A FACT FINDING REPORT BY CUTTACK, BHUBANESWAR AND RAYAGADA UNITS OF PUCL ON ATROCITY ON THE PEOPLE OF KASHIPUR,
RAYAGADA ORISSA PROTESTING AGAINST THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ALUMINA INDUSTRY
On receiving information
from the media, concerned individuals and organizations that there has been continuous suppression of voice and rights
as well as torture on the local Tribals-Harijans of different villages under the Kashipur Block in Rayagada district of Orissa,
by the local police/administration in collusion with some vested interests like politicians, antisocial elements and
officials of Utkal Alumina International Limited, a decision was taken by the People’s Union For Civil Liberty (PUCL),
Cuttack unit on 16.01.05 to go for a fact finding mission along with the members of PUCL Unit of Bhubaneswar and Rayagada
to find out the truth behind such allegations. Accordingly, a team comprising the following members visited the Kashipur area
on 26th and 27th January 2005 and interacted with cross sections of the people, local police as well as authorities of Utkal
Alumina International Ltd. and gathered first hand information as follows. It may be mentioned here that the tribals and other
local people of Kashipur block have been agitating against the proposed establishment of an alumina project there by M/s Utkal
Alumina International, fearing massive displacement and loss of their livelihood.
The team had given prior information
to the Raygada district administration about their proposed visit.
Composition of Team Members
1. Prasanta Kumar
Jena, Secretary PUCL Unit, Cuttack & Advocate Orissa High Court.
2. Sanjeeb Chakravarty, Member PUCL Unit, Cuttack
& Advocate Orissa High Court.
3. Niranjan Panigrahi, Member PUCL Unit, Cuttack & Advocate Orissa High Court.
Panda, Member PUCL Unit Bhubaneswar & Advocate Orissa High Court.
5. Rabindra Nath Pattnaik, Convenor-Member,
PUCL Unit, Rayagada.
VERSION OF THE VILLAGERS OF KUCHEIPADAR AND SOME OTHER VILLAGES
On reaching Kucheipadar,
the team came to know that this is the village which has been putting a formidable resistance from the beginning against establishment
of the Alumina Industry in the area. We called the villagers at one place, disclosed our identity and wanted to know the reasons
for their resistance, the consequences of it and the alleged atrocities on them. For this purpose the team adopted the method
of asking the men, women, children the same questions to cross check their version on the issue at different places. They
said Krushna Saunta of their village had played a pioneering role initially in motivating the people against the Company but
now he has become the agent of the company and sabotaging peoples movement there. The company people have become successful
in trapping Krushna, but since Krushna had no influence now, they did not care him.
It is pertinent to mention here
that it was the Republic Day on 26th January 2005, when we reached Kucheipadar village, and we were little surprised to see
that a black flag was hoisted in the village and as to the reasons thereof, on behalf of about 100 - 150 villagers who gathered
there Bhagban Majhi explained that they do not feel themselves to have achieved independence in anyway. Repeated attempts
have been made by the Company and Govt. to deprive them of their right to livelihood and peaceful living condition by
acquisition of their land and establishment of the industry on their land which will not only create environment pollution
but will result in the stoppage/drying up of the perennial source of water streams. People gathered around the team and raised
questions as to how they are independent when they are not able to freely go to the local market or any other place, out of
fear of assault, arrest and implication in false cases by the police. They said whosoever opposes the establishment
of industry has to definitely bear the consequences once he is known as an anti-Industry activist. The people gave many instances
(mentioned subsequently) when they have been assaulted, picked up, threatened and booked under the sections of penal law meant
for grievous offences of serious consequences. When right to speech and expression as well as right to free movement has been
denied to them by the police/administration, they are unable to understand how they are independent. As they are not able
to go out of their village, out of fear of Tikiri PS, their source of earning from the land and market is highly affected.
They said that for last three years they have been hoisting the black flag on the occasion of Republic Day as a mark of protest
against the UAIL and Govt.
Tulsi Naik of Tikirapara village present there narrated her experience by saying
that she used to sell dry fish, soap in different villages as well as in the local market -Tikiri. A few days back when she
was in her way to the Tikiri market, two youths near Doraguda obstructed her and threatened to assault her saying that there
would be lathi charge, firing and assault on her as she is participating in the ‘Andolan’ against the industry.
Superisingly, though the officer-in-charge of Tikiri PS was also there with those youths, did not protect Tulsi or protest
against such action of those culprits. The villagers say that the Tikiri PS (OIC) has been acting as an agent of the Company.
