Reported by Ranjan Rath, odisha sun times
Rayagada, Oct 27:
The Odisha Lok Sangram Manch and the Niyamgiri Suraksha Manch today took out a joint protest rally in Muniguda in Odisha’s Rayagada district to protest the arrest of Haribandhu Kadraka, a tribal leader who has been fighting for the rights of the tribal people of the district for years.
Hundreds of tribal people from Niyamgiri hill and its periphery areas joined the rally, which started from Munikhol and culminated at Muniguda town. The protesters held a public meeting in front of the Muniguda police station.
Addressing the meeting, president of the Odisha Lok Sangram Manch Kusanath Pradhan and president of Niyamgiri Suraksha Manch Lingaraj Azad demanded unconditional release of Kadraka with immediate effect.
“We have demanded immediate release of Kadraka. If the state government fails to meet our demand, we would intensify the agitation”, they warned.
Talking to OST, CPI (ML) national spokesman Bhala Chandra Sarangi said the police have tried to silence a vocal rights activist like Haribandhu by arresting him and branding him a Maoist.
“Not only Haribandhu, there are several other tribals who have fallen victim to the police repression here”, he added.
Apprehending law and order situation, the district administration had deployed four platoons of armed police in the area.
It may be mentioned here that the Muniguda police had arrested Haribandhu, former president of Odisha Lok Sangram Manch, on October 20 this year on the charge of planting landmines at a culvert at Sarabali village, and later forwarded him to the court.
Activists of Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti (NSS), the organisation that played a key role in stopping Bauxite mining plans in Niyamgiri hills, and tribal organisation Lok Sangram Manch (LSM) held a joint demonstration at Muniguda in Rayagada district on Monday to protest against the arrest of LSM leader Haribandhu Kadraka.
It may be noted that Kadraka had been arrested by Rayagada police on October 20 on an allegation that he was a Maoist.
According to police sources, he had been arrested from Muniguda police station area while he and few others were allegedly planting a landmine under a culvert.
The police had claimed that explosive materials and live ammunition were seized from his possession.
But since the arrest, the LSM and NSS had claimed that Kadraka was innocent having no links with Maoists and he had been falsely implicated by police.
On Monday, activists of both these organisations held a demonstration demanding the immediate release of Kadraka. They took out a rally at Muniguda and also held a public meeting in front of the Muniguda police station.
This protest demonstration was led by Lingaraj Azad, Lada Sikaka of NSS and president of LSM Kusanath Pradhan.
Leaders of both the organisations said that Kadraka was the Muniguda block president of LSM and was actively involved in the anti-Vedanta agitation to protest against mining in Niyamgiri area.
“It seems Kadraka was falsely implicated by the police for his continuing anti-Vedanta stance,” said Mr Azad and Mr Sikaka.
“He was falsely implicated for his anti-Vedanta stance