May 13 2010
Shri Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare
State of Orissa
Sub : Police firing on tribals in Chandia Village, Jajpur Dsitrict
Dear Sri Bhandare,
We are deeply pained and anguished to hear of police firing yesterday morning, May 12, which claimed the life of Lokma Jamuda, aged 50 and has left atleast 20 people injured in Chandia village, Jajpur District. The police lathi charged and resorted to firing on the adivais, mostly women, when they protested against the forceful demolition of their houses. This however has now become a common affair in the area. The government and the corporate houses in the area are using every weapon they have at hand to break the strong and peaceful resistance put up by the villagers in defence of their land. Kalinganagar is no less than a war zone today.
People are confined to their villages and cannot move about freely for fear of being arrested by the police or attacked by the private militia. Many have not left their villages for more than a year. Lack of medical aid has led to many deaths and the critically ill have no option but to wait for theirs. The school in the area has been shut down on the false argument that there aren’t enough people in the area. The infrastructure is not being developed because the area has been declared a disturbed area. Heavy police has been deployed in the area to create an atmosphere of fear. As of now 23 villagers are languishing in jail under false charges, many for over a year. Every strategy is being put to test to break the people. Confine them, deprive them and drive them to a point of desperation.
Industry after industry is springing up in the area and feeding off the mountains that have been home to the adivasis. The mountains look severely wounded and infested with a disease that can only create horror. While the corporates are gnawing away at the mountains the adivasis have been left to deal with the raising rate of tuberculosis and cancer in the area. The nexus between the private militia, local goons and the police administration are constantly attempting to squeeze out every bit of resistance and strength the adivasis have nurtured for past five years. Two of our alliance members from Delhi along with others visited the area between 6-8 May and their experience corroborates the same.
The national outcry over the killing of 13 advisasis in January 2006 has not done anything to improve the situation in the area. The State government has failed to protect the interests and rights of the tribals and their land is being snatched away from them and are denied their constitutional right to say ‘no’ to exploitative and destructive development. Even the Judicial Commission which was instituted in 2006 till date has not submitted its report and continues to face bureaucratic hurdles. This grave violation of democratic rights of tribals is being perpetuated by the very state that is supposed to protect them. We condemn all such actions and demand that :
*The police and administrative officials responsible for the killing and attack be punished and directly responsibility be fixed for the same.
*Freedom of movement, medical aid and other facilities be made available to the villagers of Chandia and any further police action must be halted immediately.
*The Judicial Commission be asked to submit its report in next two months and guilty officials be tried under the law of the land.
We do hope you will take necessary action in this regard and the government of Orissa will fulfill its constitutional obligations and protect the rights of the tribals.
Aruna Roy, Medha Patkar, Sandeep pandey, P Chennaiah
Arundhati Dhuru, Maj. Gen (Retd) Sudhir Vombatkere, B Ramakrishna Raju
Anand Mazgaonkar, Praful Samantara, Pervin Jehangir, Vimal Bhai
Madhuresh Kumar, Shazia Nigar.
Sri Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Orissa
Sri B K Mohanty DM, District Jajpur
Sri D S Kutey, SP, District Jajpur
Sri P Chidambaram, Home Minister, Union of India