Tulsi further said that now she has stopped going to the Dangasil Sunday market for her business out of the fear of being
assaulted and arrested. The villagers in Kucheipadar expressed their sufferings by saying that after the incident of 1st December
2004 (detailed below) they have stopped going to the local market as police is after them to randomly arrest.
Majhi of Kucheipadar narrated the incidents of police atrocities which was also corroborated by other villagers present
during visit of the team. According to them on 7 September 2004, the Collector, Rayagada came to the Utkal Alumina plant site
to lay the foundation of a new police outpost near D. Karol village. The nearby villagers, when came to know of the establishment
of an police outpost, apprehending further increase in police atrocity they decided to protest against the same. Accordingly,
there was spontaneous response/reaction from the nearby villagers of Kucheipadar, D. Korol, Bagirijhola, Bariaguda, Turli,
Nuapada, Anger, Tikiripada and villagers numbering about one thousand congregated near the proposed site of police outpost
on 07.09.04 and requested the Collector not to go ahead with the proposed police outpost as the villagers are peace loving
and there are no records of violence, rape or commission of other crimes which would justify the establishment of another
police outpost in the area. Rather, the establishment of another police out post would increase the tension in the area instead
of pacifying it. The Collector expressed his inability to help the people as, according to him, the decision was taken at
a higher level in the government. People also expressed their displeasure about establishment of a new outpost which according
to them is otherwise illegal as the same is set up without approval of the Gram Sabha.
On 8th September 2004 Sanjukta
Saant, the sarpanch of Kucheipadar gave in writing to the Collector, Rayagada expressing/ventilating the grievance of the
local people against establishment of the proposed police outpost in their area. According to him since there is no law and
order problem there is no need for establishing a police outpost there.
After 07.09.04 police forces were deployed
in the village D. Korol. On 1st December 2004, the SP, Rayagada came with CRP forces to D. Korol. On that date about 1000
people from different villages such as Dimundi, Korol, Nuagada, Kucheipadar and others gathered near the plant site for a
“Rasta Roko Programme” in protest against the establishment of police outpost. A meeting was held there at about
3 P.M. Eight platoon of police force, leaving their vehicles at Nuapada came to the meeting place with arms and surrounded
the place. In the meeting Sabita, Bhagaban Majhi, Haladhara Naik, Bhaskar Naik and others explained their grievances and plan
for nonviolent protest against the establishment of police outpost and they wanted to discuss the matter with the authorities
present there. To their surprise the Magistrate present there asked the villagers in the hand mike to go back to their villages
and vacate the road and just after the Magistrate made the announcement, the Officer-in-Charge, Tikiri Police Station became
violent and shouted loudly “You nonsense tribals go away or will face the consequence”. Jalita Majhi, a girl of
about 18 years narrated her experience that “OIC Tikiri PS shouted in loud voice at the young women asking them to leave
the place or else they would be raped”. He further told the women folk “when you are in the habit of sleeping
with your father and brother, what is wrong if you are raped by us”. Some of the forces also started abusing the women
folk in filthy language threatening them to rape. On hearing this and apprehending/sensing some danger the older women came
to the front pushing the young ones to the back and some of the women became naked challenging the police force and OIC Tikiri
to commit rape. They thought that probably the police force would go back leaving them peacefully to end the meeting
which was almost going to be closed in the late hours of the afternoon.
Ambai Majhi, an old woman of Kucheipadar,
narrated her experience on the same date by saying that there was not previous plan to be naked but same was an outcome of
spontaneous reaction from the older woman when they were abused and threatened to be raped by the police force present there.
