|ஒரு குட்டி பூர்ஷ்வாவின் தேடல்.|
எண்ணுதலும், பரிசீலித்தலும், தேடுதலும்.
Sunday, January 22, 2006கலிங்கா நகர் படுகொலைகள்!
சென்ற பதிவின் பின்னூட்டத்தில், கலிங்கா நகர் படுகொலைகளுக்கான கண்டனத்தை தெரிவிக்க வேண்டுகோள் வைத்து, அதற்கான பெடிஷன் ஆன்லைனின் உரலையும் அளித்திருந்தேன். ஒருவருக்கு கூட, இரண்டு முறை மௌசால் சுட்டி, அந்த தளத்திற்கு சென்று ஒரு கையெழுத்திட்டு, தங்கள் குறைந்த பட்ச கண்டனத்தை பதிவு செய்யக்கூட தோன்றவில்லை என்பதை நினைக்க மிகவும் சோர்வாகத்தான் இருக்கிறது.
அரசின் அத்துமீறல்களை (ஆதாரிக்கா விட்டாலும்) சால்ஜாப்பு சொல்லி அதை நியாயப்படுத்தும் தேவை உள்ளவர்களை தவிர, மற்ற நண்பர்கள் தயவு செய்து இரண்டு க்ளிக்குகளில் ஒரு எட்டு சென்று தங்கள் எதிர்ப்பை பதிவு செய்யுமாறு கேட்டுகொள்கிறேன். இதனால் எந்த பயனும் அரசின் போக்கில் எந்த மாற்றமும் இருக்காது என்றாலும், சில எதிர்ப்புகளை பதிவு செய்யாமலிருப்பது அதை அனுமதிப்பதற்கு சமமானது என்பதால், கிடைக்கும் வாய்ப்புகளில் எல்லாம் நம் எதிர்ப்பை பதிவு செய்வது அவசியமாகிறது. கையெழுத்திடவேண்டிய உரல்.
என் பின்னூட்டத்தை பார்த்து (முன் அறிமுகம் இல்லாத) நண்பர் ஒருவர் (அவரிடம் அனுமதி கேட்காததால் பெயர் வெளியிடவில்லை) அனுப்பிய தகவல் அறிக்கையை ஆங்கிலத்தில் கீழே தருகிறேன். நண்பர்கள் இதையும் முடிந்த அளவு மற்ற நண்பர்களுக்கு அனுப்புமாறு கேட்டுகொள்கிறேன். நான் எழுதிய பதிவை, சில கூடுதல் தகவல்கள் கலந்து பிறகு இடுகிறேன். நன்றி.
This is a first impression report on the Kalinganagar killings. Governments are becoming increasingly intolerant of any _expression of dissent on the part of local communities. We need a concerted and sustained effort to question, and check this brutality on the most marginalised and deprived communities. Please let us know how we can take forward this issue.
She is my sister, and these are my nieces he says, as we stand by the dead of the Kalinganagar massacre. The trauma is still etched on his face. My companion takes out her camera and clicks several shots. The people standing by helpfully draw back the cloth from the faces of the dead. The first woman looks like she is sleeping, not, so the second woman. The bullet has shattered her nose and upper jaw. The cloth on her face is stained black. How long did she struggle for their life, I wonder. The other two dead are men. "We do not know how many bodies the police dragged into their jeep, and disposed off on the way they say, but, we know for sure 13 people are dead." Reports from the medical hospital, we visited indicate that two more people have died, one person on the way, and another person in the hospital.
We are on the road taking us into Kalinganagar industrial area, the people have barricaded the road, and let us pass on to this spot, only after verifying our bonafides. We cannot talk to the people manning the barricades. 'only the committee can speak to you, they tell us pointing further down the road. Can we go there we ask. Yes, since you are press it is alright they say. Ravi who is with us is an activist, and has been to the area several times, people recognise him, and so, our identity is not questioned, though we do not carry press cards. Several vehicles of various opposition parties pass us by as we go on. On the way, we pass several young men carrying sticks. Tell Naveen Patnaik, if he kills the police who shot our people we will give him one lakh they shout as we pass by. We eventually come on a large gathering of people. A lot of speech making is going on. Further on, on four beds, the dead have been layed out. How were the women killed I ask; they opened fire suddenly, and shot into the crowd they say, these women were in front. It does seem as if people had not really begun to organise into a march or rally. Hearing reports of work starting, they had begun to gather at the spot, with an intention of stopping the dozers.' There must have been six or seven hundred policemen, we were only about 200 they say'. Indeed, this is a fair approximation. Fourteen platoons, according to the police themselves, 27 according to the local reports, had been brought into the construction area on the morning of January second. They had been stationed in the nearby police headquarters in Duburi for about a week. They surrounded the worksite. The firing appears to have been quite indiscriminate. People have been shot on the abdomen, on the face. Even little children have bullet wounds they tell us.
It is difficult to get a coherent story, the trauma is still too fresh in people's minds. But, the purpose and intent is clear, we shall not leave till the Tata Company withdraws and the Government lets us live in peace in our villages they say. People in other villages, 600 families, have been driven out of their land we are told. They eke their living from stone crushing. Stone crusher units are everywhere. The hills have been carved up for quarrying. These are being taken for the construction work. Leaves of the few trees left standing on the roadside have turned grey.
The Visthapan Virodhi Manch is well organised. There is a group at the first barricade. They check ones bonafides, and then let them pass. We shall not let anybody from the Government come here they tell us. Further on, women and men listen to the speech making. Lunch is being cooked a half kilometer down the road, in a hut, with the help of Manch funds, and food is brought to the spot by volunteers. Young women and men move up and down with lathis, there is tension in the air, but, there is no sense of confusion and chaos. Volunteers have also accompanied the injured in Cuttack medical hospital, and they take turns to sit by the patients. Food has also been organised here. We did not have any problem of paying for the vehicle, that is being looked into by the Manch, we are told by the relatives of the sick in Cuttack medical hospital. If there is a law and order problem, it has been created by the government the previous day.
