jajpur district with their traditional weapons. All through, they shouted slogans hailing the "martyrs" and condemning the government.

    Seething with anger, Sriram Hembram, a tribal, said, " Compensation or no compensation , We will not allow anyone to usurp our land." Considering the belligerent mood among the tribals, district authorities closely monitored the mass funeral.

    Fearing a fresh flare-up, a team of four state ministers and ruling BJD leaders, who visited kalinga Nagar; avoided any direct interaction with the tribals. They discussed the situation with the district officials away from the notice of the tribals.

    The delegation comprised minister Surendranath Nayak, Pramila Malick, Balabhdra Majhi and Debasis Nayak and BJD leaders Debi Mishra, Jayram Pangi and Archna Nayak. Home Secretary Santosh Kumar also accompanied them.

    In Bhubaneswar, the opposition turned more heat on chief minister Naveen Patnaik. The congress mounted pressure on him to quit of office. It, along with many other political organisations and trade unions, backed the January 7 statewide general strike. The Kalinga Nagar Surakshya Samity has called the bandh in protest against Monday’s firing.

    Significantly, to prompt a possible anti-government campaign by his rivals, Naveen on Monday asked the Opposition " not to take political mileage of the situation. State congress president Jaydev Jena said" We are not playing politics but are talking about a human issue... Naveen is trying to give political colour to this issue... He has little knowledge of the tribal" problems ."

    Naveen met and briefed governor Rameswar Thakur about the developments releated to Monday's violence. Prior to this, he sent the team of ministers and party leaders to Kalinga Nagar for an on-the-spot study of the situation.



Tribal belt sits on tinder box


Bhubaneswar: There is no doubt that Monday’s violence in Kalinga Nagar has put brakes on the Naveen Patnaik government’s industrialisation overdrive. The tragic incident that led to the death of 13 people has also brought to the fore how dangerously the state’s tribal belt is sitting on a tinderbox.

    For quite some time, the state’s tribal population has been showing signs of restlessness over the frequent acquisition of their land by big companies from within and outside the country. The tribals comprise 22 per cent of the state’s 3, 65 per cent of the State’s 3,65 crore population.

    Considering the strong protests that it drew from the country’s tribal community, Monday's incident has the potential of spreading the state’s tribal unrest to neighbouring Chhatishgarh and Jharkhand .These two states have also been witnessing resistance by tribals against the allotment of their land to industrialists.

    A number of organisations like the Adivasi Mahasabha, the Lok Sangram Manch and the Daman Pratirodh Maanch have jointly opposed the police action in Kalina Nagar: JMM chief Shibu Soren arrived here on Wednesday evening to meet families of the victims. He said, "This incident is similar to the Jalianwala Bagh massacre. We will launch a nationwide campaign against it."

    Officials admitted that the situation is " volatile and can take any turn, "DGP Suchit Das " We have to remain alert... We are keeping a close watch on the developments across the state"

    In the past, Kalinga Nagar witnessed at least two major violent tribal campaigns. In may, they attacked an additional district magistrate and a policeman during the bhoomi puja of Maharashtra Seamless Ltd. In Jajpur district. In November: they laid seige to the Kalinga Nagar police station and detained the district collector and SP for about five hours.

    Similarly, Kondh tribals have been up in arms in Keonjhar district for quite some time. They are opposing mining around iron ore rich Khandadhar waterfalls. The primitve Dongria Kondhs of bauxite-rich Niyamgiri Hills in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts are also unhappy with Vedanta Alumina Limited . Recently they organised a massive protest rally here.

    On Monday, tribals attacked six non-muster roll workers and a contractor with traditional weapons at the construction site of the controversial Chelligada Irrigation Project over Badajara river in Gajapati district. The major complaints of the tribals are loss of land and livelihood, inadequate compensation and improper rehabilitation.



Kalinga Nagar tribals vow to stay the course of struggle


JAJPUR an. 9- Debendra Jarika, an educated tribal boy of Chandia village which was one of the place4s worst ht after the Kalinga Nagar firing incident, talks about people’s complete distrust of the government. " Out of 634 ousted families members of only 182 have got jobs in Nilachal Ispat Nigam Ltd- ad a few among them were appointed on regular basis. The rest were pushed to go in for begging or toil in stone crusher units to make two ends meet, " he said.

