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Anti-Displacement Leader Madan Kalundia Dies in Judicial Custody

Posted by Admin on August 15, 2010

Victim of the Police firing at Kalinga Nagar

Victim of the Police firing at Kalinga Nagar

Source: Face Book

Madan Kalundia, a leader of anti-displacement movement of Kalinganagar (Odisha), died on August 3, 2010 in judicial custody.

Death of Com. Madan in judicial custody has come as a part of the Govt. Admn.-police attempt to crush the anti-displacement struggle of tribals against TATAs. His death is a telling story of the criminal disregard of basic rights of the people by not only the police and admn. but even judiciary in the service of corporates.

Hundreds of tribals have been thrown out of jobs in the industries of the area for refusing to leave their land for TATAs. Leaders and activists of the movement are arrested and not allowed to come out even on bail as they are re-arrested on trumped up charges.

Leaders and activists are being implicated in the open ended FIRs routinely registered against the agitators for false and fabricated charges. The power of different wings of the state and the goondas of TATAs is being openly employed to strangulate the struggle of tribals for saving their land.

Madan Kalundia, a 34-year-old Adivasi from Baligotha village of Kalinga Nagar was arrested on 15 September 2009. He is one of the several Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch leaders and activists who have been picked up and framed under false charges. Madan had 6 criminal cases against him the most severe being a case under Sec 506 of the IPC. 3 cases were of 2007, 2 cases of 2008 and 1 case of 2009. Then another 8 cases were slapped against him on the 5 Oct ’09 including one under Sec 307 for attempt to murder. 2 cases were of 2006, 2 of 2007 and 4 of 2008 which included the attempt to murder case. Then on 10 Feb ’10 one case from 2005 was brought up against him and on 23 Feb ’10 another case from 2006 was made against him. In the 1st week of May Madan got bail in 14 cases and 2 cases were still pending. That day Madan had requested the judge to direct authorities to provide him with immediate medical aid as he was in severe ill health. The judge did not even acknowledge his plea and Madan died on 3 August ’10 either in Chowduar jail or at SCB Hospital, Cuttack. Death of Madan Kalundia in judicial custody through denial of medical aid to him is clearly a case of killing of a anti-displacement struggle leader by the state agencies.

It is not yet clear what the official cause of death is but an investigation into a few recent incidents indicates what might have transpired with Madan in the jail. Before being shifted to Chowduar jail on 26 July ’10 he was being held at Ragadi jail in Jajpur. While in Ragadi jail, news reached Madan’s relatives in Baligotha village that he was suffering from jaundice. So the widows of his two deceased brothers visited him in jail with herbal medicine for jaundice. One of Madan’s deceased brothers is Ghanshyam who died earlier this year due to lack of medical aid in the village that still remains cordoned off from the rest of the world by the police and Tata goons. When Madan’s relatives met him in the jail they found several injuries on his body likely to have been incurred from torture. Madan was also unable to walk by himself and had been brought to the visitors’ area with the aid of two wards of the jail. His eyesight had also deteriorated badly and he could recognize his relatives. The herbal medicines brought by the relatives was denied by jail authorities who said they would take good care of him. Madan’s relatives had visited him around the 20 July ’10. On 10th July ’10 he had been taken to Jajpur hospital where the doctors said he had no physical problem and his ill health was due to psychiatric problems.

Madan’s death again exposes the ugly & brutal reality of a State that is ready to torture people, deny them medical aid and kill them in captive for the sake of companies like Tata and Vedanta. Whether Madan died from torture or jaundice the blame definitely rests on the Govt. The Tata project seems to be setting up a mega graveyard of Adivasis rather than a steel factory. A powerful resistance of the tribals is emerging from this graveyard — deaths and sacrifices of the leaders and activists of the struggle like Madan Kalundia are part of it.

2 Responses to “Anti-Displacement Leader Madan Kalundia Dies in Judicial Custody”

  1. Dilip Parida said

    BBJM leader Madan Kalundia’s death in police custody is shocking. Why would a young man of 34 years die in police custody? Was he tortured? Was he seriously ill? There have been quite a few debates about this. While it is all too sad, Madan’s death has been established as a case of severe jaundice, which as per police and doctors was incurable. It is all very easy to implicate the Government and the judiciary of failure towards duty; denial of appropriate treatment; et al (especially, when the victim is a BBJM leader who is supposedly fighting against big corporates in connection with tribal displacement) – would still say that it is better to have all facts straightened out before any stray comments are made. While it happens all the time, death in police custody again does not necessarily mean death due to torture and physical abuse.

  2. Adikanta Mallik said

    Madan Kalundia’s death is indeed tragic for the simple fact that it entails the loss of human life. But in a series of unfortunate incidents that have happened in Kalinganagar over the last couple of years, several other people have suffered too. In the untoward events, many poor tribals have faced the brunt of the unnecessary agitation caused by VVJM. Raimuni Deogaon was critically injured and beaten up by VVJM supporters on 27th July 2010 in Kalinganagar. The same VVJM that had molested Ms. Basant Bhadra in front of a crowd of more than 1000 people and gang raped another tribal woman. You may browse through this link to know more http://www.kalinganagar.com/pdf/from-the-tribals-of-kalinganagar-jajpur-orissa.pdf. So it would not be fair to have a lopsided view of the string of happenings. Just as VVJM members have not stopped pointing fingers at the corporates, it is also true that the list of VVJM’s immoral activities run very long. I am a common citizen of India and I am ready to accept that the Country’s route to progress runs only through development of industries. It is my opinion that groups like VVJM should stop playing with the destiny of poor people for their own selfish interests and let the progress of industries happen peacefully.

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