There are many young people carrying bows and arrows. We never used them, they tell us, we carry it for self defence. However, this carrying of traditional weapons only seems to be some kind of a moral booster. All of them agree that they cannot really defend themselves with these in case of a police attack, although they explain very proudly the ballistics of this ancient missile, with feathers twisted around the rear end. The actual site of the killings is completely deserted. The police have also gone, and the people along with the dead have moved onto the road. How long will they campaign on this spot, will the government which one must remember was elected by them, ever listen to them.
In Cuttack medical college, all the injured police, they are from the Gurkha Battallion, and some of the more critically injured patients are in the same ward. The police are in four beds, adjacent to each other, the injured people are scattered in different places, and we have to hunt around for them. The police are subdued, quiet, the villagers, are ready to talk, but, we can make little inroad, as TV cameras capture their attention. The injuries are quiet serious, and I wonder if some of them will be able to survive. One frail young man, has an oxygen mask, and is clearly in much discomfort. Medical care has been provided, the serious patients have been attended to at the earliest possible and there is a fair amount of after-care as interns, and nurses come in and enquire after them, and slips are provided for those injured who require blood. But, ones the media and public attention dies down, one wonders will this be sustained.
As we look on, TV cameras, followed by politicians of different hues come in, bend over various injured for photographs, and video clips, and move on. The injured and their relatives are left looking quite bewildered.
Kalinganagar Complex is a massive industrial park with an area of over 12000 acres set up by IDCO in Jajpur District where industries are being allocated land. IDCOL has already acquired the land in the area through the Land acquisition act. The land acquisition by IDCO has only provisions of providing compensation for patta land and 10 decimal of land for homesteads for the landless. However, the local tribal people have been mostly cultivating non-patta land due to faulty survey and settlements and non-regularization of land. Even though they are absolutely dependent on these lands for their livelihoods, they are neither being offered compensation or land in return for the land cultivated for them. Several other industrial units have come up there, including Neelachal Ispat Nigam, MESCO, Jindal, etc.
The threat of forced displacement without any alternative livelihoods and loss of ancestral lands have led to a strong resistance- as long back as in 1996, the local people has successfully stopped the establishment of a plant by Bhushan Steel at the same site. Another major protest was held on 15th May, 2005, where the tribals foiled the proposed Bhumi Poojan of Maharastra Seamless Steel limited.
There are several issues that need to be addressed here. The entire episode is being given various colours by different interest groups. Some say the protests are because of the poor compensation package given to earlier oustees, with the present demand being for improved compensation, on the basis that IDCO would sell the land acquired from the tribals communities at something like seven times the price; other news reports point fingers at Maoists as instigating the trouble. Some people proclaim that the very fact that women were in the forefront of the rally indicates that they have been used! Needless to say the loyalists, and the opportunists will make hay when they can. This whole affair is an effort to de-fame Naveen Patnaik claimed one more-loyal-than-the-king 'Human Rights Activist' on OTV. The Indian Express, in its 4th Jan Editorial states: 'This incident Tragic should not de-rail the process of industrialisation. Nor should the opposition ... call the Naveen Patnaik Government Trigger happy. Rather a solution should be sought through an all-party consensus for which the Chief Minister, must take the initiative.' In the hospital people tell us, we voted BJP, but, now, since last year, we have disassociated ourselves from all political parties, and all of us together formed the Visthapan Virodhi Manch.
On the ground, there is little evidence of instigation by outside agencies, or any doubt about what the people want. Everywhere, people were very very clear, specially the women that this was a fight for their land. On the highway, it was local people who spoke to us, pointed out their leaders, and described their experiences. These leaders were from the area, lived with the people, struggled and toiled with them, some tribals, others non-tribals. The organised and orderly conditions that prevailed when we went there, the determination, grim and firm on people's faces, in people's statements, indicated that they were the people in command. This was no instigation. This was a people fighting to live.
It is inevitable, that the government would be on the defensive now. But, I would also point out that now is the time for like minded groups to come together and really raise the issue of rights of local people: be they tribal, be they dalits, or any ethnic, caste, religious group, a community of local people have a right to decide what they want to do with their land and other natural resources. A government cannot just sell away these to industrialists without a proper process of consultation. And if the consultation results in people saying no, then the Government must honour this decision.
A consultation and consent cannot be manufactured with guns and police force;
A police force cannot be used for protecting and promoting the interests of the Private Sector;
Well, there is no point just a few people articulating this, then it becomes rhetoric. And I am glad there are so many suggestions for having an open letter on the Kalinganagar case. But, even as the Kalinganagar killings are a continuum from Kashipur in Dec. 2000, from Mandrangbaju, Gajapati, 1999, from Raighar, Nawarangpur, 2001, we also need to realise that there has to be strong move from civil society to bring such errant (and I have consciously used a mild word here) governments to book, and much much more: there has to be a counter move to ensure basic right to live and right to livelihood to the people of this country.
First, we need several people who will volunteer to come to Kalinganagar to report on the issues, not just on the killings.
Then, there has to be concerted, and sustained questioning of the rational and overdrive for industrialisation;
Legal support is required, and there is an acute need for good lawyers, who will volunteer help and sound legal advice to the people, who will also come forward to fight people's cases without monetary compensation!
Kashipur - 765015,
Dt. Rayagada, Orissa.
ph: 06865285174; 06742557936;