India: Police Repression in HazaribaghPublished by MAC on 2013-05-21
Source: Statement (2013-05-14)
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Police Repression in Hazaribagh
False Cases Against the protesters
JMACC (Jharkhand Mines Area Co-ordination Committee)
14 May 2013
Johar, Jai Bhim and Zindabad!
We, the people, the organizers and representatives of Karnpura Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, would like to bring to your notice the recent upsurge of police and state repression in Jharkhand - a battle against land displacement, that is all to familiar to Koodankulam, Nandigram, Kalinganagar, the Anti-POSCO movement, Niyamgiri, Nagri and countless more.
- In 2005, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) acquired mining lease for captive mining in an area covering 16 villages of 3 blocks- Pankiri Barwadi, Chatti Bariyatu and Keredari in Hazaribagh District of Jharkhand.
- The coal from these blocks will go to their Singrauli plant and later (still in planning stage) to their North Karnpura thermal power plant in Tandwa, Chattra, Jharkhand.
- Today the total number of villages to be displaced has risen to 60, with the total affected population being close to 40,000 as opposed to 16,000 which is the claim made by the company.
- The lease period for these mines is 42 months
- From 2005 till date mining has not begun despite the fact that NTPC leased out the mining operations to THIESS INDIA, an Australian company based in Kolkata, in 2009. This is their first project in India.
On April 29, 2013, DECO, a mining company working for Thiess India, went to Chirudih Barwadih village, Barka gaon block to start mining work, but were chased away by the villagers. The NTPC assured the people to call for a Gram Sabha meeting but didn't do so. The next day, April 30, 2013, the Block Development Officer (BDO), block revenue officer and other administrative officers participated in the Gram Sabha. The resolution passed by the Gram Sabha disallowed the company of any mining activity in that village. The protests continued and the people deflated the tyres of the machines that had illegally come for mining.
The villagers were outraged at the fact that the Company had cut down nearly 10,000 trees in an effort to make a road 40 feet wide and 20 kms long to facilitate the easy movement of heavy vehicles.
Since then, the villagers from Pankiri Barwadih coal block area have been coming down to protest, demanding that the company stop all work and take back their machines. Our indefinite protests will continue till the company goes back.
On the 6th of May, in Arahara gaon, Barka Gaon block, North Karnpura, Pankiri Barwadi Coal mines area of NTPC, Some people from THIESS INDIA had come to do a survey. They were also cutting Sagwan trees using hired labourers. The villagers protested and asked them to stop cutting trees and leave, but they persisted. The people got angry and manhandled them. The same day, in Nagadigaon, in the same block, some officials from NTPC were held by the protesting villagers. The police was called and after talking with the villagers, they were released.
On May 7, 2013, Aruprai Chaudhary, Chief Managing Director, NTPC came to Karnpura to visit the work site but was welcomed with Black flags, placards and sloganeering. The protest was called by various organizations resisting the mining activities like- Karnpura Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, Janmbhoomi Rakhsha Samiti, Karnpura Kisan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti.
He called for a meeting with the protesters and asked five people to represent those agitating to come for talks to the office but the protestors refused and asked the officials to come for the Gram Sabha, which they refused to do.
On 8th May, 2013, a case was registered in Badka Gaon police station, against 3 activists - Deepak Das, 34 yrs, Anirudha Kumar 38 yrs, Dileshwar Mahato 35 yrs. An FIR was lodged also on unknown 40-45 people, a copy of which can only be procured by early next week. The interesting fact is the naming of 3 people from a group of over 70 protesters. This shows a clear effort by the company to target some people. They also lodged the complaint 2 days after the incident to avoid any untoward incidents during the visit of their CMD.
In the last eight years, more that 70 people have been arrested and jailed with fabricated cases all over Karnpura valley.
Today, the people of the Karnpura valley are faced with a daunting prospect of their fertile agricultural lands being taken over by almost 35 companies like NTPC who have signed MOUs with the state government and acquired leases from the coal ministry. Close to 210 villages and 2.5 lakh people are affected by these projects directly or indirectly. The area is also responsible for meeting a major chunk of the paddy requirement of the country. The area also has archaeological importance with megaliths in Pankiri Barwadih village, buddhist sites and rock arts in ISCO village, all falling in the project areas. The Karnpura valley is adjoining the Damodar river and hence runs the risk of getting more polluted by coal mining and power companies.
The continuous strong struggle of the people from the valley needs to be supported and justice needs to be done to those who are framed in wrong cases. The people of the valley have clearly said that they will not sell an inch of their land, come what may.
Deepak Das and Dev Prasad,
For Karnpura Bachao Sangharsh Samiti
Jharkhand Mines Area Coordination Committee (JMACC)
B6, Abhilasha Apartment,
11A Purulia Road,
Ranchi - 834001
Telefax : 0651 2531874/2532035
website : www.firstpeoplesfirst.in