    The dismal track record of the government in rehabilitating the displaced the area had sown the seeds of hatred on the minds of people towards the administration. " No amount of promise will alleviate the feelings of the tribals who have witnessed their brothers become beggars, "Jarika said. " Our struggle is going on and we will not part away even a inch of land whatever be the measures the government would announce in the compensation or rehabilitation package. We will not let anyone usurp our land to set up industrial units," said Sumari Alda, a woman agitator resolved to see that their fight for justice succeeds.

    The arrests of many tribals in the recent past had angered the community and united them in their fight against injustice. " If Naveen Patnaik government arrests one Rabi there will be hundreds of other Rabis to join the bandwagon, "thundred Sumari while referring to the arrest of Rabi Jarika, The tribal was arrested a couple of months back when he had gone to Bhubaneswar to attend a meeting. Sini Soy, the mother of Bhagaban Soy, who was killed in the police firing on 2 January at Kalinga Nagar said that they would rather prefer to die than give up the land for industrial purposes."

Road blockade continues

    For the eighth day in a row, the entire stretch of Daitary Paradip Express Highway was today under the siege of tribals who had dropped in braving severe cold wave. The tribals armed with their traditional weapons have been squatting near Madhuban in Ambagadia village where the mass cremation of twelve persons who were killed in the police firing was conducted. Vehicular traffic between Chandikhole and Duburi along Paradeep Daitary Express Highway remained disrupted today also.



Showing the way for fellow tribals


KORAPUT. Jan. 8- Jani Paindi (35), of Lungri Village in Semiliguda block is a happy man now. He has 11 acres of land in his name and probably the only tribal to have succeeded in adopting modern and diversified farming.

    He has separate nurseries for flower plants, medicinal plants, fruit bearing plants and a good amount of land dedicated to paddy and ragi cultivation. Apart from his own land he has also taken some land on lease. He lost his father Dasarathi Paindi was a daily labourer in the village, working for others in their fields as and when required> He had no land of his own. After his death Jani had no other option than to engage himself to sell firewood in the market. But gradually, he could save some money out of his earnings and took a piece of land on lease and started his life cultivation.

    His determination to excel began to show its effect , convinced on his efforts, the Sunabeda branch of KPG bank extended its helping hand to finance him for purchasing a piece of land for him under Kishan Credit Card scheme and helped him to grow nursery of various plants. E received the expertise through different training programmes starting from KVK at Semiliguda to Laxmipur, Gopalpur and Kolkata being sponsored by the government agencies.

    After getting convinced that training on they trade helps to grow effectively Jani also went to take training at his own cost in Sunabeda and Sundergarh. He undertakes preparation of nurseries according to the needs of the customer.

    He has a green house and being a progressive farmer, he plans to have some mechanised farming to increase his income. Speaking to this correspondent, Jani said that many natural herbs of high medicinal value are getting extinct day by day from the locality. Jaani has dreams to develop a nursery for those rare medicinal herbs having their origin in the area.

    He and his wife Rupa work hard in the field to see that their two children get proper education. Jani’s success story is a silver line in the darkness of non performance by many and has been a proof of the fact that wonders could be achieved if personal effort is successfully attached to timely help.



Opposition indicts Naveen for violence


BHUBANESWAR. JAN2-The opposition today condemned the police firing at Kalinga nagar in which several tribals including a woman were killed and demanded thje resignation of chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik, who holds the home portfolio.
    It is a massacre of tribals by the Naveen Patnaik government, a new year gift of the chief minister, thundered a Congress delegation led by the OPCC president, Mr Jaydev Jena which had visited the spot.
    The Jibika Banchao Andolan, fighting for the rights of the displaced people, has given a call for "Jajpur Bandh" in a protest against the "gory incident".
    The organisation has also demanded a judicial probe into the incident.
    A fact-finding team of OPCC, led by its president Mr Jaydev Jena arrived at the spot to find out the circumstances leading to the police firing, described the incident as horrendous.
    AICC secretary and fformer Rajya Sabha member, Mr Rama Chandra Khuntia demanded a judicial inquiry into the police firing and compesation of Rs 10 lakh to the family members of each victim.
    Condemning the incident, Orissa Gana Parishad president Mr Bijoy Mohapatra said it had proved the BJD-BJP governemnt’s policy to go ahead with industrialisation at the cost of lives of poor and innocent tribals.
    It has been clear that the administration was hell bent on starting industrial projects by tramping upon people, remarked Mr Mohapatra.
    The OGP chief said that a delegatyion of Opposition parties would to to Kalinga agar area in order to conduct an on-the-spot investigation.
    CPI-M state secretary Mr Janardan Pati described the BJD-BJP government as a "killer of tribals". The government which is insensitive to the problems of dsplaced people is acting as an agent of big industrial houses, he alleged.
    The party demanded stern action against the police and district officials responsible for the police firing and adequate compesation as well as job to the family members of the victims.
    CPI (ML) state secretary Mr Gananath Patra and secretariat member Mr Gananath Patra and secretariat Member Mr Sibram alleged that the Kaalinga Nagar incident was the fallout of aconspicracy by the state government to stifle the voice of protest by the displaced people for ever.

