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Posts Tagged ‘Tribals’

Maoists surge, State dithers

Posted by Admin on August 3, 2009


It’s abysmal lack of development and injustice which have provided the Maoists a fertile ground to spread. But the State seems clueless
Rakhi Chakrabarty Delhi

The operation of the joint forces at Lalgarh in West Bengal to flush out the Maoists was hailed by the media. It was the first well-coordinated joint operation by central and state forces.

The success of this operation will determine if this will be tried out in other states reeling under Maoist violence. Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa account for 80 per cent of the violence caused by the Maoists. There are plans to launch joint operations in all states affected by the Maoist problem in October. A big hurdle is the paucity of security forces.

Political leaders and senior police officers in the know admit that the joint operation in Lalgarh happened at the “instigation” of Union home minister, P Chidambaram. “The HM called up Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and proposed a joint action in Lalgarh. The Bengal CM immediately gave his nod, even before he consulted his cabinet colleagues or his party,” a senior MHA official told Hardnews. Read the rest of this entry »

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An article on Lalgarh

Posted by Admin on August 3, 2009


51_1.jpg

Forget Maoists, West Bengal’s Left Front has lost its social constituency through years of inaction

The situation in Lalgarh in West Bengal’s Midnapore district, still precariously poised, seems to have been overtaken by generous helpings of farce in nearby Kolkata and distant Delhi. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram kept urging West Bengal to ban Red ultras even as he completed the formality of notifying the cpi-Maoists as a proscribed organization countrywide. He might not have bothered had he been up to speed with the situation in the state.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has been talking about a political campaign against the Maoists for a while, especially since the attack on his convoy near Salboni (near Lalgarh) in November last year.

Now, in the wake of the ban, he has announced a three-pronged strategy: police action, political campaigning and development.

The fact, however, is that for at least a year Maoist sympathizers, not insurgents, have been the soft targets of the government and cpi(m) cadres. Several have been incarcerated on charges ranging from pasting posters to being in the possession of what is presumably ‘incendiary’ literature. The role of the party cadre and the highly irregular proceedings against people who can at best be described as propagandists was dramatically publicized when the police tried to barge into the accommodations of some students of Jadavpur University with no authorization soon after the Salboni attack. It was only concerted and immediate opposition from the student and teaching community of the university followed by a public outcry that scotched this proceeding. Read the rest of this entry »

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Whose land is it anyway?: An article on Koraput land struggle

Posted by Admin on August 3, 2009


After decades of condemnation, tribals in western Orissa have liberated their land. Interestingly, in this Maoist stronghold, this unique movement is non-violent

Bibhuti Pati Narayanpatna, Koraput (Orissa)

The undivided Koraput district in western Orissa has acquired notoriety because of the Maoists literally taking over the dense hilly and forest areas, inhabited by tribal communities, still trapped in the vicious trap of infinite poverty, injustice and underdevelopment. The Maoists’ presence stretch across the landscape and beyond to Ganjam, Malkangiri, Rayagada, and across the tense border zones of Jharkhand, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

Strangely, even as the national media focuses on Maoists, it has ignored a unique, militant and non-violent mass movement of the tribals which is as big a story as the land struggle in Nandigram, or the people’s resistance in Lalgarh. Indeed, there have been isolated incidents of violence, but largely, the movement has been peaceful. And the truth is, it has been a big success. Read the rest of this entry »

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APDR documents on Lalgarh: Press release on human rights violations of counter-insurgency forces

Posted by Admin on July 31, 2009


ASSOCIATION FOR PROTECTION OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS (APDR)

Lalgarh Villagers sleeping in a school

18 Madan Boral Lane, Kolkata 700 012
Phone 033/22376459 email : apdr.wb@gmail.com

PRESS RELEASE ISSUED ON WEDNESDAY 22 JULY 09 ON

HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN LALGARH

Download PDF Format

Released at a Press Conference held at Calcutta Press Club on 22 July 2007

Lalgarh operations enter 35th day

Normal life is continuing to be affected in large areas of three western districts of WB in the Lalgarh operations jointly undertaken by the combined forces of the central and state for the 35th day today In a situation, when the area has been sealed off and no persons are allowed to enter the area except a few media persons, reports of gross  human rights violations continue to be trickling in in media. From the media reports, statements of state government officials and other sources it has been learnt that almost all the villagers were forced to flee their homes for varying periods in the face of armed operation by combined forces, people, including women and children are being brutally assaulted, household articles and valuables are ransacked, looted and destroyed during search operations, daily necessities has become non available. A large number of people has been arrested for which there is no clear data, people arrested are almost invariably being charged with various sections under Chapter VI of the IPC relating to sedition, conspiracy against state etc. and for which the required statutory permission of the Governor is being made available indiscriminately. Read the rest of this entry »

