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Archives for : Tribals

Samvidhan Samman Yatra condemns the state repression and violence in fifth schedule areas of Odisha

 

 

NAPM declares the just concluded Investors Meet in Odisha, a plan for corporate loot of resources and rights of people

 

No water in rivers and reservoirs for farmers; Corporates enjoying uninterrupted supply

 

Land, Rivers, Forests are not mere resources, it’s our life, culture and dignity; Aadivasis warned corporates to stay out of their lands.

 

Farming made systemically an affair of loss and deprivation; Govt.-Corporate plan for industrial farming and pushing people to work in factories

 

State is violent, not the people; Govt must respect the rights of Gram Sabha – Lado Sikaka, Niyamgiri

 

Odisha: After travelling through Jharkhand, Samvidhan Samman Yatra spent three days in Odisha from 13th to 15th November and visited various movement places to understand, share and express solidarity and strength with them. On 13th November, the yatra visited Sundargarh, Rajgampur, Ranibandh, Jharsuguda and Sambalpur. On 14th November, Yatra reached Balangir and then joined Niyamgiri struggle after that. On the last day in Odisha, i.e. on 15th November, Activists joined public meetings at Bhubneshwar, Cuttack, and Bhadrak. Odisha, a land of Adivasi struggle for their rights and against land grab by corporates, welcomed the yatra and activists, shared the struggle against land acquisition, mining, and water diversions. Adivasis are at the forefront of majority of the struggles along with farmers and workers in the state. Farmers have fought for their control over Mandi and now fighting for loan waiver. The dams in the state are an example of betrayal to farmers as now the dams do not have water for irrigation but in abundance for industries.

 

Starting from 13th November, The Yatra reached Sundargarh and addressed the press conference. Meera Sanghamitra from NAPM Andhra Pradesh – Telangana, introduced the activists and briefed about Samvidhan Samman Yatra. “Neither Naveen Patnaik in Odisha nor Narendra Modi at the Centre who regularly invite foreign investors have similarly listened to People’s movements and organisations about their grievances and perspectives. This proves who the government is working for? People or Corporates!”, she said.

 

“Muslims and Dalits are being lynched by mob supported by Government. Already, we are witnessing the destructive development but under this government, the corporates are given free hand to loot our resources. This is completely against our Constitution and to safeguard our Constitution, we need to stand together and fight together.”, said Suniti SR from NAPM Maharashtra.

 

Prafulla Samantara from Lok Shakti Abhiyan, also a winner of Goldman Environmental Prize in 2017, said that Sundergarh is a fifth schedule area. FRA and PESA is applicable here but the laws are being outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot. Even after complete rejection to Vedanta in Niyamgiri hills and other areas, State is hell bent to favour corporates and consistently trying to appropriate people’s voices. NAPM will support people’s resistance against these injustices despite the increasing attacks on activists in the name of Urban Naxals.

 

“Odisha is one of the places abundant in terms of mineral resources and yet one of the most impoverished. We must question where the wealth is going? When adivasis are still deprived of it.”, said Bhupendra Rawat from Jan Sangharsh Vahini.

 

Gabriel Dietrich from Penn Urimay Iyakkam and NAPM Tamilnadu shared about the brutal state sponsored murder of activists in Tamilnadu and said that Corporates doesn’t think beyond their profits and it is clearly evident that people in Tamilnadu are facing dangerous health issues even Cancer but Vedanta is continue making profits from its Copper smelting plant. We need to be alert and expose corporates and the state at all fronts on how they are anti-people and anti-constitutional.

 

George Tirkey, a member of legislative assembly said that Tribal population doesn’t ruled by the Chief Minister but the Governer of the state. But then we wake up every morning hearing new project which are appropriating our lives, livelihood, and our culture.

 

“After hundreds of memorandums, demonstrations and meeting with collector, we have given in writing that any project must not get approval without the consent of Gram Sabhas”, informed Sipriori William Kiro from Aadivasi Moolnivasi Adhikar Suraksha Samiti. “We lodged FIR with criminal accusations against the collector after the legal provisions were violated to favour the projects.”, he said.  

 

It is shameful that the Odisha Government, who is claiming to be pro-people are not acting any different from the BJP Govt. in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and the Centre.

 

After the press conference, the activists started towards Rajgampur, Ranibandh where they paid revolutionary tribute to Birsa Munda. Adivasi Haq Janasangharsh Samiti, Sundergarh, and Birsa Munda Jayanti Samaroh Samiti joined the yatra and expressed solidarity with the fight for adivasi and land rights.

 

“People’s struggles are on against Basundhara and Jindal coal mines. There are 12000 MW each NTPC and Reliance thermal power plants in Sundergarh. There are plans to set up power plants of more than 70000 MW capacity. The whole belt between Brahmani River and Mahanadi is rich in coal and then in iron ore in northern Odisha. The corporate and state nexus has eyes on all of this.”, said Kalyan, senior activist from Odisha. He also pointed out that how the 3 installed hydropower plants have become an example of ecological destruction. They don’t have adequate water due to which only a fraction of power generation is possible and the dam is also not able to irrigate lands which they promised to do. When the reservoir doesn’t have water for irrigation, then how Jindal and Bhushan are able to get uninterrupted water supply?

 

In the afternoon, Lokmukti Sangathan welcomed the yatra at Behramal Kisan Chowk, Jharsuguda where everyone paid tributes to Lal Bahadur Shastri and Mahatma Gandhi and assembled outside the PWD office for the public meeting.

 

“There were many iron ore plants nearby. 10-15 have been closed due to people’s resistance but still 2-3 plants are remaining. More than 26000 acres of land have been acquired just for coal mining. There is power plant with generation capacity of more than 8000 MW in the area. People have faced displaced by Hirakund Dam. Pollution is becoming the major issue in the region. Under the projects, youth were promised for employment which is still a distant dream for young population. Majority of the population is adivasis and facing poverty when government is shamelessly claiming it to be one of the richest districts of Odisha.”, shared by local activists from the area.

 

Mehboob Mahtat, a senior journalist, said that we have the challenge and opportunity to save our constitution from the ones who are in power. We need to vote them out from the power. The government is clearly working for corporates depriving dalits and adivasis of their rights.

 

Vasudev, from Loktantra Suraksha Manch, said that We will not be spared if the constitution is in danger. Thus, today we need movements to come together and fight unitedly against the state and corporates.

 

In the evening, Yatra headed to Sambalpur where Paschim Odisha Krushak Sangathan Samanvya Samiti (POKSSS) welcomed the yatra and briefed about the issues that farmers are facing there. The main issue is of sharing of water from the Hirakund Dam in the region and demand of loan waiver.

 

Lingraj Behra, convener, POKSSS, said that farmers issues don’t exist in isolation. There is larger political economic issue attached with this that we should recognize. We need to build a larger solidarity when farming is being destroyed systematically to favour industrial farming and pushing farmers into industrial workforce.

 

Meera Sanghamitra from NAPM shared the objectives and experiences of Yatra in other states. She said that we are travelling from one state to other but the issues that we are encountering remains same. People are being forced to die of starvation, imposition of Aadhaar where farmers are not given the rightful prices for their produce. The reservoir built for irrigation are getting converted as a source for providing water to big industries. From producers to consumers, everyone is being subjected to state violence. We need to stand united and assert our constitutional rights before the state and corporates take over all our resources. We need our farms, forests, rivers, oceans, livelihood, and dignity back.

 

Murarji, a local activist, said that it is the strength of people’s movements that some of our farmers are now able to get good prices for their produce. Through a united struggle by local farmers, we managed to gain control over the local mandi which is now being able to provide respectful prices to farmers.

 

“The state has become so shameless that the activists who are working with the people on ground and ensuring their rights to be protected are being targeted as Urban Naxals. We need to root out this government otherwise they are not going to work for the people and will also not let others work.”, said Prafulla Samantara.

 

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On 14th November, local organisations welcomed yatra at Sambadik Bhavan, Balangir for a brief time. The people here are struggling against Sahara India’s 1320 MW Titalgarh thermal power plant since 2010, which is stayed as per Supreme Court directions. Lower Suktel Dam is another such issue where people are strongly against the land acquisition since 2000. 30 villages are getting affected under this project. Zindabad Sangathan has been struggling to get land entitlement for adivasis in Patnagarh and Titlagarh areas of Balangir district.