The team members wanted to know about any such previous plan to be naked before the police to which women gathered there denied
but it was admitted by Ambai that she had heard about the Manipuri women’s way of protest which was told to them in
one meeting. After some of the old women became naked for a while, the police force present there started pelting stones to
the gathering followed by tear gas cell firing and lathi charge. When there was brutal attack from the police the gathering
started dispersing but still there were agitators who without leaving the place seated there peacefully and challenged
the police force by saying that they might be killed but they would not leave their land and their cottages at any cost. Kanchan
Majhi of Kucheipadar and Shrimandi Sari of the same village told that although a few lady police constables were present at
the spot and some of them caught hold of a few woman agitators but by and large it is the gents police force who assaulted
the ladies who were about 300 in numbers. Shimandi herself was assaulted by gent force. It is admitted by them that while
some protesters/agitators were dispersing after the lathi charge and tear gas cell firing, some of them returned the dead
tear gas cell towards the police force. In the assault of the police force by lathi. Kanchan Majhi, Adei Majhi, Bangari Majhi,
Tulasi Majhi, Kesari Majhi, Puspa, Srimay Majhi, Naika Majhi (all ladies) were injured. Similarly about 20-25 male persons
were arrested and injured among whom Pabitra Nayak (Dimundi), Uma Majhi, Kucheipadar, Saroj Nayak (Iudoka Bahal), Adei Majhi,
Bangari Majhi and Mukuna Dhisari were there. Subsequently, Adei Majhi was released on bail but others numbering around 18
are still inside jail. As per the information available with the team cases under Sec 450, 395, 397,147, 294, 427, 436.506
and 149 of CRPC with punishment of even life imprisonment have been registered against these people accusing them of
trespassing into houses, committing dacoity, robbery, setting in fire, criminal intimidation etc. Their bail applications
have been rejected in the lower courts and are now pending in the High Court. It is alleged by the villagers that though the
above persons were injured by police assault, they were not given any medical treatment and sent to custody. Even the police
forces did not spare a old man of 80 years namely Kamala Nayak of Korol. His co-villagers were also severely assaulted. In
the same evening, hearing the police assault many people gathered in Koral Mokja near Padai Medical and the decision was taken
by the people to help the injured, take steps to release the person in custody and to take further decision in the next
meeting to be held on 07.12.04. Before the meeting on 07.12.04 the police force were moving/patrolling in different
village and threatening people against attending the meeting of 07.12.04. Police prevented people at main entry points at
Dasmantpur, Maikanch and Tikiri but in spite of that about 500 people gathered at Kucheipadar Korunatoa and decided for “Jail
Bharo Andolon”. Even just before the meeting on 07.12.04 police illegally prevented the people from going to the place
of meeting and forcibly snatched the motor cycle of one Bhaskar Naik of D. Karol and a number of bicycles, which are yet to
be released. The people stated that after the incident of 1st December there was a reign of terror in all the villages
and police atrocity continued for about a month and within this period the people had tough time as they were prevented by
such reign of terror from moving freely to their agriculture fields, place of work and market places. On 05.12.04 Duryo Dora
of Tikiripada was arrested in Dangasil market where two platoon police forces entered and randomly searched for the
alleged agitators. Similarly, Lokanath Nayak and Navin Nayak of village Khurigaon who are the office bearers of “Sasubohumali
Surakshya Samiti” were picked up by the police from their houses and were arrested. Another young boy namely Jagannath
Sahu, aged about 18 years, was picked up by the police near Tikiri bus stand while going to fill up his BSE (matriculation)
form on the way from his village, was assaulted and sent to jail custody. Similarly, Bhubani Gouda of Lachhiguda was arrested
when coming on his bicycle and the bicycle along with his household article was forcibly taken away by the police.
the meeting on 07.12.04 Central Reserve Police Forces marched in the villages of Bagrijhola, Haridaspur and Taladeska which
added to the panic of the people. According to the villagers the police march was made to create an atmosphere of terror and
restrict the movement of the people who protest against the establishment of Alumina Industry as well as the additional police
outpost. Nath Jhodia of Bagrijhola shared his experience by telling that on 08.12.04 about two platoons of police force came
to their village and asked him why he was participating in the agitation and they marched through Nuapada, Dimundi,
The people alleged that the police has been forcing the people to give in writing/ undertaking
that they will not go to the agitation programmes and not to oppose the company. Such campaign of the police has been made
in Tikirapada, Lachiguda, Hadiguda, Dimundi, Vitalka and Muskai villages.
During their campaign of massive
and indiscriminate arrest, police arrested Bulka Maniaka of Barigaon. Bulka is one of the leading person of Basundhara Suraksya
Samiti, Barigaon, Pipalpadar under Laxmipur Panchayat. There is allegation that Bulka was severely assaulted by the
police after arrest.
On 15.12.04 about four platoons of police force were deployed in nearby villages around the
Plant site. On the same night police went inside the villages and continued to threat the people to face the consequence in
the event they came out and attend the next day’s gathering for observing ‘Saheed Divas’ (An occasion of
remembering the three persons Abhilash Jhodia, Damodar Jhodia & Raghunath Jhodia who were killed in police firing at Maikanch
on 16.12.200 in course of the agitation against the establishment of Alumina Company).