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Narayanpatna: Citizen group defends land struggle

Posted by Admin on July 29, 2009


BHUBANESWAR: A citizens team that visited Narayanpatna has strongly defended tribals forcibly occupying the land of non-tribals. “The land struggle by tribals is just

Maoists on their way to the Bhubaneswar rally.

Maoists on their way to the Bhubaneswar rally.

and genuine, which needs support from one and all. It is an organized mass reaction against exploitation and torture by a small non-tribal minority who have gone there and grabbed tribal land on different pretexts in the last few decades,” team leader Prafulla Samantra of Lok Shakti Abhiyan said.

Narayanpatna and the adjoining Bandhugaon blocks in Koraput district have been in focus in the wake of tribals occupying the lands of non-tribals resulting in frequent violent clashes and deaths. Both the areas also have strong Maoist presence.

Close on the heels of the recent land grabbing agitation nine police personnel, including eight special security force, were killed in landmine blast by the Left-wing extremists. This has given rise to speculation that the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS), which has been spearheading the land acquisition movement, is a frontal organization of the extremists. More than 150 non-tribal families have since fled Narayanpatna area in the face of alleged harassment and threat to their lives by CMAS activists. Read the rest of this entry »

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Security forces lathicharge tribal women in Lalgarh

Posted by Admin on July 28, 2009


Security forces use batons to disperse women in Lalgarh

medi_police_lathi_lady

Lalgarh (PTI): Shortly after a three-member team of the Trinamool Congress, including two Union ministers, visited Lalgarh demanding withdrawal of central forces, a procession of tribal women was alledgedly lathicharged by the police.

A huge procession of the women supporters of the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities headed for Lalgarh police station at around 4:00 pm with placards and posters demanding withdrawal of the central forces and police from Lalgarh, The Lalgarh police station was recaptured from Maoists through their operation since June 19.

“There were at least 300 women, mostly tribals who were prevented from entering Lalgarh police station. We had to fire four teargas cells to disperse them,” top police sources said.

There were sounds of firing and mine explosion from the nearby villages, the sources said. “We are yet to determine the exact area from where the sounds came.” Read the rest of this entry »

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We fight for the people, and our only partners are the oppressed: Maoist Leader Koteshwar Rao

Posted by Admin on July 26, 2009


Date: June 21
Kolkata: A Maoist leader says the rebels are ready for “a protracted war” in Lalgarh, the area in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district that security forces are trying to free from the control of tribals and Maoists.

Defiant stance, A May picture of Koteshwar Rao, who says the stand-off between the Maoists and the government won’t end until police atrocities stop and the administration builds infrastructure at Lalgarh. Indranil Bhoumik

Defiant stance, A May picture of Koteshwar Rao, who says the stand-off between the Maoists and the government won’t end until police atrocities stop and the administration builds infrastructure at Lalgarh. Indranil Bhoumik

“Tell Buddhababu, his forces should fight us—the guerrillas—and not the tribals,” said Koteshwar Rao, who heads guerrilla operations of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in West Bengal. Buddhababu is a reference to West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Seven months ago, tribals of Lalgarh, backed by Maoist guerrillas, seized control of the area in protest against alleged police atrocities. The administration last week deployed state and central forces to flush out the guerrillas, and has since regained control of the Lalgarh police station.

Rao, who claims to have amassed a huge cache of arms and ammunition, wants a dialogue with the state government, but the administration has ruled out any negotiations with the radical group or the tribals.

“Our aim is to free the locals of Lalgarh, who are living under the terror of the Maoists,” said Raj Kanojia, inspector general of police (law and order).
‘Let them send another 500 companies (of police)… This protracted war is not going to end soon.’