 

Prafulla Samantara addressed the people and said that we haven’t got our Constitution from these corrupt governments but achieved through people’s struggles. People gave befitting reply to everyone who wanted to suppress people’s voices. We need to give the same verdict to the present ruling what we gave to Indira Gandhi’s ruling.

 

Suniti SR from NAPM Maharashtra extended solidarity with the struggles of Balangir and said that we are all aware about how the destruction is happening in the name of development. We will continue our fight for securing people’s rule over resources.

 

After Balangir, the activists travelled to Niyamgiri. Adivasis welcomed the yatra in their traditional revolutionary way with the slogans of Birsa and Ambedkar. Freshly plucked oranges were given to everyone as a welcome gesture.

 

Lado Sikaka, a leading activist and a resident, shared the experiences from the struggle to save Niyamgiri from corporates. He said that if we protect our land, water, and forest, we protect our lives and families. The land, water, and forests are not merely a resource for us but our soul and we cannot let anybody else to take control of our lives. The entire struggle of Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti has been a peaceful struggle but the government tried to label us as a violent struggle. We have fought from the village to the Supreme Court and asserted our rights through our Gram Sabhas.

 

“We need to understand and declare the state violent, extremely violent. They don’t even know how to respect our culture and traditions. We are the ones, who have kept the forests alive, rivers alive, the environment breathable. But what we are receiving is the beatings in the jail, bribes to cheat our people and sell our lands to corporates. We have rejected all the corporates and fighting for our lives, our culture, our dignity. We appeal people of the country to expose the government and tell them to stop the violence meted out on the aadivasis.”, he added.

 

“Niyamgiri struggle is an inspiration for all of us and for all the struggles happening in fifth schedule areas. The supreme court has upheld the constitutional rights of the Gram Sabha. All development projects happening or proposed in the fifth schedule areas must put to the test of Gram Sabha’s approval.”, said Meera Sanghamitra.

 

“In Mumbai, we were able to push back SEZs and it is important to note that both the victories reaffirmed the status of Gram Sabha and its power above our Parliament as well. We need to continue when we are facing bigger threats in the name of Industrial Corridors, Sagarmala, Bharatmala, and National Waterways projects. We make the government in our villages, State and Centre must respect people’s rule.”, said Suniti SR, advisor of NAPM.

 

Lingraj Azad, a key activist of Niyamagiri Surakhya Samiti, condemned the continued repression on the Dongaria Kondh community and warned the government, which is acting on behest of corporates, to keep their hands off adivasis lands and forests.

 

Prafulla Samantara said that the struggle of Dongaria Kondh adivasis have made sure that Vedanta cannot mine our hills. But they are still in Langigarh refinery violating environmental norms. They are exploring bauxite mining in Koraput district. We need to stand united and throw them out from Odisha once and for all.

 

“Whether it is Tamilnadu or Odisha, Vedanta has hired the state governments to kill people and destroy our ecology. We cannot let them do this to our people. We are standing united and will not let them destroy our country.”, said Gabriele Dietrich.

 

Late in the evening, the activists travelling with the yatra along with activists of Jivika Surakhya Samiti did a candle light march in memory of the victims of the 2008 massacre in Kandhamal and spread the message of communal harmony.

 

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On 15th November and last day in Odisha, Yatra reached Bhubneshwar. A public meeting was organised at Lohia Academy. Shrideva Prasad welcomed the Yatra on behalf of Lohia Academy and said that the Constitution is facing grave threat under this government. The CBI and Supreme Court are being interfered with. The difference between the emergency time and now is only that the things are happening undeclared whereas the situation has become more worse.

 

“The Govt. who won the past general elections on the pretext of Development was a complete lie. We have not been able to see that anywhere in our state. What we have witnessed, is worsening state of farmers, adivasis, workers, and everybody else except the corporates and industrialists.”, said Zainab, an activist from Uttar Pradesh.

 

Rajendra Ravi from NAPM Delhi said that Sardar Sarovar Dam is an example of Gujarat Model where farmers were betrayed by showing them dreams of irrigating their farms whereas water got diverted and supplied more than proposed to the industries. People in Gujarat are feeling betrayed. The same development model was hyped during last general elections and now being implemented everywhere in the country.

 

“It is a great day for all of us, we are here on the birthday of Birsa Munda amidst our adivasis people. The adivasi culture is still alive and thriving here. We rarely witness such culture in Tamilnadu where destructive development has taken over the state. The River Kaveri has dried up and we can see how the environmental destruction takes away people’s right to life. The Thothukudi shooting was a complete betrayal of democracy. The basic value of the Constitution derives from the teachings of Buddhism and not from western modernism.”, said Gabriele Dietrich.

 

“The government is not only altering our Constitution and institutions, but also our history.”, said Sangram.

 

Prof. Swadhin Patnaik said that the Constitution gives us the right to criticize and dissent. But there are also laws that takes away those rights, like the UAPA and other draconian laws.

 

People and activists joined the meeting in large number and vowed to fight to save the constitution and reject the anti-people, communal parties from the power. Later in the day, activists reached Madhusudhan Law College in Cuttack. Sukanta Nanda, Principal, welcomed the yatra and remembered the significance of Mahatma Gandhi and Ambedkar in today’s politics.

 

Prafulla Samantara briefed the participants about the yatra and asked the law students to be alert as the Constitution is under grave danger. We need to read about freedom fighters and their way of thinking. It was the dream of them that India should remain secular, socialist, and democratic. People of the country fought for the fundamental rights, Right to equality, Right to freedom of expressions, Right to Life and what not. Then it was emergency declared during Indira’s rule but now, the emergency is undeclared and Govt. is dictating what people can eat, wear, or who they will love. If these things going to remain, the democracy will not remain. The directive principals tell the government to remove inequality economically and socially. Then why we still need to fight for ensuring minimum wages, minimum support price for farmers.

 

Meera Sanghamitra said that the diversity in our country is unmatched but can we be proud of this when they are consistently pushed to margins. Educational institutions are being dismantled and RSS people appointed their heads.

 

Lingaraj, Convener of Western Odisha Farmers Coordination Committee, appealed to the students to work with the movements and people’s issues. Only elections cannot change the realities. Our freedom fighters have showed us the path and we need to ensure that we keep everyone together for a just and equitable society. Now a days, people have started burning the Constitution and giving proposals to completely change it.

 

After the meeting with the law students, Yatra was welcomed in Bhadrak by local activists at Gandhi Peace Foundation. Yuvraj, a young activist, briefed everyone about the yatra.

 

Meera Sanghamitra said that there was oppression under previous governments as well but many things are happening for the first time under the present ruling. For the first time, murderers of Judge are given clean chit. Supreme Court Judges had to do press conference exposing the impending threat on democracy. There is a clear pattern which tells us how the democratic and constitutional institutions are under attack.

 

Adv. Giridhar Natho said the current ruling is clearly serving the corporate interests and facilitating American economic imperialism. We are up against it and will continue resisting along with others.

 

Yatra is going to travel through various places in West Bengal till 18th November and interact with movements. In West Bengal, the activists are going to interact with informal workers, fisherpeople, meet the people struggling against Farakka Barrage, people living in the forests, adivasis, people living in slums, domestic workers, meet people living on the banks of Ganga, workers in tea estates and many others.

 

Activists and leaders of member organisations of NAPM including Gabriele Dietrich, Penn Urimay Iyakkam, Madurai, NAPM Tamil NaduRajendra Ravi, National Cyclists Union, NAPM DelhiAmitava Mitra, Transport Workers Union, NAPM West BengalSuniti SR, Tata, Lavasa, Wang Marathwadi Struggles, NAPM MaharashtraBhupendra Singh RawatJan Sangharsh Vahini, NAPM, DelhiSunita Rani, National Domestic Workers Union, New DelhiMeera Sanghamitra, NAPM Andhra Pradesh – TelanganaRohit, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Madhya PradeshZainab, Humsafar, Feminist group, Lucknow, Uttar PradeshAfroz Jehaan, Yuva Tarang, LucknowYuvaraj Gatkal, Activist, NAPM Maharashtra;Abhishek, Student Activist, Vidrohi Group, KolhapurAkshit, Guhaar, New DelhiAman, Guhaar, New DelhiAnup, Dynamic Action, KeralaMadhusudan, Social Activist, Ganjam Dist, OdishaAryaman, New DelhiAryan, Chandigarh, Punjab are travelling in the yatra.

