MAC: Mines and Communities

Government To Talk With Tribal Leaders

Published by MAC on 2007-01-13

Government to Talk With Tribal Leaders

Statesman News Service

BHUBANESWAR, Jan. 15: Orissa Chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik today said the government was willing to hold talks with the Bisthapan Virodhi Janmanch leaders on the Kalinga Nagar issue but maintained that the High Court order of clearing the road blockade could not be linked to such talks.

Mr Patnaik was reacting to an open letter issued by the Janmanch offering to discuss with the government.

The Janmanch has been leading the tribal resistance movement in Kalinga Nagar and has been blocking the Daitari-Paradip Expressway since 2 January 2006 after 13 tribals had been gunned down by the police.

Mr Rabindra Jarika, secretary of the Janmanch, who issued the letter, clarified that the blockade was to force the government concede demands of the people. He had also stated that it was continuing because the government had failed to fufill their demands.

In the backdrop of the High Court order, Mr Jarika stated that since August all vehicles, baring trucks, were allowed to use the road and hence, the common man was not subjected to any difficulty.

He had also iterated the demands and said at least three of them ~ action against the then district collector and SP, withdrawal of cases against tribal leaders and political level discussions ~ needed to be fulfilled the pave the way for talks.

The chief minister, who is yet to visit the spot since the dreadful 2 January, has, however, been steadfast in his stand of talking to all concerned, including the Janmanch leaders. In fact, he had invited them for talks and one round of discussions had taken place last year.

Today, he made it amply clear that the High Court order could not be a matter of discussion or negotiation with the Janmanch, implicitly indicating that the government would abide by the order and clear the blockade.

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