“The tribals are a pawn in the game…they are being used by the Maoists as a human shield. We are trying to flush out the Maoists, who have come from other states such as Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.”
In a telephone interview from Lalgarh, Rao denied that the Maoists were shooting from tribal shoulders. “They support us, and the support is entirely voluntary,” he said. Edited excerpts: Read the rest of this entry »

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Orissa:Naryanpatna land struggle inspires tribals of Raikia, Phulbani

Posted by Admin on July 23, 2009


Report by Manoj K.Dash

chengara1Berhampur: Maoist distributed 40 acres of cultivated land to Tribal at Raikia of Phulbani district. Every day Maoist activators capturing one after one area from undivided Ganjam, Koraput and Kandhamal Districts.

In the name of “CHASI MULIA SANGHA” non Tribal people those have captured the cultivated land now those lands are under the custody of Maoists.

Maoist activists were more alert after the 2007 violence in Kandhamal District.

Ranaba Panchyat an interior village of Kandhamal Maoist were captured 40 acres of land from two Mahajans and donated to landless Tribals.

Now from Ranaba from Maharaja family 100 Varana (20 acres) and from a another family 200 Varana (40 Acres) of land distributed to Tribal family.

Related Post Narayanpatna:Chashi Mulia Adivasi Sangha Seized 2000 acres of land from the land lords Read the rest of this entry »

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Balimela reservoir: Orissa tribals seek Freedom from Forced Isolation stage demonstration at Chitrakonda

Posted by Admin on July 23, 2009


tribal demonstration in Bhubaneswar. The neglect that the tribal people of the State have faced over the years makes them vulnerable to naxalite influenceMALKANGIRI, 22 JULY: Thousands of tribals continued to lay siege at the tehsil office at Chitrakonda and paralyse normal life in the area for the seventh day today as attempts for a negotiated settlement by district officials failed.

Tribal demonstration in Bhubaneswar(File Picture)

The tribals, including women and children have been occupying the market place and streets at Chitrakonda demanding immediate fulfillment of their demands which include basic amenities like PDS supply, electricity etc. They threatened to disrupt power supply from Balimela reservoir, if the government continues to ignore their demands. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lalgarh: Where Have All the Young Men Gone?

Posted by Admin on July 22, 2009


Tribal marchIt is an intriguing mystery, one that is preventing the police, the joint forces, and the West Bengal state government from having a peaceful night’s sleep, despite the fact that many of the trouble-torn areas of the political volcano called Lalgarh in West Midnapore are already free from the Maoist siege which started in Mid-June. Successfully captured the occupied areas they have, but the forces have noticed a large number of young tribal men of the area to be missing, (most of them supporting the Maoists) as they seemed to have left the villages and retreated into the jungles to strike back soon.

According to local estimates, about 10,000 youths have left the villages in the Lalgarh area. The remaining populations, mostly tribal women, have shown remarkable grit and have consistently refused to provide any information regarding the men. Read the rest of this entry »

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Koraput: Tribals in Orissa sieze forest-land from companies

Posted by Admin on July 20, 2009


orissaKORAPUT – Several agitated tribals in Orissa’s Koraput district have resorted to forcible eviction methods of private companies from the forest land, in the disguise of restoration of land to tribals, the so-called ‘real’ owners.

The forest land, however, had been sold off by the non-tribals owners to private companies.

Protesting the ownership of private companies on the forest land, members of Chasi Mulia Sangh (CMS), a newly created and a ‘pro-tribal group’, has forcibly occupied 300 acres of the land in Bandhugaon Block of the district.

They also fell down several teak trees planted by the private company.

The step has once again displayed how this Maoist-backed group is gaining popularity and establishing its hold among tribals day-by-day. Read the rest of this entry »

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Amlashol: Unkept promises of development and lessons for Lalgarh

Posted by Admin on July 8, 2009


Sanhati

July 7, 2009

It was only five years ago that a village in the Jangalmahal of West Bengal hit the headlines – Amlashol. Today, another part of the Jangalmahal called Lalgarh is receiving lavish promises of development in the wake of a massive revolt. “Rapid implementation” of developmental schemes is being promised to the people of Lalgarh.

It is necessary to study Amlashol’s journey – because five years ago there too the government had promised a plethora of developmental schemes, in the same manner.