On 16.12.04, police forces
blocked the main entry points of Maikanch, Dasmantpur and Tikiri and prevented people from going to the meeting spot to observe
Saheed Divas. In spite of such prevention a large number of people around 3000 people reportedly attended the meeting
held at Bagrijhola, but for the reasons best known to police was not there in Bagrijhola on that occasion. In that meeting
many volunteers and social activist from outside the area had attended. Among those who were present Dr. Biswajit Ray and
Indu from Sarvodaya Mandal, Trinath Sabar and Tripati Gomanga (CP1-ML) ,Bhala Sarangi and Budha Gamanga from Lok Sargran Manch
and Hara Bania of Samajwadi Jana Parishad shared the feeling of the local people in the said meeting. The meeting was totally
not biased or influenced by any political party and the concerned expressed about the danger of life and livelihood of thousands
of poor tribals for the proposed Alumina Industry. In the meeting the people demanded :
1. Retention of the land
and house of tribals and
2. Provision for supply of water to the agriculture field through construction of small
water reservoirs to improve the economy of the people since enough water is available in the area.
The hunt for assault
and arrest continued and in the process Uma Shankar Majhi, Trinath Majhi, Santi Majhi and Sarbeswar Majhi were also arrested.
On 18.12.04 police arrested one Babu of Kucheipadar at the Tikiri Hospital where he was attending his injured pregnant
sister.The only allegation against Babu was that he bad participated in the December 16th rally.
On 20.12.04, the
police is stated to have arrested Trinath, Uma Shankar and Shanti Majhi and detained Samrai, Sarbeswar Nabin and threatened
to fire on them below the knee. They were released after 24 hours only when they gave assurance out of fear that they will
not participate in the anti-Industry campaign. It is alleged that the police threatened Hemalata Majhi to surrender herself
and her son before the police and declare that in future they will not participate in the agitation against the company, or
else her husband (who is working as a teacher in Kocha Muhin in Rayagada Block) will be arrested and punished and ultimately
lose his service. She stated that in 1999 her husband was arrested, put under custody for 15 days and was suspended from service
for protesting against establishment of the Alumina industry. On 15.01.04 about 40 policemen went to village Siriguda and
threatened the villagers to go and surrender (surrender in this context means that villagers would give in writing that they
will not agitate against the company) voluntarily or else they will face the consequence. Police also went to the house of
Gada Jhodia of Dimundi and cautioned him not to attend the meeting of anti-industry group.
VERSION OF FAMILY MEMBERS OF SITTING MLA SRI ANANTRAM MAJHI
Rajmani @ Raj Kumari Majhi (about 50 years)
is the wife (First wife) of the sitting MLA Anantram Majhi from Laxmipur Constituency (from Congress Party). She expressed
her dissent opinion with her husband on the issue and stated that they do not want the company at the cost of their land.
Her daughter Kanaklata Majhi also does not want the industry as according to her the tribals have no other source of livelihood
except their land and forest. She said that by nature the tribals are simple and their life style is different from others
and industry would not only change their culture but also take the source of livelihood from the tribals. She said that she
does not agree with her father who favours the establishment of industry and she has expressed her opinion but same is not
cared for. She narrated her horrible experience of 1st December 2004 meeting where she was chased by the drunken police force,
but she could manage to reach her village anyhow and was injured in the lathi charge.
On 24.01.05 when Gopinath Majhi
and Punia Majhi of Bhariguda village were going near Pankapadar Chhak, where construction work of the road of the UAIL was
going on, the SI/other police person of Dangasil outpost came out and warned that whosoever comes to stop or protest against
such construction of work of the company shall be arrested and booked under law. In this construction work people from Tikirpada,
Gulmijhola and Kintapadar, Dongasil (about 100 in number) were engaged and the contractor told Gopinath and Punia that if
local labourers/people will not cooperate, then he will bring the labourers from outside.
It is the impression of
the villagers of Kucheipadar and some of other villages that the OIC of Tikiri PS is acting as a henchman of Utkal Alumina
Regarding reported popular support for the establishment of alumina project the villagers of Kucheipadar
and other villages reported that it is a fact that around more than 5000 people attended the pro-industry rally organised
by the major political parties recently in November 04, but all these people were the supporters of the political parties
carried from out side the area by arranging vehicles and good food for them. Only a handful party supporters were there from
the locality. Besides, the RDC, Berhampur, even though has not visited Kashipur even once nor has met the local people,
surprisingly has given a statement that local people favour establishment of industry in Kashipur.