 

For further details, contact 9971058735 / 9867348307 / [email protected]

 

Discussion on Samvidhan Samman Yatra

1.      On VNM News –  https://www.facebook.com/VNMNEWS/videos/851565491900666/

2.      संविधान सन्मान यात्रा, Satara 24 taas –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aLMITeoKCI&feature=youtu.be

3.      On Starvation deaths in Malhar Tola, Ramgarh, Jharkhand https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHkcdtF9_uA&feature=youtu.be

 

For details about Samvidhan Samman Yatra, check our website www.samvidhanyatra.wordpress.com

 

Call for Solidarity – https://samvidhanyatra.wordpress.com/call-for-solidarity/

 

 

Samvidhan Samman Yatra

 

We are standing at crossroads and passing through a critical juncture in India’s history and have a historical responsibility to save and salvage the ethos of this country, to fulfill the dreams of social, economic and political justice that Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar envisioned. There is an overwhelming urgency to come together, beyond diversity of perspectives, to safeguard the constitutional values and principles of humanity, based on social justice, liberty, equality, fraternity, scientific and rational thinking in the social psyche to deal with all these political, economic, social, cultural challenges. The need of the hour is to create understanding and tolerance in society, by peaceful, democratic and constitutional means. It is equally vital to aim for economic equity, social parity, environmental protection, sustainable development, establishment of people’s rights over access of resources and annihilation of caste and patriarchy.

 

It is with this urgency and spirit that National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has, after numerous discussions,  planned to embark on a Samvidhan Samman Yatra – a nationwide tour to restore and protect the core values of our Constitution and democracy, at a time when there is an all-out attack on the Constitution, people’s rights, livelihoods, environment and the spirit of diversity in the country, even as massive scams, resource loot and dilution of laws are taking place and farmers, workers, students, employees, women, dalits, adivasis, muslims all are on the streets asserting their rights, spaces and freedoms.

 

Yatra shall travel more than 25000 Kms through 26 states in 65 days holding meetings, discussions, public events, supporting struggles, sharing grief of victims of the violence and hate and spreading message of plurality, love, peace and social justice. The Yatra shall culminate in a Manvadhikar Rally and Jan Sansad in Delhi on 10th December, 2018, the International Human Rights Day.

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Gadchiroli villages to move SC against Maharashtra forest body

Villagers are challenging the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd’s 2016 decision under which, it felled 385 hectares of old-growth forest to raise teak plantations

A 2016 photo of the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra's tree-felling activities in Brahmapuri Forest Division. Credit: Shruti AgrawalThe 22 villages in the Brahmapuri Forest Division of Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra are planning to take their judicial battle against the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd (FDCM) a level higher. The villagers have decided to present a Civil Appeal in the Supreme Court under Section 22 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (NGT), against the orders of Tribunal’s Principal Bench of July 24 this year.

The villages are challenging the FDCM’s decision under which it felled 385 hectares (ha) of the old-growth forest to raise teak wood plantations in the area in June 2016.

The communities in the area were traditionally dependent on the Brahmapuri forest for food and livelihood. At least 12 villages filed community forest resource (CFR) rights claims under the Forest Rights Act, 2006. In 2011, the Vihirgaon gram sabha had filed CFR rights claims over 312 ha of forests in its customary village boundary. But it received title deed over 252.56 ha. While the gram sabha’s appeal to review the title deed is pending with the State Level Monitoring Committee, the forest department in 2014 allotted the remaining area to the FDCM. The body started felling trees with scant regard for gram sabha resolutions against its activities.

Moreover, most villages in and around Brahmapuri forest division are governed under the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA), where gram sabhas have the right to manage forest resources. PESA requires that no activity in the traditional boundary of a village can be carried without the consent of the gram sabha. But FDCM did not inform the gram sabhas before felling trees in Brahmapuri forests, let alone seek their consent. In fact, in a letter to the tehsildar of Kurkheda, FDCM stated that the protesting villages, including Sawalkheda and Shirpur, are not governed under PESA. Activists say FDCM’s claim is false. To assert their rights, Sawalkheda residents in April 2016 confiscated FDCM’s wood-cutting machines and lodged a police complaint against it. Instead of recognising the rights of the gram sabha, the police made Sawalkheda residents write a declaration that they would not disrupt the corporation’s activities in the future.

The villagers had initially filed a case in the Bombay High Court in April, 2016, raising the issue of deforestation being conducted by the FDCM in the villages, especially in Compartment 83-A and 83-B as well as in the villages of Desaiganj, Kurkheda, Armori and Vairagad in Gadchiroli district. They had also highlighted the violation of the National Forest Policy, 1988; Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA) as well as the Panchayats (Extension of the Scheduled Area) Act, 1996 as the activity of felling trees was affecting the rights of the communities who have been dependent on such forests for the purposes of their livelihood.

The High Court transferred the case to the NGT in June of the same year. The case was heard by the NGT’s Pune Bench, which gave the direction that the status quo be maintained in November 2017. However, due to non-availability of members in the Pune Bench, the matter was transferred to the Principal Bench of NGT on February 24, 2018.

The NGT, in its order of July 24, had stated that the Management Plan for the Bramhapuri Forest Division was approved back in 2015 and that the Tribunal cannot interfere with the said Management Plan.

“After hearing the case, the High Court had sent it to NGT to assess the implication of tree felling on the ecosystem and the tribal community. However, the NGT did not produce any findings on that front, but went ahead and dismissed the case saying the management plan has been approved. If this was the conclusion that had to be drawn, then what was the need to go to a specialised tribunal? ” asks Ritwick Dutta, environmental lawyer, who has been representing the villagers. “In the review petition at NGT, we attached the National Working Plan Code, 2014, of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest, which talked about considering issues related to FRA while making the Management Plan. However, the Tribunal dismissed the petition saying that it does not hold any merit.”

Now, the villagers are going to approach the apex court to seek justice.

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/forests/gadchiroli-villages-to-move-sc-against-maharashtra-forest-body-62155

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Pune’s Bhima Koregaon riots caused due to intelligence failure, says Ambedkar

Urges judicial commission to summon chief minister, intelligence heads for cross examination

Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Bhima Koregaon,Karjat taluka
Advocate Prakash Ambedkar comes out of Bhima Koregaon judicial commission on Tuesday(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh president Prakash Ambedkar on Tuesday urged the judicial commission probing into the Bhima Koregaon riots to summon chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and the heads of Maharashtra intelligence, state minister for home (rural) Deepak Kesarkar and state minister home (urban) Ranjit Patil for cross examination. Earlier,Chief minister Fadnavis had himself said that the Bhima Koregaon riots had not erupted over intelligence failure.

Referring to his application seeking Fadnavis’s examination in the judicial commission hearing, Ambedkar said the chief minister was attending a programme in Ahmednagar’s Karjat taluka, barely 40 km from Bhima Koregaon on January 1, the day the riots broke..

“ I myself contacted the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) regarding the rioting that took place but to no avail,” he submitted before the two-member commission comprising justice (retd ) JN Patel and former chief secretary Sumit Mullick.

Ambedkar said there is a need to find out whether the police officers who had information about the incident informed the chief minister about the emerging situation. “Whether the on-ground information was passed to the higher authorities needs to be examined and brought on record. Bhima Koregaon riots have taken place due to intelligence failure,” Ambedkar said.

He pointed out that the gram sevak of Vadhu Budruk had informed in writing that the five grampanchayats of the surrounding areas had declared a bandh on account of January 1. This information does not match with the information given by the police and there is a need to cross examine the then police inspector of Shikrapur police station, Ambedkar said.

“This revelation has come out for the first time in the public discourse and I will submit the necessary documents before the commission. It is not the duty of the public servant to give a bandh call and he as gram sevak has communicated the decision of gram panchayat to the government,“ he said.

