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Reign of terror in Kashipur - People pay the price as the CM wants to inaugurate UAIL Plant in Janua

Published by MAC on 2005-01-15

Reign of terror in Kashipur - People pay the price as the CM wants to inaugurate UAIL Plant in January, 2005

Kashipur Update 03/12/2004

District Administration and police have unleashed a reign of terror in the Kashipur area. The whole proposed project area and the villages opposing the mining project have been sealed by the administration and police, with no press people and others being allowed beyond Tikiri on the road to Kucheipadar and the other proposed project affected villages. The situation seems to be very tense with armed police moving around and beating up people without much provocation. Three people namely Nabeen Naik, Lokanath Naik and Vibhu Gouda were called by the Collector to Kashipur in order to have discussions. However, on reaching Kashipur, they were arrested and sent to jail on charges of creating disturbances as far back as on 14th September, 2004.

Interestingly, it also reported that after the brutal lathi charge on Dec. 1 (where many people, including women were injured, some critically), the Collector, on reaching back to Rayagada, was seen dancing in a party. A typical case of "fiddling while Rome burns". It also shows with the contempt with which Orissa's bureaucrats hold the tribal people.

Construction work for Police Station, Armed police Barrack and a Company Camp office is continuing in D. Karal village. A Police Surveillance post is also being created at the top of the hill near Nuapada Chak to monitor the physical movement of local people. It has been reported to us that all these developments have taken place because Shri. Nabin Pattanaik, Chief Minister wants to inaugurate the UAIL project in January, 2005.

We have received this dispatch from an activistn who is near the site. He wants to remain anonymous in order to avoid harassment ( received at 08.15 PM, 3rd December):

"The police has turned very aggressive. At the slightest provocation they are beating up people. After the first dec. incident, I believe, they even chased and beat up people who were returning from their fields;

The 7th Dec demonstration /rally is a crucial event people are planning, as it is going to teach them whether they have the strength to withstand this kind of an onslaught. There is intention of having a jail Bharo in solidarity with the people who are already there. They need to plan all this very carefully, and think what are the possible fallouts /aftermath, and how they will take it forward from there. There is likely to be violence as people are bent on breaking the police outpost construction. Which is why they have planned it for the 7th, and not immediately, as there is little construction on the ground as yet!!

From the support side, there has to be a good press & media coverage, which is my intention of writing to you. This has to be covered on camera, and by newspapers, local/ national etc. The state is not going to stop unless it is completely discomfited. On the other hand, people are risking much. The leaders and people will be getting arrested / courting arrest in large numbers. This is more than just the Dec.16th show. It is quite a do or die situation for the people, and there has to be substantial support from outside. Please do your bit"

The situation seems to be getting out of hand with the administration bent on breaking the anti-mining movement by any means possible. It seems the Government has forgotten the valiant history of the tribals of Koraput who had fought the British with Laxman Nayak and were least cowed by the killing of the three tribals in Maikanch firing. Sooner or later the matter will come to a head and the blame will be laid on the doors of Shri Nabin Pattanaik and the District Collector for deliberately provoking the tribal people for the benefit of a private company.

It seems that a confrontation is inevitable on December 7th. The people are angry and will not back down in front of state terror. They see the Project as a basic infringement of their fundamental rights and dignity as human beings and are willing to die to oppose the same. The administration must desist from this game of "chicken", for it is going to end in bloodshed of innocent people.

It seems so ironical that a CM who swears by his "tribal friendly" identity has turned so "corporate friendly" at the cost of the tribal people. He should do well to remember that we still live in democracy, however flawed it may be, as one of his co-student from his illustrious school reminds him.

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