VERSION OF THE VILLAGERS
The team went to village Ramibeda in the afternoon of 26.01.05. As per the version of Padmanav Majhi
of the village there are 30 household in the village comprising of about 120-130 people. Agriculture is the only source of
livelihood of the people. They cultivate rice, mandia, suan, biri as single crop. In the high level fields babul, bajra, kandul
are also cultivated and most of the villagers used to cultivate as share croppers.
According to Padmanava, people
of this village do not cooperate with the Anti-Company campaign and they admitted that a portion (land) of the village has
been acquired by the company. We met another person namely Naba Majhi who was reluctant to express any opinion whether there
should be industry or not. But we were informed that one Pabitra Sethi of the that village was put in jail for protesting
against the company, but later on, released and people are tightlipped in the matter. The team tried to talk with the other
villagers present there, but all of them avoided to speak anything about the controversy.
VERSION VILLAGERS OF DIMUNDI
team reached Dimundi in the evening of 26th January 2005. Most of the villagers were present in the village and gathered around
According to them the village comprises of about 45 household of around 150 people who totally depend upon
agriculture and on this agricultural income they somehow manage to live on for the whole year. The village is surrounded
by agricultural field having water facilities and in some fields they use to cultivate double crop. Kumipadar Naik, a villager
of Dimundi expressed that people do not want industry over their land and house, but if the assurance and guarantee of providing
job to each member of the family is given with adequate compensation then they will not object to establishment of the industry
there. This version of Kumipadar was supported by Chitrasena Naik, Madhav Jhodia & others. They all said “as we
are illiterate we have to accept whatever the company says or else our land will be acquired and we will not be paid anything
if we do not support the establishment of the industry”.
The villagers further said one Dambaru Ghasi
has become a ‘goonda’ of Tikiri and he is one of the main campaigner on behalf of the UAIL to pressurise the villagers
to accept money and give up their lands.
A lady named Khudomani Naik expressed that she was badly assaulted by the
police in lathi on the 1st December 2004 rally. She firmly told that they do not want to give up their land at any cost.
Another lady present there expressed that even if her husband and others leave their land she will protest against it
and if her house is acquired, she will rather commit suicide.
Regarding the role of police the villagers said that
the police tells them not to support the agitators (anti-Industry people). Although police has made no ill treatment inside
their village, they are still afraid of the police and find no courage to face them or express their real opinion before them.
They say that they are very much afraid of their arrest and confinement inside custody in false cases where the possibilities
of getting out in bail is remote and the whole process requires a lot of expenditure. After the December 1st agitation they
are so afraid of the police that whenever they get information of police coming to their village, the male members of
the village used to run and hide themselves in the nearby hills and women remain inside their houses closing the doors. Even
the persons volunteering to bring the arrestees from the police station are also arrested and implicated in false
To give instances of police repression they said that on 17.01.05 when a young lady named Nirmala Jhodia
of D. Koral was taking her bath in the nearby stream, three police men putting on underwears only gradually proceeded towards
her, for which she ran screaming towards her village. At the relevant time Ratha Jhodia and Tankadhar Jhodia of Dimundi
who were working in that place during that time as daily labourers protested such act but they were severely beaten
by the police and they could manage to escape from the spot by jumping the wire fences with high risks. The matter was informed
to the officer-in-charge of Tikiri police but they have no knowledge what happened thereafter. Both Ratha Jhodia and Tankadhar
Jhodia were present during the meeting and supported the version.
Janu Jhodia & others told that Dambru Ghasi
and one Samal Babu used to visit their village on behalf of the UAIL to persuade the villagers to accept compensation or else
it will be forfeited. Dambru is a muscle man from Tikiri and he at times threatens the poor innocent villagers. They used
to say that the land you (villagers) are possessing are not of yours but belongs to the Government, so take money or else
it will be forfeited. They alleged that Tikiri police warns them not to go to other villages and not to mix with the agitators.
villagers said that today (26.01.05) the ward member, Bhubani Jhodia has been taken by Shantisila (a men from Dimundi)
to somewhere saying that Krushna Mohapatra (an influential man encroaching huge lands and a Pro Industry man) wanted to meet
Bhubani. The villagers were very much apprehensive of the incident.