Ambedkar added that the commission must take into account and record the incidents which happened from December 26 to December 31, 2017, preceding the riots.

He said that the rural police intelligence wing had information regarding a particular telephone number from one district which was operational from December 28 to January 1 and this needed to be brought on the record. He alleged that conflicting information was coming from Pune rural and Pune city police on the riots.

He rejected the allegations that the banned CPI ( Maoist ) had funded the Elgar Parishad held at Shaniwarwada and said, “A retired Supreme Court judge cannot accept funds from a banned organisation. His reputation and integrity is on par and he is a very respected nationalist legal luminary. The allegations being made against him are false and frivolous in nature,” he said.

Ambedkar, who donned the lawyer’s coat, said the government version in terms of affidavits being submitted was changing from time to time and this must be explained by the government, He also submitted a list demanding access to public documents related to the police, case diary, recorded voice conversations, Daund WhatsApp group and other police investigations.

Bhima Koregaon Judicial Commission lawyer Ashish Satpute in his reply said that according to the law the privileged documents cannot be produced before the commission. The counsel cited various case laws related to non-sharing of secret, privileged, confidential and unpublished documents of the state citing state secrecy.

Justice Patel said that the commission can call for all and any type of document as it wants facts to come out. He assured that the confidential documents won’t be made public” and that the objective is only to know the truth.

Forced to withdraw case under police pressure

BG Bansode, lawyer for the victims, alleged before the judicial commission that the Dalits who had filed the atrocity case against the villagers of Vadhu Budruk for desecrating the samadhi of Govind Gopal Mahar were forced to withdraw the case under pressure from Pune rural police.

Advocate Nihal Singh Rathod who appeared for Ramesh Gaichor, a Kabir Kala Manch member, stated that the state was terrified and unwilling to get its top officers examined before the commission. Advocate Dhairyasheel Patil moved an application seeking examination of arrested Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale before the commission.

Lock-up bad for health: Gadling

Advocate Surendra Gadling, lodged in the Yerawada central jail, complained to Uapa Judge K D Vadane on Tuesday about the filthy conditions of the lock-up in the court premises.

Gadling said that he spent three hours in the lock up which reeked of a foul smel and was littered with human refuse and spit. “It’s bad for the health of inmates,” he complained.

Justice Vadane will hear Gadling’s bail application on November 16. The court will also hear the bail applications of Rona Wilson, Mahesh Raut and Sudhir Dhawale on November 16. The court also restricted Advocate Nihal Singh Rathod from addressing the court directing him to file a vakalatnama. Accordingly, Gadling moved an application seeking assistance of Adv Rathod before the court which was agreed to by the judge.

Gadling along with other four persons were arrested by the Pune Police on June 8 for alleged “Maoist link

https://www.hindustantimes.com/pune-news/pune-s-bhima-koregaon-riots-caused-due-to-intelligence-failure-says-ambedkar/story-po44L2AszRK0BRQySv4V9N.html

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Noura Hussein is appealing for her freedom in Sudan #JusticeForNoura


Six months later, still no #JusticeForNoura

It has now been six months to the day since Noura Hussein was sentenced to death in an Sudanese Court for defending herself against rape. While the initial sentence was quashed thanks to an appeal, which reduced her sentence to five years in prison and a restitution payment of 337,000 Sudanese pounds (US $18,700), we remain concerned by her ongoing imprisonment.

We continue to believe that Noura is not a criminal, she is a victim – and should be treated as such. In other countries, victims of rape and domestic violence like Noura would be provided services to ensure that they overcome the trauma of their experiences.

A second appeal for her unconditional freedom was filed in July, but on Thursday the 2nd August, her appeal was withdrawn under suspicious circumstances.

Since then Noura’s case has not progressed nor the circumstances of the withdrawal addressed. The lack of clarity on how to proceed is a clear abuse of Noura’s right to access justice.

We need your help to tell the Sudanese authorities that Noura deserves basic access to justice. Join us in our call on the Sudanese Minister for Justice and the Attorney General to ensure Noura’s case is treated fairly.

In addition to taking action yourself, you can help by spreading the word on social media.

Public attention may have turned away from Noura’s case, but we will not!

#JusticeForNoura

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Condemning the Continuing Violence by CPI (Maoist) in the Name of Election Boycott

 

 

People’s Union for Democratic Rights condemns series of incidents triggered by members of CPI(Maoist) in Bastar Sambhag (region) of Chhattisgarh in just over a fortnight.

·         November 8: Four civilians and one CISF Head constable were killed when an IED (improvised explosive device) exploded in a bus hired by CISF for their use during the election, near Bacheli in Dantewada. Two other CISF personnel were grievously injured.  

·         November 7: A former Sarpanch and a local member of CPI Dhurva Kalmu, out on election campaign, was killed in Bodko village under PS Phoolanbagdi, Dantewada.

·         November 6: A bus carrying passengers on its way between Jagdalpur and Usoor was intercepted. The 35 passengers were asked to get off and the bus was set on fire.

·         November 4: Two persons, Aaytu Hemla and Sonu Penam were abducted near Baddepara village, under P.S. Gangaloor. Aaytu Hemla was beaten to death while Sonu Penam was released. 

·         October 30: Doordarshan camera person Achyutnanda Sahu and Sub Inspector Rudra Pratap, Constable Manglu and Assistant Constable Rakesh Gautam died in an ambush in Aranpur sector of Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh.

Although the Maoists have apologized for the killing of Doordarshan cameraman, they have defended the ambush, the IED explosion as well as the killings of Aaytu Hemla and Dhruva Kalmu. While it is not possible to ascertain the degree of association of these events with the upcoming Assembly elections and the Maoist opposition to the same, these events have occurred in the immediate run up to these elections.

PUDR finds the Maoist defense specious and unacceptable. PUDR holds that contesting, campaigning, voting and boycotting are perfectly legitimate political activities and the use of force and violence in any of these is condemnable. For the Maoists who insist that they are waging a People’s War, these violent acts water down their claim.

For long years the Adivasis of Bastar have been fighting the state over issues of forest land acquisition for mining, systematic dilution of constitutional and legal protection provided to Adivasis, filing of false cases and their prolonged incarceration in jails. The democratic space to raise these issues has already been heavily criminalized by the state. In this context, the wanton acts of the CPI (Maoist) give impetus to the state to further inflict harm through criminal and military means.

The war being waged in Bastar by the Central and state governments against the CPI Maoist is now in its 14th year. According to a recent news report, “the CRPF has deployed close to a lakh armed personnel and a heavy assortment of weapons and gadgets” in a bid to end Maoism in the country.” (PTI, September 2, 2018).This scale of militarisation is not conducive for the maintenance of people’s constitutional rights, including the right to free and fair elections.

PUDR hopes that saner counsel will prevail, and that at the very minimum both sides will abide by norms of International Humanitarian Law extended via common article 3 of the Geneva Convention read with Protocol II to ensure that civilians/noncombatants are not put to harm by any of their activities.

 

Shahana Bhattacharjee and Sharmila Purkayastha

Secretaries PUDR

www.pudr.org

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Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections 2018: I have not retired from politics, says Soni Sori

MORE-IN

Tribal activist explains why she is not contesting this time.

Soni Sori, a teacher, who became the visible face of victims of brutal custodial torture in Chhattisgarh, has emerged as a key tribal voice in Dantewada. Though she was defeated in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Ms. Sori has decided to stay away from the Assembly polls, but not because peace has come to Bastar.

Before the 2014 Lok Sabha election, you joined the Aam Aadmi Party to contest. But this time you have stayed away from the Assembly polls…

I was always little unsure about joining politics and fighting elections. But it was explained to me by many that I should join as at that time [2014] it was a question of my security. I was planning to return to the State and there were severe threats. So I took the AAP offer to contest so that I could be provided some security.

AAP has not renewed its offer this time?

It did. In fact they were forcing me to contest but I decided not to. I thought of generally staying at home and working with girls here.

Why? Have the problems of the tribal people in south Chhattisgarh been addressed and thus you do not need to go the Assembly to highlight the issues?

This question is often asked. But I may need some time to decide.

You met Rahul Gandhi. Did he ask you to join the Congress and contest?

