MAC: Mines and Communities

Killing Of Tribal Protesters By Police At Kalinga Nagar, Jajpur, Orissa

Published by MAC on 2006-01-09
Source: Fact finding team

Killing of Tribal Protesters by police at Kalinga Nagar, Jajpur, Orissa

Report by Fact finding team

Date of Killing-2-1-2006

Date of solidarity visit-3-1-2006

Team Members –

1. Badal kumar Tah, Member, mm&P
2. Mahendra Parida, State Convenor, Forum Against Child Exploitation , Bhubaneswar
3. Smt. Pramila Swain , State Convenor, NAWO, Bhubaneswar
4. Surendra Patro, Journalist – Sahara Samay, Bhubaneswar
5. Prashanta Paikray, CPI (ML), Bhubaneswar
6. Prashnta Sahoo, Pallishree, Jajpur
7. Ku Jememani Barla, adibasi displaced lady, Chandia Jajpur

Introduction: Kalinga Nagar Industrial hub promoted by IDCO (Industrial Development Corporation of Orissa) in Jajpur district is around 105 kms from State Capital Bhubaneswar. Several industrial giants have been lined to set up their units at Kalinga Nagar. Thousands & thousands acres of land have been acquired by IDCO by paying very low rate to local tribes & in return IDCO selling to companies in high rates. There have been conflicts between the local tribals & the Company – State combine.

There are thirteen mega enterprises like Bhusan steels, JINDAL, MESCO, Nilanchal Ispat Nigam Limited [under the aegis of SAIL], Tata Steel, Maharashtra Seamless, etc. There are more than 100 chrome washing plants in this industrial area. So, the displacement is in its heights and mostly the tribals are still feeling the pinch of false assurance of compensation package, jobs, etc.

The People – The PAP (Project Affected People) are mainly tribals from Munda community. As the villages are situated beside the Daitari – Paradip National Highway no 200, the tribals are exposed to education and relatively aware than that of their brethren elsewhere in the state. They are primarily agriculturists and have invested their resources in the development of their land. Now that the companies are taking away their land in throw away prices has resulted in severe resistance as this is the only means of livelihood.

The Incident – It was an ill fated new year for the tribals of Gobarghati, Nuagaon & Chandia villages of Jajpur district, While Tata Steel Company with the help of fifteen platoon of police started leveling the land forcibly acquired by it, the tribals in thousands peacefully protested & demanded the authorities to stall the work. When the authorities did not heed to the demands, the tribals tried to enter the land & then started the tussle.

Version of the State / Police – The mob became violent, pelted stones, attacked & killed a police by axe. Then the police had to have blank fires, tear gas, bullets, etc. When the tribals attacked by bow & arrow, the police had to fire. In this tussle twelve tribals including three women & a school student have been killed while a policeman has also been killed. All this happened on 2nd January’2006 at about 12 noon.

Version of the People - From the very beginning, the tribals are resisting the very land acquisition process, compensation package and on the whole, the establishment of company itself. There have been several rounds of dialogues between the people and the company – state representatives but in vain. During our conversation with people on 3rd January’2006, the people have raised the following points/questions –

i. When the dialogue was still on between people and govt.-company combine, why did then suddenly it was decided to start work from the onset of New Year? How it was decided & who decided it?

ii. The Company – Govt. combine was fully prepared to instill a war like situation & terror in a peaceful tribal area. They suddenly started work. When the people got to know about this they came from sporadic villages & got together at the place of work. Had they come prepared with their traditional weapons like bow & arrow, there have been several hundreds of causalities from police side. So who attacked first? It is never the people. When they people saw bullets are incessantly fired at them, the mob retaliated with stones and axe & hence one police died.

iii. This was a well-planned initiative. The strategy was like this - Forcibly start work with the help of heavily armed police. Put mines at the boundary of the land acquired by the company. When the people resist, formally have blank fire, tear gas, rubber bullets & finally real bullets. Kill & terrorize. Announce some compensation & an inquiry. So ultimately crush the people’s resistance/ movement & establish state hegemony.

But the angry mob we met on 03-01-2006 went on to ask who gave the order when there was no magistrate in place?

Was the shooting really warranted? When thousands of people were resisting, the police could have gone back or setting up date could have been delayed. The sky could not have fallen.

If it was such a compelling situation for a shoot out, why didn’t they shot at the leg to disperse the mob? All the persons were shot either at head, chest or waist at point blank range. So it is evident that this event was pre-planned.

Why should people accept Rs.1 lakh per each deceased? They told that they are prepared to pay two lakhs each for chopping off the heads of Chief Minister Nabin Pattanaik and the Cabinet Minister Mr. Prafulla Ghadei who represents this constituency.

When given an option of choosing between two – a better compensation package or “no” to company - they chose the latter.

Other observations

The team reached Chandikhol at about 5 pm on 03-01-2006 and proceeded towards the affected villages. The 1st obstacle was in the village Mirigichara. The NH road was cut, tyres burnt & trees piled. Some youths stopped our vehicle & instructed us not to move. However, we convinced them that we have come to have a fact finding. One of the agitators joined us in our vehicle and took us in another way to the spot at Dholpathar Chhak in Gobarghati Panchayat.

The scene was heart breaking. Seven dead bodies were lying on the rope cots in a line on the NH. All other dead bodies taken away by police[ 5 nos] just reached the spot after post mortem. The hands were cut off. The women then gathered round the dead bodies and started a communal crying.

The people decided to block the NH by the dead bodies & not to lift the bodies until their demands are met.

Some of the youths even resisted the video shooting by the Sahara journalist as the E-TV by then has made news that behind this incident Maoists are there. They vehemently refuted this charge. After a dialogue with them, they co-operated.

One of the protesters also was dead because of mines set by police / company. And many others got injured.

Some eye witnesses also say that when the wounded people were taken out in police jeep, they were completely killed as a result of vengeance, before taking them to the hospital.

From 2nd January to 3rd January, thousands of tribals blocked the NH & did not allow anybody to come.

Stand of political parties

As usual, political parties are playing their politics over the dead bodies. Not a single ruling party MLA or minister was able to go & face the anguished tribals. The opposition is certainly taking advantage. But people know the tactics & do not believe any political party.

Role of Civil Society & Networks

Til we, from mmP, made a solidarity visit, no network visited. mmP has been advocating a proper National Tribal Policy, a Mineral Policy & Policy on Forest Eviction. Though it was expected that civil society networks will be with mining affected communities at this juncture, it has unfortunately not happened.

Report by
Badal kumar Tah
Member- mines, minerals and People
Kasturi Nagar
Orissa India-765 001
Ph-94371 18476

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