VERSION OF THE VILLAGERS OF KENDUKHUNTI
45 families live in this village totally depending upon mixed crop in their field. Barring 4-5 families others are having
their own agriculture land. In summer some people of the village use to go outside for their engagement as labourer for a
month or two. If a little facility of water will be provided to their field, they will not prefer to go outside in summer
also. In the past villagers like Abhiram Naik, Niranjan Naik, Ugrasen, Daya Naik, Lalu Naik had protested against the establishment
of the company and in Ungra, Daya and Lalu were arrested and they had to spend a lot of money to come out of the custody.
People of the village admitted that about ten years before they have received some money in the first installment from the
company and in the second installment they are demanding Rs. 2 lakh per acre. Duryodhan Naik stated that he has received.
Rs. 19,000/- in the first installment and Rs. 1,85,732/- in second installment for Ac. 2.36 decimal of land acquired for the
purpose of establishment of the company. He stated that towards the house and the homestead land, he has received Rs. 60,000/-
but according to him the amount is not satisfactory and more amount should have been paid. People stated that initially Rs.
32,600/- as compensation was fixed per acre but it is much less an amount for which there is demand to pay Rs. 2 lakh per
acre of land but neither Government nor company is taking care of their grievance.
People of Kendukhunti stated that
there is no atrocity or oppression by the police in the village, but the broker and some officials of the Company are persuading
them to immediately receive the determined compensation or else it will lapse. The team members also saw the people holding
cheques received from the company.
The villagers stated that anti-industry group does not give any threat to
them, but in one incident in past the ‘Sangrami’s (people agitating against the establishment of the Company)
had come in a group and partially damaged a few houses and cut down paddy forcibly from some of their agriculture field.
the team members wanted to know about their preference between their agricultural field and industry, all of them agreed to
retain their land and household rather than giving the same even at a good price to the company. They say when establishment
of industry does not depend upon their opinion, they have to accept such establishment and bargain is the only way at the
moment. Villagers Laloo Naik, Ugrasen Naik, Patra Naik, Balmuda Naik, Dhana Naik, Khurla Naik even expressed their opinion
that they are also prepared now to return the money and retain their land, if company decides to go back and asks them to
return the amount paid to them.
Interestingly the women folk of Kendukhunti are totally against relinquishing their
land and household in favour of the industry. They say if today Company takes a decision to withdraw, they are ever
ready to return the amount they received from the company. An old women voluntarily came out saying that her husband and son
are in favour of alienating their land to the Company, but in reality if their land and house will be taken, she will commit
suicide. Rajamani Naik is another lady who expressed her disapproval of alienating land at any cost in favour of the company.
- D - Korol (Upper Sahi)
This village comprises of 250 houses. According to the villagers about 750 acres of their
land are proposed to be acquired for the purpose of the industry. In the 1st phase of payment in the year 1996 Rs. 21,000/-
per acre (lowest category) was paid to the villagers whose lands are required to be acquired by the company for its industry.
People said for Bahalapanki (do phasali) the amount was fixed at Rs. 72,000/- and for the lands under bana and banakhari Rs.
52,000/- was fixed for compensation. People said that in the 2nd phase a few days ago they received compensation for their
lands although till date they are in possession and cultivating the same. People of D. Korol strongly demand for some benefit
as are given to the displaced persons by the Government under the rehabilitation package. People said their struggle against
the establishment of company has suffered a set back as police entangled the leaders in a number of false cases and searching
for them to arrest and send to custody. Bhaskar Naik said that while he was returning in his motor cycle it was snathched
away by the police on the false allegation that he was in the rally on 01.12.04 and till date the same could not be recovered
from the police custody, as he apprehends arrest once he goes to Tikiri Police Station. Narsi Murty and Salman Chhatri alleged
that their cycles have been seized by the police on the allegation of their participation in the rally organised against the
company a few days back. The villagers said when the local people repeatedly protested against the industry and demanded its
withdrawal the Collector, Rayagada had suggested to form a 14 members committee to discuss their problem but practically no
initiative was taken on behalf of the administration for any such discussion. They complained that the OIC, Tikiri Police
Station is using his power much beyond the law and they are of the impression that to suppress the voice of people he has
been given some special power. They say that OIC has continuously given the message that whosoever he may be if he goes out
of own village and join in any anti-industry campaign he shall be dealt with strongly. Although many villagers advanced serious
allegations against the behaviour and acts of OIC of Tikiri police station and the reserve police forces, those
villagers did not disclosed their identity with the fear that if it will be reported/published, they will be implicated in
false cases. The people said that the police is hand in glove with the company, use to visit every village in plain clothes
in regular intervals to take note of the activities of anti-industry people. They further alleged that in Dimundi people have
been induced to accept compensation by giving liquor to them.