Jajpur collector, S P under ‘ house arrest’


Bhubaneswar: Hundreds of local tribals on Saturday night kept the collector and the SP of Jajpur district under ‘house arrest’ for several hours demanding release of three tribal youths.
    Collector Saswat Mishra and SP Binaytosdh Mishra were ‘ holed up’ inside the Kalinga nagar police station after it was stormed by more than a thousand of local tribals.
    The tribals were infuriated by the arrest of three youths early on Saturday on charges of extorting money from truck drivers along NH_200, which passes through Kalinga nagar, the hub of industrial activities in the state.
    Arguing that the youths were arrested when they were distrubting leaflets, which highlight ‘ harassment’ of local people by the district administrators, to passing truckers, the tribals said extortion charges were framed against the three" We have been demanding compensation from the government for lands utilised for industrial purposes," a tribal leader said.
    However, Mishra contended," The police arrested the local youths as they were forcibly collecting money from truck drivers along the national high way."
    The SP said miscreants often indulged in extortion along the highway posing as tribal activists. Further, the police would initiate action against those who were disturbing law and order after the arrest of three registered against eight persons for blocking the Kalinga nagar police station. Though none have been arrested so far,, action would be taken restoring to vandalism near the station ," he said.
    "Some outsiders with vested interests are engaged in instigating the local tribal people against the police. They will be soon identified and the police would initiate action them," Mishra added.
    Sources said the local people tribal residents in particular: were up in arms against the police ever since the arrest of 26 persons, including 25 women, on charge of disrupting the bhoomi puja of Maharashtra Seamless Pvt. Ltd earlier this year.



Tribals flex muscle over Naveen’s industry policy


Bhubaneswar: Thousands of tribals on wednesday held a mahameli ( mass convention) at Duburi in Jajpur district to protest the Naven Patnaik government’s industrialisation overdrive. The protest the Naveen patnaik governemnt’s industrialisation overdrive. The protest is part of a resistance movement being set up by the tribals to oppose the government’s ostensible bid to displace them to make available more land for industrial houses.

    Nearly 8000 men, women and children belonging to different tribal communities as sembled at Indira Gandhi Maidan in Kalinga Nagar-the state’s industrial hub-and raised slogans against the "governments anti-tribal policies". They accused the government of not caring for the impoverished tribal population.

    The mahameli was organised close on the heels of the Saturday night incident where the Jajpur police arrested three youths on charge of extortion. The local people gheroed the Kalinga Nagar police station and kept collector Swasat and SP BT Mishra under ‘house arrest’ for several hours demanding release of the local youths.

    While the police claimed that the youths were extorting money from the on NH-200, the tribal leaders alleged that the police had made false charges against them. A couple of months back, the tribals had attacked some officers during bhoomi puja for a proposed steel unit of the Maharashatra Seamless Ltd.

    Tribal leader Chakradhar Haribru said while the government was receiving good amount of revenue from industries for allotting lands, the displaced people got only nominal price. This apart, Haibru said the industries and their hench men’ attacked tribal people and acquired more land then their demarcated area. He also alleged that the police targeted innocent people, whenever any untoward incidents happen in the locality.

    Sources said the government set up a full-fledged police station in the industrial area of Jajpur district as it expected continuous violence threats. The local people have been taking law into their hands, a senior district official said.



Tribals protest bauxite mining in Niyamgiri


Bhubaneswar: "Sarkar, do not touch our Niyam Penu (GOD), " was the slogan that rent the air here in front of the Assmbly on Monday whe over 100 protesters belonging tribal group of Munigudia area , staged a demonstration.

    The primitive tribal groups in Kalahandi, Rayagada and Koraput districts, who live on hilltops and forests are opposed to the government’s decision to allow bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri hills.