He told me that their door is open for me and I can join any time. I met P.L. Punia (in charge of the Congress in Chhattisgarh) also and he said the same thing.

Somehow, it seems from outside that Bastar is more peaceful now. Is that a reason you are not too keen to contest?

It is not at all correct to say that the situation is peaceful in Bastar. Tribal people are tortured and jailed as they used to be over the years. You may say (in one go) 10 to 12 people used to be killed when S.R.P. Kalluri was the Inspector-General of Police in Bastar. It has reduced a little — may be not 10 or12 but two or three are killed. So we can’t say Bastar is peaceful. Even those who participated in Salwa Judum against the tribal people are suffering… The situation is far from normal. But regarding my participation … maybe, I need little time.

You are supporting girls who have been tortured and displaced, but you have no financial support. If the State government comes forward, will you talk to them?

I can talk to anyone if they are willing to talk on any issue.

Will you be contesting the Lok Sabha election?

I have not retired from politics and will decide on the basis of the situation…at that point.

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Tamil Nadu- Excessive Land Grab in the name of industrial development

 

Industrial Pollution in Cuddalore district on rise, Underground water gets severely polluted as well

 

Youth of Shanmoga Nagar Basti showed the way to peace, equality, and way towards development.

 

Govt. trying to amend and destroy the welfare boards of Construction and Unorganized workers, Samvidhan Samman Yatra stands with the people fighting against the amendments.

 

Cuddalore, Tamilnadu: Today, Samvidhan Samman Yatra reached Shanmoga Nagar Basti in the morning and joined the struggle of People’s Rights Protection Forum. A large number of Youth participants welcomed the Yatra despite heavy rains.

 

Inamul Hassan from Khudai Khidmatgar talked in brief about the colony and said that Around five thousand families live in the colony. This is a resettlement colony, where people were rehabilitated after evictions from slums in the city. Since last 10 years, the colony is still facing lack of basic facilities. Youth and women are getting targeted when any crime happens in the city. Police suspect the residents of the colony as criminals and arrest them often. Since last two years, the residents have joined hands and worked hard to change the face of this area. Today, the area is equipped of all the basic facilities like well-built roads, proper drainage system, etc. A small community library has also been set up.

 

Sandeep Pandey from Socialist Party (India) and NAPM expressed his pleasure in joining the people of the colony and said that as the yatra is going on to bring awareness about how to protect constitutional rights. We have visited many places where social movements are happening for social change and we feel the same here in this colony. The efforts of youth and women are remarkable here. This is an achievement. It will be an example for many others. We urge the youth population to take active part in local-self Governance like Gram Sabha and Wards.

 

“There is need of youngsters walk with workers engaged in unorganized sector and stand united in their struggle”, said Geetha Ramakrishnan from NAPM.

 

Priya, a young girl from the community shared her story and said that “There are five girls in our group and everyone works collectively for the betterment of the community. During 2015 cyclone, we were involved in flood relief work. All our colleagues treat women with great respect. This needs to be replicated and understood as well by everyone in the society. We are all equal and can do wonders if not stopped.”

 

Prafulla Samantara echoed the views expressed by young girl and went down to the earlier time. “In 1972, when I came here for university tour and saw the respect for women here. We were proud and still proud to be associated with groups here. The commune living is an example for peace, equality, and harmony”, he said.

 

Vishnu, a young activist with Yatra added and said that such experiences brings changes in our lives as well. We rarely witness such collective work with so much of respect for each other. We need to learn from them and tell the people out there, who are on spree to mob lynching and spreading hatred on the basis of caste, class, religion, gender and race.

 

From here, the Yatra joined the demonstration on Central Codes and negative effects on Welfare Boards of Construction on Unorganized workers organised by Niramaan Mazdoor Panchayat Sangh and others.

 

Talking about the issues of unorganized workers, Inamul Haque said, “The Govt. is reshuffling everything, they did not leave the labour welfare board as well which works for the welfare of workers. The Modi govt. is trying to bring new laws which are completely unjust and exploitative. Our question is why Govt. is grabbing land, when they promised livelihood, people are asking for their rights and the Govt. in turn trying every measure to strangulate them. They are killing small fisherpeople. Now we won’t let them amend labour board. We will fight till we get out rights intact.

 

Narayan Swami, a leader from Nirmaan Mazdoor Panchayat Sangh said, “The Central Govt. is trying to amend all the boards. The Labour board provides security to workers and by amending it will affect the lives of not only workers but their families as well. Which will devastate a large population in the Tamilnadu.”

 

“We fought for Welfare Board and now we should resist any efforts against its original intention. We will not let it get amended.”, said Geetha Ramakrishnan.

 

Meera Sanghamitra shared the objective of Samvidhan Samman Yatra and assured the struggle of required support.

 

In the afternoon, the Yatra reached Cuddalore district, there are chemical industries affecting about 50 villages in the district. The major land acquisition is done by SIPCOT (State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamilnadu Ltd). A major chunk of land that is being acquired in the name of SIMA (South Indian Millers Association). They have acquired about 250 acres of land however their requirement is more than 400 acres of land. The area is already under severe pollution and it is also ranked 3rd in the Comprehensive Environment Pollution Index (CEPI) which is a study done for understanding the extent of pollution by Central Pollution Control Board. So, in the CEPI index, Cuddalore stands at No. 3 after two industrial estates of Gujarat. The area is also very rich in farming, the soil is very fertile. However, the land acquired by SIMA is still under-utilized. Most of the land is compounded but not used. There are not many industries in the area. It seems more like a land scam than a planned industrial development.

 

The village Periyapattu where a team of activists travelling with the Yatra met People’s Committee for Protection of Livelihood. The activists and leaders of the committee apprised us of the pollution ordeal that they are facing. On field visit we could also see the leakage and seepage of industrial effluents on to the field of farmers. There is a pipeline which goes into the sea to release the effluents. The local committee has been struggling against the pollution and the land grab since last decade.

 

The major issues raised by local committee members were that they have already lost much of their land under the SIPCOT scheme of industrial development. Whatever land is remaining with us is being polluted by release of effluents. Ground water has also got polluted and its colour has changed. Pollution is rampant and the inaction by local pollution control board and other responsible agencies.

 

The land which remains unutilized is being contested by local people that our land for paltry and now it is remaining unutilized since last few years. The local committee was very encouraged by presence of NAPM leaders, Prafulla Samantara from Odisha, Sandeep Pandey from Uttar Pradesh, Suniti SR from Maharashtra, and Krishnakant from Gujarat. NAPM leaders assured the committee leaders of full support in all the required manner and also suggested that the farmers should take possession of land because it is still being unutilized which is a waste of resources even for the country.

 

Renowned social activists Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Odisha; Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party (India); Gabriele Dietrich, NAPM, Tamilnadu; Arundhati Dhuru, NAPM, Uttar Pradesh; Ashish Ranjan – Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan (Bihar); Meera Sanghamitra – NAPM (Andhra Pradesh – Telangana); Bhupendra Singh Rawat – Jan Sangharsh Vahini; Suniti S R – NAPM Maharashtra; Krishnakant – Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (Gujarat); Madhuresh Kumar – NAPM, Delhi; Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagve – NAPM  Maharashtra; Sanjay Nazre – Vidrohi Sanskritik Andolan; Kamla Yadav and Rohit – Narmada Bachao Andolan; Yogiraj, Mahendra Rathore, Jayesh Lal – MNREGA Mazdoor Union, Purvanchal Kisan Union, Uttar Pradesh; Subhadra tai, Parvati tai, Ghanekar kaka, Sonu, Jameela – Ghar Bachao Ghar banao Andolan, Mumbai; Tilola Haldar, Mrityunjay Haldar – Sundaravan Shramjivi Sangathan; Ramashish Yadav, Premshila Yadav, Manisha Patil; Kalai, Vishnu, Vinod – Organic farmers, Tamilnadu; Fauziya – Jammu & Kashmir Soochna Adhikar Abhiyan; Madhusudan – Odisha; Akshit – Guhaar; Aryaman Jain, Aryan – Delhi; Rimpy – Student, Dibrugarh University; Himshi, Uma – NAPM Delhi, are traveling in the second phase as a part of Samvidhan Samman Yatra.