Village D. Korol Tala Sahi
This is the village
which is going to be completely acquired (both the houses and agriculture land) by the UAIL. This village comprises of 90
families with a population of about 500. About 85 acres of land is going to be acquired by the company. The villagers said
that in 1996 they got compensation of Rs. 21,300 per acre which according to them is too meager for them. They said
that they have no objection now if the industry is established there but the company needs to execute agreement with each
major individuals of the village ensuring jobs for them and their heirs. They admitted that Rs. 10,000/- in average per household
has been paid to them as damage/compensation. But they are not at all happy with the current package of rehabilitation/compensation
measure of the company. They said that the company is not agreeing to execute individual agreement regarding their demand
as aforesaid and they do not know what to do if the company refuses to such a demand. They say that even though they had some
grievance against the company they are afraid of the police who may take action against them.
People of this village
said that they have accepted the compensation from the company conditionally. Even though they protest, no one is listening
to them. Some of the villagers said that the agricultural land of the villagers are being acquired by the company leaving
aside their houses in the village. For this reason they are being paid the compensation at a much lower rate unlike those
whose houses and lands are totally acquired by the company.
About the role of police, even though at one end of the
vilage some of the villagers stated that there is no arrest or atrocity by the police in the village, in course of the
discussion, the villagers at other points of the village said that police is collecting the name of the persons giving speeches
in the anti-industry meetings and attending the meetings, followed by FIR, institution of number of false cases. People are
so afraid of the cases that those who narrated the grievance did not want to disclose their names. The villagers said that
they have been terrorised at gun point by the police.
The villagers narrated the incident (happened a few days back)
of Nirmala who while taking her bath in the nearby stream saw three reserve police personnel with under wears only approaching
towards her and she ran towards the village screaming in fear. When the matter spread, the villagers strongly protested saying
“you took our forest, land and livelihood, now you are out to take our women also !” but they were threatened
of arrest and implication in cases. The team tried to meet the victim, Nirmala but the parents and other villagers didn’t
agree to it saying that they didn’t know the exact identity of the team and what for they were collecting this information
and why should an unmarried girl talk to them on such a matter; it would be too embarrassing for her. Besides, they were also
afraid that the police may be further vindictive towards the girl if they come to know of it. One Moharana (first name not
known) of the reserve police deployed there even openly declared to rape women by forcing into each house of the village.
The villagers said that the reserve police forces are creating all types of nuisance upon consuming liquor. Villagers said
that some people are paid compensation in a drunken state and the Company people are instrumental in making them drunk .
people said that they do not have any democratic rights and they do not have the courage to express their opinion freely out
of the fear of police.
Versions of the villagers of Bagrijhola
There are about 150 families in this village
with a population of around 800-900.
Already 67 acres of agricultural land has been acquired in this village for
the purpose of industry. Villagers stated that although notices were issued to them to accept compensation for acquisition
of their agriculture land but they had not responded, but the company people continued to persuade them by saying that unless
they accept money (towards compensation), it will be deposited in the court. Even the Company carried some of the people in
drunken state by vehicles to Rayagada and in presence of the police paid them the compensation. One such person is Natha Jani.
People stated that their acceptance of compensation is purely conditional. They stated that one Satyban Samal of the Company
initially approached the villagers a few years back giving an impression that they want to help the villagers in doing fish
culture and for that incentive will be given; but as people did not agree, he tried to persuade them for duck rearing
units (Bataka Palana Kendra). As the villagers did not agree to any of his proposal for want of money, he assured the people
to provide money. When the villagers wanted to know on whose behalf he is coming, he did not disclose his identity or the
name of the Company. In the subsequent stage when Samal Babu with the help of few local people came to survey, the people
in the village again asked him the purpose of survey and from him came to know that a industry was going to be established
on their land. When those company people started checking the flow of water from the hill, people protested apprehending losing
the land, water and house and what not? Even notices for compensation used to be given to the people without prior consultation
and without the knowledge of the people for what reason compensation are going to be paid. Regarding the police activities
in the area the people narrated that on 06.12.04 about 80-90 policemen marched in the village to terrorise the people of the
consequence of attending the next day’s (7.12.2004) meeting of agitators.
On 12.12.04 when Chitrasen
Bag, a villager had been to Rayagada for his personal work, police arrested him by getting information from the Company agents.