June 2004. Five Adivasis die of hunger and malnutrition in Amlashol village, under Banshpahari Panchayet, Belpahari Block, West Bengal. This incident rocked Bengal politics at the time. The government drew up a list of “left-behind” villages. Over 8,000 villages were on that list. Tens of millions of rupees were declared to be set aside for these underdeveloped villages.

After five years, Amlashol remains Amlashol. The outskirts may have changed a bit, but inside it’s still the same darkness.

Mountains and jungles on all sides. An undulating village on the border of Puruliya and Jharkhand. To reach Amlashol is perhaps not as difficult as before – there is a 21 km paved road from Belpahari to Kankrajhore, built under the Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojna. From Kankrajhore to Amlashol is 2.5 km – that road is still earthen. And after that the road simply disappears. One has to go through jungle paths to reach the village.

Kailash Munda was a CPI(Marxist) member of the Banshpahari Panchayat who first brought to light the death of the five Adivasis. He was subsequently expelled from the CPI(M) and is now very far away from a political life. He spends half the year in Andal as a casual labourer in a factory. The other half he spends in Kankrajhore, a labourer on a sliver of land. Kailash says “Politics today means taking care of personal fortunes. It means telling lies, making capital from the suffering of people. You see – five years have passed, and nothing has happened in Amlashol.”

According to government statistics, there are 86 families in Amlashol. Of them, 65 are Adivasis. Of these 65 families, 19 belong to the Sabar community.

The 30 hectares of land in Amlashol are totally monocrop. There is farming three months a year, depending on the rain. For the rest of the year the only work available is picking shaal leaves from the forest or making ropes from babui grass. Most inhabitants do not own any land.

Under the NREGA 100 day rural work scheme, Amlashol received an average of 10 days of work last year. Lakshmikanta Munda, Malati Sabar, and others informed us that 70 people had applied for work under NREGA on May 21 of this year. Nobody got work.

Babulal Sabar, Mohan Sabar, Sanatan Sabar don’t even have job cards. Ajit Sabar, Sunil Sabar and others don’t have ration cards either. The ration dealer Sunil Manki tells us something peculiar – in some families, the father is BPL (Below Poverty Level) and the son is APL (Above Poverty Level). Haripada Munda gets 1.25 kg of rice every week, at the rate of Rs. 2 per kilo – but his son Duryadhan doesn’t even get rice!

Only 8 people have Antyoday Scheme cards. Only 9 elderly people receive an Adivasi pension. 5 self-help groups had been created but don’t exist any more.

Sanatan Munda had died of hunger in 2004. His wife Sakuntala says “There is no work here. My 18-year old son has left for Bangalore, to find work as a labourer”. Samay Sabar had died of hunger in 2004. His wife says “Half the days we don’t have anything to cook. We cannot cut trees in the forest. Picking leaves and making ropes doesn’t fetch anything. The moneylenders buy everything for nominal prices”.

Homes were built by the administration for 17 of the 19 Sabar families. What is their condition? Basanti Sabar retorts “Everybody takes us for fools and cheats us. The houses have collapsed in the rains.”

The grocer Tamal Das doesn’t keep puffed rice. “Who’ll buy it anyway”!

4 ponds were dug for irrigation purposes. They don’t have water. There is no arrangement for receiving irrigation water from these ponds. There are waterfalls in the mountains nearby – they could have been dammed and used. The administration didn’t do that.

Only 3% of houses have sanitation.

Kankrajhore, 2.5 km away, has a health center where there’s supposed to be a doctor three times a week. Only health workers are present. A new house has been built for the health center but there is no chance for it to be functional.

The only primary school has a single teacher. There are 26 students. There is no regular attendance on either side.

The current Panchayat member belonging to Jharkhand Party, Dulari Hembram, is quite candid. “What can a mere Panchayat member do? A change in the situation needs the drive of the government and the administration”. On the other hand, the BDO of Belpahari, Bhaskar Pal, says “The elected members of the Panchayat don’t want to do anything. Even if the administration wants to, it isn’t possible for development to reach Lalgarh. Amlashol is far from the Panchayat office and the path is difficult. The Panchayat has cast it aside”.

Amlashol therefore remains Amlashol, year after year. A Lalgarh is created.

This article originally appeared in The Ananda Bazaar Patrika and has been translated by Kuver Sinha, Sanhati.<!–

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