The Following Have Been Received By Mines And Communities During The Past Week. Two Public StatementPublished by MAC on 2004-12-02
The following have been received by Mines and Communities during the past week. Two public statements, and an Urgent Action alert from the Canadian Alcan't campaign, are reprinted as they stand. Accounts from others in Orissa have been slightly edited to protect the identity of the authors.
Behind the Firings at Kashipur
From an Orissa activist: December 2 2004
Rayagada: yesterday during the evening, police fired at tribals and dalits gathered near Karol chowk [near Kucheipadar/Ramibeda village] when they protested the laying of a foundation stone for a police out-post. They were around 150 people whereas the police force numbered around 500/600 led by Kalahandi SP and Collector. 10 and more are injured and 6 are taken away by police jeep and their whereabouts are not known to the villagers. The area is tense and the armed force have literally seized the area so that no outsiders can enter and inter village meetings can not be held. The police out post has to be set up at any cost to give security to the UAIL where ADITYA BIRLA has the major share other than the multinational company of Canada called ALCAN. Collector and SP and the almost all the senior police officials of the district are camping there at Tikiri. With the help of 4 more platoons of armed police force and in the presence of Collector and SP the foundation stone is being laid. So the hegemony of the state and its loyalty to corporates like BIRLA is again established.
The sequential murderous plan.....
On 27th November, there was a public hearing conducted by the Orissa state pollution control board for HINDALCO[Aditya Birla] in Phuljaba-Kashipur. This company is fully owned by ADITYA BIRLA. Hundreds of people were carried from outside in support of the company. The hearing started by 9.30AM in stead of 11AM and was complete by 12 o'clock. Though hundreds of people protested it, many were obstructed by police on the way. To add to this when the villagers from far off places reached the venue the jury was not there. The ADM and other member of the jury then joined the so called rally of those people carried to the spot by the vehicles hired by company. Thus the farce ended.
On 28th there was a rally in Tikiri[where the UAIL office is situated]organised by all party led by the local MLA [Member of the Legislative Assembly, Orissa] Sri Anantaram Majhi[Congress-I]favouring the establishment of the company. The rally was kindly attended by the magnanimous and loyal Collector. He was seen interacting with the company sponsored supporters in the gathering of 4/5 thousand people. It is clear that he was almost taking the lead in making the rally successful. The people demanded to ban the supporting NGOs and arrest leaders who are opposing the UAIL.On the same day, tribals and dalits numbering 5000 had a protest rally near Nuapada Chhak[near Kucheipadar Village] against UAIL.
On 29th the Zilla Parishad meeting was held in Rayagada where the MLA Sri Anantaram Majhi told to the media that he has a threat to his life and property from anti-company group. The District Collector also said that the people and and the organisations will be taken to task if they oppose the company.
On 1st December, the Collector along with Kalahandi SP move to Kashipur to lay the foundation of a police out post near Kucheipadar. It was at about 4PM the Collector,SP along with the armed force threatened the 150 who were sitting and protesting near the place where the foundation was dug. The SP ordered them to vacate the place so that the Collector can inaugurate; but the people refused to leave the place and protested the establishment of the police outpost. Then he ordered for the gas firing. When there was gas firing, some people mistook it for gun firing and started to run at all directions. There was severe lathi charge. The police entered to into Upper Korol village and mercilessly beat the people. Even the ladies and old people were not spared. Six people including two women were severe injured and they were taken to Tikiri thana and put into the hazat. Saroj Nayak of Dudkabahal village and Rammoorthy of Karol village and the wife of Sankarsan Nayak of Dimundi village have bone fractures. Some are treated in Kucheipadar and Tikiri hospitals. Now six people are in hazat[Saroj Nayak, Uma Majhi, Mukuna Disari, Kamal Nayak and Smt Adai majhi and Smt Malai Majhi] who are expected to be forwarded to Rayagada Court tomorrow.
To-day around 700 people gathered under the banyan tree near Kucheipadar and have decided to have a mass meet on 7th Dec near Nuapada Chhak/Karol Chhak and destroy the foundation and the police camp [4 platoons of armed police force are camping there].