 

 

Discussion on Samvidhan Samman Yatra

  1. On VNM News –  https://www.facebook.com/VNMNEWS/videos/851565491900666/

  2. e

 

For details about Samvidhan Samman Yatra, check our website www.samvidhanyatra.wordpress.com

 

Call for Solidarity – https://samvidhanyatra.wordpress.com/call-for-solidarity/

 

Samvidhan Samman Yatra

We are standing at crossroads and passing through a critical juncture in India’s history and have a historical responsibility to save and salvage the ethos of this country, to fulfill the dreams of social, economic and political justice that Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar envisioned. There is an overwhelming urgency to come together, beyond diversity of perspectives, to safeguard the constitutional values and principles of humanity, based on social justice, liberty, equality, fraternity, scientific and rational thinking in the social psyche to deal with all these political, economic, social, cultural challenges. The need of the hour is to create understanding and tolerance in society, by peaceful, democratic and constitutional means. It is equally vital to aim for economic equity, social parity, environmental protection, sustainable development, establishment of people’s rights over access of resources and annihilation of caste and patriarchy.

It is with this urgency and spirit that National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has, after numerous discussions,  planned to embark on a Samvidhan Samman Yatra – a nationwide tour to restore and protect the core values of our Constitution and democracy, at a time when there is an all-out attack on the Constitution, people’s rights, livelihoods, environment and the spirit of diversity in the country, even as massive scams, resource loot and dilution of laws are taking place and farmers, workers, students, employees, women, dalits, adivasis, muslims all are on the streets asserting their rights, spaces and freedoms.

Yatra shall travel more than 25000 Kms through 26 states in 65 days holding meetings, discussions, public events, supporting struggles, sharing grief of victims of the violence and hate and spreading message of plurality, love, peace and social justice. The Yatra shall culminate in a Manvadhikar Rally and Jan Sansad in Delhi on 10th December, 2018, the International Human Rights Day.

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Forceful land acquisition and government brutalities define Jharkhand’s Adani power-plant project #StopAdani

With much fanfare, Jharkhand government signed an MoU with Adani groups in 2016 to setup a powerplant in Godda district. A recent fact-finding visit of members of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, an umbrella network of more than 30 people’s organisations, found that this project has gathered several accolades in the last two years – forceful acquisition of land, severe violation of processes set by land acquisition act 2013, bulldozing standing crops of farmers, lying to people about the potential benefits, intimidating affected people with police brutalities, lawsuits and so on.

According to the social impact assessment report of the company, 1364 acres of land, spread across 10 villages of two blocks of Godda, are to be acquired for the thermal power plant. The plant is to produce 1600 MW of electricity. The government and the company claim that this plant is a public-purpose project with ‘zero’ displacement that will lead to generation of employment and economic development.  25 percent of total power produced will be made available to Jharkhand.

The ground realities are far from these claims. According to the acquisition act, consent of at least 80 percent of affected families and permission of the concerned Gram Sabhas are required for acquisition of land for private projects. But most of the adivasi and several non-adivasi landowners are opposed to the project from the beginning. In 2016 and 2017, public hearings for social impact assessment (SIA) and environment impact assessment (EIA) were organised. Several landowners who were opposed to the plant were not allowed by Adani functionaries and local administration to participate in the hearings. The affected villagers also claim that people of non-affected areas were made to sit in the hearings. In one of these meetings, when affected families had protested against not being allowed to express their views, the police had misbehaved with several women and lathi charged at them.

The social impact assessment report of the company has several factual and constitutional errors such as no technically skilled person in the affected villages, zero displacement, marking all villagers of affected villages as Hindus and so on. It also does not take into account the impact on the sharecroppers. The report does not mention the other alternatives for the proposed project site. The report is silent on the number of jobs that would be created by this project. Also, neither the video recording of landowners giving their consent for the acquisition nor the signed consent forms are available. It must be mentioned that the act clearly specifies that affected families do not only include the land owners but also the workers and sharecroppers.

The government has acquired around 500 acres of land in four villages. This includes forceful acquisition of 50 acres of land of 40 families against their wishes. In its attempt to forcefully acquire land, the company with the support of the local police, bulldozed standing crops, several trees, burial ground and pond across 15 acres of land of Manager Hembram and five other adivasi families of Mali village. While forcefully acquiring land of Motiya village’s Ramjeevan Paswan, Adani functionaries threatened him that he would be buried in his land if he refused to give it to the company (“zameen nahi di to zameen mein gaad denge”). The police refused to lodge his complaint against the functionaries.

When the people of Mali complained to the Deputy Commissioner (DC) against the forceful acquisition of their land without their consent, the DC refused to take any action and instead told the people that since their lands had been acquired, they should just take the compensation. People of the affected villages claim that more than 1000 families will be displaced if land is acquired in all the ten villages. It will have a direct impact on their livelihoods and survival. Also, for adivasis families, the land is associated with their culture, history and identity, which they do not want to lose at any cost. It must be mentioned that according to section 20 of the Santhal Paragana Tenancy Act, agricultural land in Santhal Pargana area cannot be transferred or acquired for any government or private projects, barring a few exceptions.

According to the environment impact assessment report, 14-18 MT coal will be used by the plant every year. There is little doubt that this will severely affect the local ecosystem. The plant will need 36 MCM water per year which is supposed to be sourced from the local rainfed lifeline, Chir river. This will drain up the limited source in the water-deprived district of Godda.

The power produced in the plant will be supplied to Bangladesh. Even though Adani company is to provide at least 25 percent of total power to Jharkhand, its SIA report does not clearly mention the source from where the company will provide power to the state. A recent newsreport also exposed how Jharkhand government changed its energy policy in 2016 to buy power from the Adani company at a higher rate which might cost the exchequer more than Rs. 7000 crores in the next 25 years.

It is clear from the inquiry that several laws have been grossly violated by this project till now. The Adani project is yet another example of government prioritising corporate interests at the cost of blatant exploitation of people and their resources. It is not surprising that most of the documents related to the acquisition for this project are not available on the district administration’s website, as mandated by the act. Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, on behalf of all the constituent organisations and activists, demands the following:

  • Implementation of the illegal project be immediately stopped, acquisition of land for the plant be stopped and illegally acquired land be given back.
  • Since this project has violated several constitutional provisions and laws, a judicial  inquiry of the project be undertaken and  legal action be taken against the Adani company and responsible officials for the exploitation of people
  • All affected families to be compensated for the loss in crops and livelihoods

Factfinding report and introductory statement of Mahasabha attached. All documents mentioned in the release are available on https://drive.google.com/open?id=11QS2oCRSXhQX6BQneAn6WjJVwBldeZl3 . Video testimonies of affected families available on the youtube channel of them Mahasabha – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqeFZJtRLHq4LBrE5l5FkJA?view_as=subscriber . For more details, please contact Vivek (8873341415), Kumar Chand Mardi (9934165214), Chintamani Sahu (8226961999) or Siraj (9939819763) or write at [email protected]

 

What is JJM?

Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha is a coalition of concerned citizens and thirty progressive organisations, formed in August 2018 to facilitate efforts to defend people’s rights and save democracy in Jharkhand.

The Mahasabha was formed against the background of multiple attacks on people’s rights and democracy: attempted amendments of land laws, starvation deaths, lynching incidents, harassment of activists, state-sponsored communalism, attacks on the freedom of expression, to name a few. It is committed to the use of all possible democratic means to counter these trends and assert people’s democratic rights.

Principles and Focus

The Mahasabha is committed to democratic working principles, including equality, participatory decision-making, non-violent action, and fair representation of disadvantaged groups at every step. It is opposed to all social hierarchies including caste, class and gender inequality.

The main focus of the Mahasabha is on defending constitutional rights, including the right to life, the right to equality, the right to freedom of expression, the right to self-governance and all socio-economic rights outlined in the Directive Principles. The Mahasabha proposes to initiate a series of activities around these issues: public awareness programs, meetings, street demonstrations, legal action, joint statements and more. It will also support initiatives taken by the participating organisations by mobilising member-organisations and resources.

Structure

JJM is an open platform – any organisation that agrees with its basic principles is welcome.

JJM has a steering committee, currently consisting of one member of each of the founding organisations (listed below), aside from a few invited individuals. To facilitate its day-to-day work, the steering committee has formed a core group and a secretariat.

