An urgent inquiry be conducted into the kidnapping and then release of Shri Prafulla Samantara

–         This is an attack on dissent

–         All arrested villagers be released

It has been 10 days since Shri Prafulla Samantara, a prominent environmentalist, writer, and socialist thinker of the state, was kidnapped from a hotel in Rayagada town on August 29 and then released. Despite all the newspapers and electronic-media clearly indicating that the abductors were the state police themselves, it is neither being investigated by the state government nor it is ascertained that the state government’s police department is not behind the kidnapping. Such a mafia regime of the state government is an attack on dissent, which the GANATANTRIK ADHIKAAR SURAKSHA SANGATHAN, ODISHA strongly condemns.

In the meantime, 23 villagers have been arrested for opposing the bauxite mining operation of Vedanta-Maitri Company at Sijimali in Kashipur Block of Rayagada district. Those arrested people are mainly Dalits and Adivasis. It has been reported in all the media that on August 29, Shri Prafulla Samantara went to Rayagada Jail, met the arrested villagers of Sijimali in the jail and called for a press conference in this regard. Suddenly he was kidnapped from that place, covering his face, tying his hands behind him, by some abductors. While the identity of those abductors remains unclear in the media reports, the accusing finger has been pointed at state government officials.

Many writers, playwrights, filmmakers, political activists and individuals, like Prafulla Babu, who have been strongly opposing the land grabbing and environmental degradation caused by the corporate houses have also been opposing the state government’s disastrous developmental policy. Kidnappings of Shri Prafulla Samantara and the likes are an attack on the dissent. The repressive attitude of the state government has put many writers and social activists under pressure. There is no doubt that the so called developmental policy of the government will destroy people’s lives, livelihoods, forests, and environment. However, the state government, instead of calling for any debate and the opinion of the people of the state, is unleashing terror, repression, firing, and now allegations of kidnapping. This act of the government has made the present and future society completely vulnerable and terrorized.

In this backdrop, we demand before the state government that;

1. An inquiry be conducted into the abduction of Shri Prafulla Babu and its report  be published in public domain.

2. Unconditionally release all the arrested villagers who are opposing mining of bauxite of Vedanta Co. in Kashipur, Niyamgiri and Kodingamali; Hindalco – Aditya Birla Co. in Maliparbat and land acquisition of Jindal Steel Co. in Dhinkia areas.

3. Stop repression of those opposing the government’s anti-people mining policy.