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Odisha – Tribals Dongria Kondhs Rally over Fake Encounter

RAYAGADA:  More than 500 Dongria Kondhs under the banner of Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti (NSS) took out a protest rally with traditional weapons and gheraoed Kalyansinghpur police station here on Monday.

They were protesting the killing of a tribal youth, Manda Kadraka, in an encounter on February 27 and branding him as a Maoist by the police. The tribals demanded an independent judicial inquiry into the killing of Manda and a compensation of `50 lakh for his family.

President of NSS, Dadhi Sikaka alleged that the State Government is trying to spread terror among Dongria Kondhs with an aim to clear its path to mine bauxite in Niyamgiri hills. He said the tribals would not allow any mining activities in and around Niyamgiri hills at any cost.

The decision of the Gram Sabhas of 12 villages to reject bauxite mining in Niyamgiri hills cannot be changed even though State Government has filed a fresh appeal in the Supreme Court. General Secretary of Samajvadi Jana Parishad National Committee Lingaraj Azad, president of Lokashakti Abhijan Prafulla Samantray, convenor of Western Odisha Krushak Sangathan Lingaraj Pradhan, members of Prakrutika Surakhya Samiti Nabin Naik and  Kumuti Majhi were present.  Three platoons of police force took out a flag march in Kalyansinghpur village to avert any untoward incident.

Alleging that it was a well-planned conspiracy, they demand a judicial probe into the death of a tribal youth

Activists of Niyamgiri Surakshya Samity (NSS) held a demonstration in front of Kalyansinghpur police station in Rayagada district of Odisha to protest against killing of tribal youth Monda Kadrika during police firing on February 27 and the State government’s fresh attempts for bauxite mining in Niyamgiri hills.

These demonstrators, mostly Dongria tribals, included large number of women and were led by NSS leaders Dadhi Pushika, Kumuti Majhi and advisers of the organisation Prafulla Samantra, Lingaraj Azad. They also organised a memorial meeting for Monda. They demanded a judicial enquiry into Kadrika’s killing alleging that it was a planned effort to repress voice of tribals by branding them Maoists. The police had claimed that Kadrika had been killed on February 27 during an exchange of fire between the Maoists and security forces. But according to his family members and villagers, Kadrika was falsely implicated.

His brother had lodged a complaint at Kalyansinghpur police station alleging that Kadrika was killed in a fake encounter. Demonstrators said that the police had not accepted the complaint as FIR and started investigation. They demanded legal action against those police personnel involved in this killing. Meanwhile, the Odisha Human Rights Commission has sought report regarding the incident after human rights activists approached it.

Mr Samantra and Mr Azad were of the opinion that there was no need for the Odisha government to approach the Supreme Court for holding gram sabhas again in Niyamgiri hills region for bauxite mining in the region. “The Odisha government has no alumina project of its own and the current price of bauxite ore in international market is too low. Yet the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) is trying hard to mine for bauxite in Niyamgiri hills. It hints at tacit efforts of the Odisha government to ensure raw material supply to Vedanta’s alumina refinery in Kalahandi district,” said Mr Samantra. They also alleged that the Odisha government was wrongly using public money to approach the apex court for private company like the Vedanta Alumina Limited.

On April 18, 2013, a two-member Bench of Supreme Court, while disposing of a petition by OMC, had concluded that gram sabhas/village councils of Niyamgiri region will take a final decision whether mining would affect their religious, cultural and other rights or not as per the Forest Rights Act, 2006. The gram sabhas were held in 12 villages in Niyamgiri region in 2013 and they had rejected the mining proposal. “Now after two-and-a-half years, the Odisha government claims that the gram sabhas were not conducted properly, which hints at some hidden agenda behind the recent bid,” said Mr Samantra.http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/tribals-protest-against-police-firing-mining-issue/article8353724.ece

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