Independence

The Mahasabha is a people’s movement, it will avoid any formal collaboration with mainstream political parties, the government and funding agencies.

Founding organisations*

Adivasi Mulwasi Adhikar Manch, Adivasi Sengel Abhiyan, Adivasi Women’s Network, APCR Jharkhand, Asangathit Mazdoor Vahini, Bagaicha, Bharat Jan Andolan, CPI-ML (Red Star), CPI-ML (Class Struggle),  Ekal Nari Sashakti Sangathan, Ekta Parishad, Gaon Ganrajya Parishad, Hasa aur Bhasha Jagao Sangathan (Godda), Jan Mukti Sangharsh Vahini, Jan Sangram Manch, Jharkhand Kisan Parishad (Chandil), Jharkhand Loktantrik Manch, Jharkhand Nagrik Prayas, Jungle Bachao Andolan,  Kendriya Jan Sangharsh Samiti, National Alliance of People’s Movements, NREGA Watch, Sajha Kadam, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Sangharsh Vahini, SUCI (Communist), TRTC (Chaibasa), Right to Food Campaign,  Jharkhand, Kandi, Loktantra Bachao Manch, Swaraj India, United Milli Forum, Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan, YCR parties. (* In alphabetical order)

झारखंड के अडानी पावरप्लांट परियोजना–

जबरन भूमि अधिग्रहण और सरकारी बर्बरता का सूचक

 

2016 में झारखंड सरकार ने बहुत जोरशोर के साथ गोड्डा ज़िले में एक पावरप्लांट स्थापित करने के लिए अदानी समूह के साथ समझौता किया था। झारखंड जनाधिकार महासभा, जो कि 30 से अधिक संगठनों का एक मंच है, के एक दल ने हाल में ही इस परियोजना का तथ्यान्वेषण किया। जांच में पता चला कि पिछले दो सालों में परियोजना की कई उपलब्धियां हैं, जैसे – जबरन भूमि अधिग्रहण,  भूमि अधिग्रहण कानून 2013 की प्रक्रियाओं का व्यापक उल्लंघन , किसानों की फसलों को बर्बाद करना,  संभावित लाभों के बारे में लोगों से झूठ बोलना,  प्रभावित परिवारों पर पुलिस बर्बरता, केस मुकदमे करना तथा अन्य हथकंडो से डराना।

 

कंपनी की सामाजिक प्रभाव मूल्यांकन रिपोर्ट के अनुसार, थर्मल पावर प्लांट के लिए गोड्डा जिले के दो प्रखंडो के 10 गांवों में फैली हुई 1364 एकड़ भूमि को अधिग्रहित किया जाना है। इस प्लांट से 1600 मेगावॉट बिजली की उत्पादन होगी। झारखंड सरकार और कंपनी का दावा है कि यह एक लोक परियोजना है, इससे रोजगार का सृजन और आर्थिक विकास होगा तथा इस परियोजना में विस्थापन की संख्या ‘शून्य’ है। कुल बिजली उत्पादन का 25 प्रतिशत झारखंड को दिया जाएगा।

ज़मीनी वास्तविकता इन दावों के विपरीत है। भूमि अधिग्रहण कानून 2013 के अनुसार, निजी परियोजनाओं के लिए भूमि अधिग्रहण करने के लिए कम से कम 80 प्रतिशत प्रभावित परिवारों की सहमति एवं ग्राम सभा की अनुमति की आवश्यकता है। लेकिन क्षेत्र के अधिकांश आदिवासी और कई गैर-आदिवासी परिवार शुरुआत से ही परियोजना का विरोध कर रहे हैं। 2016 और 2017 में, सामाजिक प्रभाव मूल्यांकन (SIA) और पर्यावरण प्रभाव मूल्यांकन (EIA) के लिए जनसुनवाई आयोजित की गई थी। कई ज़मीन मालिक जो इस परियोजना के विरोध में थे उन्हें अडानी के अधिकारीयों और स्थानीय प्रशासन ने जनसुनवाई में भाग लेने नहीं दिया। प्रभावित ग्रामीण दावा करते हैं कि गैर-प्रभावित क्षेत्रों के लोगों को सुनवाई में बैठाया गया था। ऐसी ही एक बैठक के बाद जिसमें प्रभावित परिवारों को अपनी बात रखने का मौका नहीं दिया गया था, ग्रामीणों और पुलिस के बीच झड़प हुई थी और पुलिस द्वारा महिलाओं के साथ दुर्व्यवहार ने उन पर पर लाठी चार्ज किया था।

कंपनी की सामाजिक प्रभाव मूल्यांकन रिपोर्ट में कई तथ्यात्मक व वैधानिक त्रुटियां हैं जैसे प्रभावित गांवों में कोई तकनिकी रूप में कुशल और शिक्षित व्यक्ति न होना, शून्य विस्थापन, प्रभावित गांवों के सभी ग्रामीणों का धर्म हिंदु बताना आदि। बटाईदार खेतिहर पर होने वाले प्रभाव का कोई ज़िक्र नहीं है। न ही इसमें वैकल्पिक ज़मीन की बात की गयी है । परियोजना से सृजित होने वाली नौकरियों की संख्या रिपोर्ट में स्पष्ट नही है। साथ ही, भूमि अधिग्रहण के लिए सहमती की विडियो और ज़मीन मालिकों द्वारा हस्ताक्षरित सहमती पत्र उपलब्ध नही हैं। यह गौर करने की बात है कि अधिनियम के अनुसार प्रभावित परिवारों का हिस्सा ज़मीन मालिक, मज़दूर व बटाईदार खेतिहर होते हैं.सरकार ने चार गांवों में लगभग 500 एकड़ भूमि अधिग्रहित की है। इसमें से कम-से-कम 100 एकड़ ज़मीन सम्बंधित 40 प्रभावित परिवारों की सहमती के बिना जबरन अधिग्रहण किया गया है। कंपनी  ने स्थानीय पुलिस के सहयोग से माली गाँव के मेनेजर हेमब्रम सहित अन्य पांच आदिवासी परिवारों की 15 एकड़ जमीन में लगी फसलों, कई पेड़-पौधों,  श्मशान घाटो और तालाब को बर्बाद कर दिया। मोतिया गांव के रामजीवन पासवान की भूमि को जबरन अधिग्रहण करने के दौरान, अडानी कंपनी के अधिकारीयों ने उन्हें धमकी दी कि, “ज़मीन नही दी तो जमीन में गाड़ देंगे”। पुलिस ने अडानी के अधिकारीयों के खिलाफ उनकी शिकायत दर्ज करने से इंकार कर दिया।

जब माली के लोगों ने उनकी सहमति के बिना ज़बरदस्ती भूमि अधिग्रहण के खिलाफ गोड्डा के उपायुक्त से शिकायत की,  तो उन्होंने कारवायी करने से इनकार कर दिया और कहा कि उनकी भूमि अधिगृहित कर ली गयी है,इसलिए उन्हें मुआवजा लेना चाहिए। प्रभावित गांवों के लोग दावा करते हैं कि अगर सभी दस गांवों में जमीन अधिग्रहित की जाती है तो 1000 से अधिक परिवार विस्थापित हो जाएंगे। इससे उनके आजीविका और रोजगार पर गहरा प्रभाव पड़ेगा। साथ ही, आदिवासी परिवारों के लिए ज़मीन उनकी संस्कृति, परंपरा और अस्तित्वा से जुड़ा है जिसे वे गवाना नहीं चाहते हैं. यह गौर करने की बात है कि संथाल परगना टेनेंसी अधिनियम की धारा 20 के अनुसार किसी भी सरकारी या निजी परियोजना (कुछ विशेष परियोजनाओं के अलावा) के लिए कृषि भूमि हस्तांतरित या अधिगृहित नही की जा सकती है।

पर्यावरण प्रभाव मूल्यांकन रिपोर्ट के अनुसार, हर वर्ष प्लांट में 14-18 मिलियन टन कोयले का उपयोग किया जाएगा। इसमें कोई संदेह नहीं है कि यह आस-पास के वातावरण को गंभीर रूप से प्रभावित करेगा। प्लांट में प्रति वर्ष 36 MCM पानी की आवश्यकता होगी, जिसे स्थानीय चिर नदी से लिया जाएगा। यह वर्षा आधारित नदी इस जल-आभाव क्षेत्र के लिए जीवनरेखा समान है।

