The Kalinganagar Massacre, tribal land, industrialization and justice in OrissaPublished by MAC on 2006-02-02
The Kalinganagar Massacre, tribal land, industrialization and justice in Orissa
by Loka Shakti Abhijan, Press release at Chennai
2nd February 2006
Kalinganagar Massacre in which 12 tribals were shot and killed by the Orissa Police in cold blood with extreme brutality, was only the last in a series of repressive anti-tribal steps taken by the successive Governments of the State of Orissa. Considering that the tribals are a demographic and political minority in Orissa, such repeated repression and killings can only be viewed as systematic genocide and marginalization of a minority community for fulfilling the greed and coffers of rapacious corporate interests interested in getting at the resources present in tribal areas. Not only tribals, but even other marginalized sections of Orissa's society are at the receiving end of the repression of a state and a ruling class which has turned from a "public trustee" to a "corporate dalal".
Orissa's record in repression of its people, specially its marginalized sections is brutal and continuous. Recent events where people have been killed by Orissa State are
•the police firing on fishermen in Chilika in 1999, where five people were killed;
•the police shot dead eight tribals in Mandrabaju in Gajapati district in December 1999;
•In 2000 December the famous Maikanch firing led to death of three tribals protesting against the UAIL's bauxite mining and alumina factory in Kashipur;
•In 2001 October, five tribals were killed in two police firing incidents in Raighar area of Nowarangpur district in protests arising out of land disputes
•And finally on 2nd June, the police brutally murdered 12 tribals protesting the illegal and unethical acquisition of land for TATAs, and as tribals allege, chopped off hands, private parts and breasts of five people.
In all the above incidents the state and the police acted on behalf of powerful interests, including Multinationals and Indian corporate houses. Along with these extreme cases of state sponsored killings, tribal people live under constant threat of arrests and harassment, specially when they try to claim their rights over land and forests which customarily belongs to them. The extent of tribal marginalization can be guessed at by the fact that even in the districts notified as Scheduled areas in Orissa, where tribals have constitutional protection in land, tribals have rights and protection in land on only 16% of the area of these districts. A whopping 74% of the area of even the scheduled districts are owned by the State Government, and tribals have no rights over this three fourth of their lifescapes. Not that the rights of tribals even over their legally held lands is respected by the state, which uses Land Acquisition Act, 1894, to acquire even this land and farm it out to corporates.
The current indiscriminate mineral based industrialization in tribal areas based on extraction of natural resources is leading to more and more conflicts. Many of us have opposed the indiscriminate extractive industrialization model urged upon the state by financing institutions such as DFID, both on grounds of it being against national and Orissa's interest and its grim implications on the tribal minority of Orissa who live on the land and enjoy resources which is sought to be captured by a group of international and national Corporate Sector. Many of us have been persecuted for this opposition. Kalinganagar has been the latest and the most extreme effort by the State Government and the mining/industry mafia to silence the voice of legitimate protest of tribal communities. We strongly believe that the massacre of tribals was preplanned and deliberate, and the lack of action against the officers and politicians involved turns the current government into an illegitimate imposition on the people of the State.
We are completely in solidarity with the demands of the Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch and Kalinganagar Surakshya Samiti as indicated below and demand that these be acceded to:
i. A complete halt to the eviction drive and immediate withdrawal of all projects in Kalinga Nagar
ii. A complete fullstop to the aggressive industrialization initiated in Kalinganagar
iii Dismissal of the Collector and SP from service and initiation of criminal proceedings against them for the crimes committed by them on 2 nd January causing death of 12 tribals and critically injuring several others
iii. Criminal proceedings against all officials party to the crime
iv. Rs 20,00,000 as compensation to the next kin of the dead And Rs10,00,000 to the injured persons
v. Withdrawal of all cases against tribals
Furthermore, based on our long experience of working in the tribal areas we will like to articulate further demands as given below:
i. Immediate action to be taken to review all projects linked displacement and rehabilitate and resettle people who have been already displaced.Immediate cessation of all Land Acquisition in any area for any purpose till rehabilitation and resettlement of people who are already displaced by projects starting from Hirakud and Machkund is carried out to the satisfaction of civil society and tribal communities.
ii. The Governor may be asked to immediate suspend Land Acquisition Act, 1894, in Scheduled Areas of Orissa.
iii. All land acquisition in the Scheduled areas violates the spirit of the Schedule V of the constitution. Land acquisition carried out after 1997 violates the section 3(iii) of the Orissa Scheduled Areas Transfer of Immovable Property (by scheduled tribes) Regulation, 1956 as almost all the tribals so affected have been rendered landless. All triballand acquired after 1997 may be immediately resumed to the original scheduled tribe owners and the government officers, IDCOL and companies who have engaged in this illegality be persecuted under section 7 of the same law and section 3(iv and v) and Section 4 of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989. Restitution to the extent of 10 times the production value of the land should be provided to the tribals whose land has been so acquired.
iv. Tribal Land acquired before 1997 should be revalued as per their current value, and restitution in form of ten times this value be given to tribals along with minimum of five acres of unirrigated land or two acres of irrigated land.
v. Tribals own only 16% of the land in scheduled areas. Steps must be immediately taken to transfer the ownership of Revenue and Forest Land within the traditional boundary of the tribal villages (as defined in the PESA, 1996) in the Scheduled areas. The Panchayati Raj Act, 1964, must be immediately amended to transfer all control on their traditional and customary land to tribal communities.
vi. No lease or transfer of government land in scheduled areas to non-tribals must be permitted. The proposal to lease out land in tribal areas to private parties for Jatropha plantations or for carbon trading must be immediately withdrawn. The Government's plantation strategy must be redrawn keeping in view that the communities are the owners of all land within their village boundaries.
vii. The OSATIP Regulations, 1956, may be immediately amended in lines with the AP Regulation of 1970, which says that no land in the scheduled areas will be transferred to non-tribal. No land, including state owned land and private lands held by non-tribal in scheduled areas will be transferable to a non-tribal person. The term judicial person must include corporate and state.
viii. The section 3(b) of OSATIP Regulation, 1956, must be immediately put into practice, and the non-tribals who have acquired land through illegal means since 1956 be immediately identified and punished and the land restored to the tribals.
ix.All mining concessions in scheduled areas to private parties must be immediately withdrawn without any delay as they are illegal and violate Schedule V. Mining under OMC Ltd and other public sector Institutions must be suspended and placed under review by the civil society and tribal communities.
x. Some of the blocks and districts boundaries have been deliberately drawn to keep tribal majority areas out of scheduled areas. Blocks and districts boundaries must be redrawn to bring tribal majority areas under schedule V. Apart from this, all settlements where tribal are in a majority and which are located in non-scheduled areas be brought under schedule V protection.
We would like to make it clear to the authorities that STs in Orissa are facing a situation akin to slow and steady genocide and those successive administrations have followed anti-tribal policies in matter of land, forest and displacement. The instances of extreme injustices done to tribal communities in Orissa will fill volumes. The extreme poverty of the tribal and their complete political marginalization is a result of deliberate policies which have dispossessed them of their land, livelihoods and dignity.
We again reiterate that we stand in complete solidarity with the tribals of Kalinganagar and with other tribal communities and that we will struggle with them to achieve our demands,
Loka Shakti Abhijan