    The protesters, who visited the state capital for the first time in their life said they do not know who Naveen Patnaik is "Naveen is the son of legendary Bijupatnaik. This is all we know. Biju patnaik is the government, " said Bari Pedikaka, an illiterate from Trahali village of Rayagada district, with no information that their beloved leader Biju passed away eight years ago.

    Pedikaka, however, claimed that he was aware that the government planned to undertake bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri hills, " if the government hurts our Niyam Penu, he will stop the water to Vansadhara river and several other springs,’ said pusika Dadi of Garatha village, who came here in traditional attire.

    The tribals consider the hill range their rice bowl. " We would rather die than allow the government to touch the hill top that is full of herbal plants," Kumuti Majhi of Niyamgiri surakshshya Samiti said. Majhi apprehended that that the entire area would turn into a desert if the ecological balance of the Niyamgiri hills was slightly disturbed.

    " Niyamgiri is not just a hill range for us. It has been worshipped as Niyam penu since generations by thousands of tribal people living in a around it," said Bijay Kumar Baboo, an activist of the Niyamgiri Surakshya Abhijan that is spearheading a campaign against mining activities in the "ecologically sensitive" Niysmgiri hills.

    A group of Congress legislators has extended support to the tribal demand to protect Niyamgiri hills. The congress MLAs have already drawn the attention of president APJ Abdul Kalam highlighting the ecological significance of the Niyamgiri hills.



Gavit for Changes in tribal rights laws

Berhampur: Union minister of state for home Manikrao H Gavit on Thursday underscored the need for suitable amendment to the existing laws on tribal rights.

" several amendments have been made to Acts related to tribal rights, but these are not adequate enough to provide justice to the people<" he said addressing the valedictory function of the two-day All OrissaLawyers" Association here, "The time has come to enact and implement in toto a strong legislation for protection of tribal rights,"

"The mafia has exploited the tribals of the country in the various ways and land sharks have usurped their ancestral property in several states. Naxaslism in tribal-dominated areas gas been an offshoot of this explo because the miffed people have decided to fight back and demand their socio-economic rights however, in some instances social tension has also been branded as Naxalism and crime." Said the tribal leader from Maharashtra.

The union minister said the Centre would assist Orissa in tackling the Naxlite problem." But the state should utilise central funds (Sanctioned to tackle the Maoists through development projects in the affected districts) in a proper way".

Gavit also exhorted the lawyers to playa positive role to providfe justice to the tribal and the poor: Berhampur MP Chandra Sekhar Sahu and several senior advocates of the State thanked the minister 



Blood flows as rehab packages gather dust

Bhubaneswar- The Kalinga Nagar deaths could have been avoided had the state government considered a rehabilitation package recently put forward by the National Human Rights Commission. Or, even if it had taken a lesson or two from two recent flare-ups over similar issues in the area.

Instead, the administration seemed overconfident of tackling any untoward situation by flaunting the police muscle even as the NHRC report-it has a human face with enough empathy for the displaced tribals-was gathering dust in the government offices. A UNDP draft rehabilation policy of a similar nature has also lying in the backburner when violence erupted on Monday.

The NHRC report was prepared by special rapporteur A B Tripathy in the backdrop of the May9, 2005 tribal unrest in the area and the subsquent arrest and detention of 25 women and14 children. Two infants and two aling adults had died in the abscence of the jailed womenfolk. The report stated that the arrests were "no doubt a violation of aall canons of human rights" and that the authorities had acted" delibarately" to "elease of the females."

The situation soon flared up again at the proposed industrial hub and threatened to spin out of control during the bhoomi puja of Mahashatra Seaamless factory. The Nhrc observed the situation was " quite avoidaable" before strongly disapproving of keeping a " volatile armed erowd engaged for more than five hours" at the site. It had among other things suggested an increase of the compensation amount, construction of houses with provision of common facilities, creation of employment opportunities aand building of colonies for workers and displaced people.. " This should be done right now,otherwise precious time will be lost," the report pointed out, somewhat prophetically.

With the administration shutting its eyes to the tribal demands, the third and the worst flare up took 13 lives. In hindsight, it was a ready receipe for disaster- over 10 platoons of police forces came face to face with hundreds of armed tribals at the Tisco construction site.