प्लांट से उत्पादित बिजली बांग्लादेश में आपूर्ति की जाएगी। हालांकि अडानी कंपनी को कुल उत्पादन का कम से कम 25 प्रतिशत बिजली झारखंड को उपलब्ध कराना है, लेकिन इसके समाजीक प्रभाव मुल्यांकन रिपोर्ट में इस 25 प्रतिशत के स्रोत का स्पष्ट रूप से उल्लेख नहीं है। हाल के एक न्यूज़ रिपोर्ट ने यह खुलासा किया है कि झारखंड सरकार ने अडानी कंपनी से उच्च दर पर बिजली खरीदने के लिए 2016 में अपनी ऊर्जा नीति में बदलाव की थी। इस बदलाव के कारण सरकार से अडानी समूह को अगले 25 वर्षो में सामान्य भुगतान के अलावा 7000 हजार करोड़ रु का अतिरिक्त भुगतान भी मिल सकता है।

जांच से यह स्पष्ट है कि इस पूरी परियोजना में अभी तक कई कानूनों का घोर उलंघन हुआ है. इस परियोजना से स्पष्ट है कि सरकार लोगों का शोषण व उनके संसाधनों का दोहन करके कॉर्पोरेट घरानों के मुनाफे को प्राथमिकता दे रही है। यह आश्चर्य की बात नहीं है कि इस परियोजना के भूमि अधिग्रहण से संबंधित अधिकांश दस्तावेज जिला प्रशासन की वेबसाइट पर उपलब्ध नहीं हैं, जैसा कि अधिनियम अंतर्गत अनिवार्य है। झारखंड जनाधिकार महासाभा, सभी संगठनों और कार्यकर्ताओं की ओर से निम्न मांग करता हैं:

  • अवैध तरीके से लगायी जा रही परियोजना को तुरंत रोका जाए, प्लांट के लिए भूमि अधिग्रहण को तुरंत बंद किया जाय और अवैध तरीके से अधिग्रहित की जा रही ज़मीन को वापिस किया जाए.
  • चुकि इस परियोजना में कई कानूनों का उलंघन हुआ है, इस परियोजना का न्यायिक जांच करवाया जाए तथा लोगों के शोषण के लिए अडानी कंपनी और ज़िम्मेदार पदाधिकारियों के विरुद्ध कानूनी कार्रवाई की जाए

सभी प्रभावित परिवारों को अभी तक हुए फसलों और आजीविका के नुकसान के लिए मुआवजा दिया जाय

तथ्यान्वेषण रिपोर्ट और महासाभा का परिचय पत्र संलग्न है। सम्बंधित दस्तावेज़ इस लिंक से डाउनलोड कर सकते हैं – https://drive.google.com/open?id=11QS2oCRSXhQX6BQneAn6WjJVwBldeZl3 . प्रभावित परिवारों के बयान का विडियो महासभा की youtube चैनल https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqeFZJtRLHq4LBrE5l5FkJA?view_as=subscriber पर उपलब्ध है। अधिक जानकारी के लिए विवेक (8873341415)कुमार चंद मार्डी (9934165214), चिंतमनी साहू (8226961999) या सिराज (9939819763) से संपर्क करे अथवा jharkhand.janadhikar.[email protected]com पर लिखें।

— 

झारखंड जनाधिकार महासभा कई सामाजिक कार्यकर्ताओं और 30 जन संगठनों का एक मंच है जिसका गठन अगस्त 2018 में किया गया. इसका मुख्य उद्देश्य है राज्य में जन अधिकारों और लोकतंत्र पर हो रहे हमलों के विरुद्ध संघर्षों को संगठित और सुदृढ़ करना.

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India – Statue of Unity or Statue of Tribal Injustice?

A night before the unveiling of Sardar Patel’s statue, actvists, locals and journalists were detained by the police to prevent them from protesting

By Darshan Desai
Last Updated: Wednesday 31 October 2018

Statue of Unity

Locals protest land acquisition for road widening, a 53-room hotel and tourist facilities around the structure. Credit: Arranged by author Locals protest land acquisition for road widening, a 53-room hotel and tourist facilities around the structure. Credit: Arranged by author

The simmering anger of thousands of tribals in Gujarat’s eastern belt snowballed into a deafening silence today as Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a statute of Sardar Patel, touted to be the world’s tallest statue.

Scores of villages remained shut and stoves were not lit in home kitchens as a symbol of mourning. Traditionally, no food is cooked when mourning the dead.

As many as 75,000 people from at least 72 villages have been affected by the Statue of Unity located at Sadhu Bet island, which is three km from the Sardar Sarovar Project and within the Garudeshwar weir supporting the dam.

The state machinery, including the top bureaucracy, executive officers, State Reserve Police Force and home guard companies were pressed into service to ensure Modi’s big show-stopper moment ahead of the crucial 2019 electoral battle was picture perfect.

Through Tuesday night, a huge posse of policemen deployed in Narmada district, indiscriminately knocked at the huts and thatched homes and more than 90 social and human rights activists were whisked away without giving any reason.

A local activist Mudita Vidrohi told Down To Earth, “My mother and me were picked up without any reason as though we were hardcore criminals. We were there just to express our solidarity with the Adivasis and there was no public protest programme planned by us or the tribal organisations.” Mudita posted a video on the social media that showed others, including journalists being taken away.

Tribals from across the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat, not just Narmada district, were protesting against the 182-metre statue, two times the height of the Statue of Liberty. There were reports of police making arrests of tribals even in the Dang forests and Banaskantha district in the North to prevent them from staging any demonstrations.

Tribal leader Praful Vasava, who has been at the forefront of the protest ever since the then chief minister Narendra Modi had declared the project in 2013, says, “We have never had any problems with the statue, but we can’t keep quiet about something which hits at our very existence.”

Of the 72 villages affected by the statue, rehabilitation has been left half way in 32. The Kevadia Colony that houses the staff of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada dam project is likely to affect six villages. In seven villages in Garudeshwar block, cash compensation was given but other commitments like land for land or jobs have not been fulfilled.

A local human rights activist, Anand Mazgaonkar, who was detained by the police says, “There are as many as 13 villages with an approximate population of 20,000 which have been directly affected by the land acquisition for the statue project. This also includes land plots taken away for road widening, a 53-room hotel and a host of tourist facilities around the structure.”

He has also said that the first six villages acquired for Sardar Sarovar staff colonies were never recognised as project affected and that they are still fighting this.

“The 19 villages that were, in fact, recognised as project-affected are fighting because promises made repeatedly to them were not kept. The seven villages that would be affected by Garudeshwar weir are fighting for their rights,” he added.

Besides, 28 villages on the right bank of the Narmada dam’s main canal are not allowed to share a drop of water even in this rain-scarce year. They have also resolved to fight, says Mazgaonkar.

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/governance/statue-of-unity-or-statue-of-tribal-injustice–61997

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WhatsApp from Sardar Patel I am going to boycott the Program of 31 October 2018

By- Rohit Prajapati,

WhatsApp from Sardar Patel

I am upset, depressed

Looking at “Statue of Unity Project”

It is Symbol of ‘River Lynching’, ‘Violence and Violations’

It is De-Facto Statue of…

Miseries and exploitation of Narmada River, Downstream River and her Ecology, Ecological-Flow, Tribals, Downstream Villagers, Livelihood, Social and Environment Justice, Democracy, Ecology, Natural Resources, Valuable  Human Resources, Wildlife, Sanctuary, …

Long List.

I am going to Boycott

The Inaugural Program of “Statute of Unity Project” on 31 October 2018

I will be on hunger strike on 31 October 2018

I will register my protest on 31 October 2018

What about you?

Because It is a Symbol of

Ego,

Arrogance,

Dictatorship,

Anti-River-ism,

River Lynching,

Criminal Action,

Anti-People-ism,

Authoritarianism,

Anti-Ecology-ism,

State Repression,

Violence and Violations,

Wasteful Spending, ……………………….

___________________

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