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Archive for April 18th, 2010

Malkangiri: A Really Dark Corner

Posted by Admin on April 18, 2010


Dola Mitra

Malkangiri district, in Orissa, is back of the beyond. It borders both Andhra Pradesh and the Dandakaranya region of Chhattisgarh. Of its six lakh population, 80 per cent belong to the Bonda, Bidai, Gadwa, Poraja, Kumbhar, Kamaar, Kondh and Karia tribes, and live on the margins—no roads, no electricity, no hospitals, no drinking water supply, and a very poor public distribution system. No wonder this hilly, forested region has been a Maoist hotbed for decades. The police and the special forces call this forbidding area the AOB (Andhra-Orissa border) with the sense of a place they’d rather not be in. The locals have never seen any government working for them; and therefore, the Maoists are both their government and their police. A senior police officer says at least 30,000 tribals of the district openly support the Maoists; the rest do so tacitly.

The hardship is all too evident in villages like Guntawada. Many young men, like Kanakaraju and Indrakarama, work as casual labourers at APGenco’s Upper Sileru power project. When they come home, they bring kerosene the supervisor hands out and use it to light lamps. His generosity means the world to them: the village has never had electricity.

In village after village in this district, this dark irony repeats itself. Inaccessibility and deprivation are the norm.


Ragi-jowar flour for her child; transport, Malkangiri style.

In Kankaraipoda village, Lobo Khilo, Undartai Khilo and Dhalai Khara complain that few among them have ration cards. They grow some paddy but mostly work as labourers with private contractors, who never pay on time. “Malaria is a constant companion in summer and we lose many workdays,” says Lobo. “The nearest hospital is in Chitrakonda, about 15 km away. When we fall ill, it is better to stay put than walk that far.”

A crumbling two-room house serves as an anganwadi and school in a village of Korukonda block. ‘Sabhiye padhantu, sabhiye badhantu (Let’s all study, let’s all grow)’, it says on the wall. But this Oriya-medium school with classes till Std V has only one teacher. His teaching methods are as erratic as his schedule. Not a single child can elaborate on what has been taught in school. Any question, and they lapse into their tribal speech. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kudremukh National Park : youth alleges torture by cops

Posted by Admin on April 18, 2010


Karnataka, Mangalore, April 18: In what has been viewed as a coercive tactic to evict tribals from the forest to facilitate the implementation of Kudremukh National Park (KNP) project, police and the Anti-Naxal Force (ANF) allegedly have subjected a tribal youth to physical and mental torture.

Poovappa Malekudiya (32), a tribal youth of Anjarottu in Kuthlur village of Naravi Gram Panchayat in Belthangadi taluk in the district, was the victim of police and ANF atrocity.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, Poovappa said he was picked up by the police and the ANF personnel and later was beaten up severely at an unidentified place.

I was blilndfolded and taken to unknown location and tortured. They connected a live electric wire to my body and hit me very badly, he said.

They tortured me just because I am not willing to handover my land for the KNP project, Poovappa asserted.

Poovappas advocate Shivakumar said a complaint will be sent to the Human Rights Commission.

In naxal supporters list

According to police records, Poovappa is one of the 11 naxal supporters in Kuthlur village. The naxal supporters list also had carried the names of Vasantha Malekudiya and Dinakara, who were killed in ANF encounter.

Dinakara of Bartaje in Kuthlur village was killed in an encounter two years ago, Vasantha, a resident of Kotyandadka, was killed in on March 1. Now the police and ANF are in search of Vasanthas sister Sundari, who has gone missing. Police suspect that Sundari might have joined the naxal group after her brothers death.

Inspector General of Police (Western Range) Gopal B Hosur said police must have picked Poovappa and interrogated him to cross-check his relation to naxal group. He, however denied villagers allegations of police using coercive tactics to evict tribals from the forest to facilitate development of KNP project.

Opposition to KNP

Of the 42 Malekudiya families in Kuthlur village, thirty-six are not willing to hand over their house and agriculture land to the government. Six families have agreed. Chandu Gowda of Alambe, said he will not hand over his two acres of land and house, even if they pay him Rs 20 lakh. Lingappa Malekudiya, a resident of Anjarottu, also said that he is not willing to hand over his land.

I will not vacate the forest till the end of my life, said Udaya Malekudiya, another tribal of Berengadi. Mangalorean

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