More surprising and brazen was what B B Mishra, IG-Law and order had to stay in defence"The government is there to extend all help for peaceful handover of the (disputed) land to the ( concerned) industrial house. Hence we had to deploy a huge police force>’ He maintained the police firing took place only after the tribals became violent.

The tribals, though, got a shoulder from unexpected quarters. Several senior ministers and officials felt the Jajpur district authority handled the situation in the most " brazen manner". A senior minister told TOI on conditions of anonymity: " The killing of so many tribals is a blotch in the government’s image. It was vatural for the tribals to get restive when they saw their lands being snatched. The district officials and the police handled the incident quite inptly. "

The outrage in the administration seemed understandable considering that never before in Oriisa were 12 tribals killed in one incident. The death of three people in the December 16, 200 firing at Maikanch in the Rayagada district had witnessed when it came toa administration versus masses confrontation.

Coming to the UNDP report, official sources here said even on previous occasions of flare-ups of similar nature, the state had been advised to go for a ccomprehensive rehabilitation policy, that would suit the displaced people. The UNDP draft policy, submitted to the goverment last july after two years of intense study, seemed a case in point. The report, the sources said, was prepared keeping in mind the international norms focusing on making the displaced persons partners of the developmental works, giving at least five percent equity in the concerned industries and sharing a portion of the profit amongst themselves as well.

The report also suggested a constitution of resettlement authority in order to establish the much-needed linkage between the affected people and the government in the areas of compensation and rehabilitation. The UNDP also recommended higher compensation for the tribals because "They are sacrificing their lands for someone to develop."



Naveen urges NCC to veer tribal youths away from Naxals

Bhubaneswar-The state government has askedNCC authorities to help tribal youth join the mainstream by encouraging them to take part in the crops" activities.

"NCC training would certainly help deter tribal children in KBK region from being wooed by the Naxalites in the region to join their ranks," CM Naveen Patanaik said on Saturday at a meeting with DG Lt-Gen. M C Bhandari at the Secretariat here,. " This will help the government curb the increasing spell that M aoists weild overthe youths of this tribal- dominated belt." Said an official keeping this in mind, the government hjas proposed two new NCC squadrons at Potangi in Koraput and at Sambalpur town.

Bhandari said the NCC is also planning to establish its fourth group centre in KBK. " I have informed the CM about the NCC’s in tention to have a group centre in the region. The state currently has, three group centres at Cuttack, Berhampur and Sambalpur.

The NCC chief also informed that the Centre has enhanced its share of NCC expenditure, with the states now having to foot only 25% of the bill. "The Orissa government should increase its contribution in order to facilitate the NCC to organise more training camps for the cadets," he said. He lauded the achievement of the cadets from Orissa in national and international competitions and urged the government to provide jobs and seats in technical colleges to cadets ona priority basts.

Bhandari welcomed President APJ Kalam’s suggestion to make NCC programmes compulsory for all students. " But we do not have the requisite number of traiers fro this. " he added.



Bandh cripples Orissa

Statesman News Service

    BHUBANESWAR, Jan.7-The opposition sponsered dawn to dusk Orissa bandh call was a success with normal life being paralysed across the state. The bandh was called to protest against police firing at Kalinga Nagar on 2 January in which 12 tribals were killed.

    Tribals armed with traditional weapons thronged streets leading to the state secretariat and raised slogans against chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik.

    Educational institutions, banks, road and rail traffic as well as business establishments remained closed. There a spontaneous response to the call given initially by Kalinga Nagar Surakshya Samiti and supported by all Opposition political parties. Even official sources admitted that the bandh was "widespread". Though reluctant to use the sord " successful", these sources said it had evoked response in all parts of the state. The bandh was peaceful except for minor incidents, observed home secretary Mr Santosh Kumar, several trains were either cancelled or controlled. Twenty-two trains were cancelled including the Bhubaneswar Secunderabad Visakha express, Bhubaneswar-Howarh-Bhubaneswar Jan shatabadi express, Sambalpur-Howardf Ispat express and Howarh-Bhubaneswar-Howarh Dhauli express, he said . Departure of seven trains-the Howarh-Secunderbad Falukuma Express, Howarh-Hyderabad Faluknuma Express, Howarh-Hyderbad East Coast Express, Hoswwarh-Chennai Coromandel Express, Puri-Ahmedabad Express, Puri-Guwahati Express, Puri-Nizamuddin Neelachal Express and the Bhubaneswar-Mumbai Konark Express had been rescheduled to leave from their respective organising stations.