Chitrasen Bag is a retired army personnel and in his name police has lodged case U/s 147/148/341/623/506/114/149 IPC in GR
Case No. 115/04. Jaganath Sahu, a young boy was arrested on 12.12.04 and it is alleged that both Chitrasen and Jagannath were
ill treated inside police custody.
On 14.12.04 there was again police march past in the village road as a mark of
caution to those who are supposed to attend the meeting to be held on the 16.12.04.
Villagers firmly stated that
when three of them have already laid their life for their cause (killed in police firing on 16.12.04 in Maikanch Chhak) they
will not allow the industry to take possession of their land. They admitted that out of fear of police atrocities, they are
not able to raise their voices against the industry . They said there has been cases lodged against Natha Jani, Shankar Muduli,
Turungi Muduli (women), Narendra Jhodia. The above named women said weeping ‘where shall we go if the company ousted
us”. Nath Jani said he is not able to go outside out of fear of arrest by the police. The people said out of such
fear of arrest the male members are not going outside the village and only those persons who go and surrenders before the
police giving undertaking that he will not agitate against establishment of company are allowed to move freely. They allege
that being tutored by police, number of complaints have been lodged against them by company henchmen like Ananda Naik of Tala
D. Korol. Even the ladies said that as they had joined the last agitation, police is targeting them for which out of the fear
of arrest they also do not move outside their village. Kabir Naik and Turungi Muduli expressed that the villagers are afraid
of arrest mainly for assault by police after arrest, false cases instituted against them for which getting out of bail is
remote and a lot of money is required to fight for the case.
Villagers said that they are able to cultivate
double crop in a year as there is already a small water reservoir/dam there to which the water flow perennially from
the hills. Since, the agriculture is some how good in the area and opportunities for work is available, villagers do not choose
to go outside for engagement. There are also people in the villages who work as share-croppers, but overall the village is
self-sufficient. At present the villagers are paying the rent for the lands already recorded in their favour, but no rent
receipt is given in respect of the lands for which compensation has already been paid to them.
Mainly people expressed
that if water facility and other incentives for agriculture are provided to them adequately their economic condition is sure
to improve very fast.
Version of the officials of UAIL:
The team visited the temporary plant site of Utkal Alumina
International Ltd. On expressing our intention to Deputy General Manager (Project) Sri Ardhendu Sekhar Mohapatra readily expressed
his willingness to clarify the points as raised by the team in the following manner. Besides this, he had his opinion on the
establishment of the industry and the ongoing agitation. It may be noted that a new police outpost has been set up inside
the plant site premises.
Sri Mohapatra stated that about 10-12 years back the project of establishing an Alumina
Industry and refinery in the area started and it was then a joint venture of Alkan-Indal companies, but now the share of Indal
has been purchased by Aditya Birla Group. He stated that till date 2500 Acres of land in the area has been acquired by the
company. He admitted that one village namely Ramibeda is going to be completely displaced under the project and other two
villages namely D. Korol (Tala Sahi) and Kendukhunti will be partly affected. In the process 24 villages will also be affected.
He categorically stated that the village Kucheipadar from which strong resistance is received is not going to be affected
in anyway. He stated that the company as a matter of policy never want to acquire the land forcibly against the wishes of
the people for which it has been decided to leave out the agriculture field of the village Kucheipadar within the project
area. He emphatically stated that the company has been patiently waiting for all these years to convince the people and is
ready to make any dialogue at anytime regarding the grievance of the people. When the team asked about the allegation that
the people were given liquor and carried in company vehicle and paid some money without their full knowledge of their land
being acquired, Mr. Mohapatra told that these are baseless allegations and if the same is proved, he will relinquish his job
in the company. He stated that he being an Oriya has been purposefully deputed to the plant site to deal with the situation
and convince the people. Regarding the demand of the people of D. Karol for execution of agreement with each individual regarding
rehabilitation/compensation measures for acquisition of land, he said already the package of compensation has been declared
by the Company after due deliberation with the Govt. and there is no necessity now for executing individual agreement at this
stage but if such proposal is given to the company, it may be considered. According to Mr. Mohapatra initially company
has determined Rs. 21,300/- as compensation for one acre of land of lowest category (Atta) but it has been increased to minimum
of Rs, 1,00,000/- per acre. He insisted that this is the only Company which assures a job to each male member of a family
above 18 years of age in the displaced villages. The company has already provided employment opportunity for 1000 people at
a daily wage of Rs. 60/- per day . He stated that after the firing and killing of three villagers on 16.12.00 in Maikanch,
the company had stopped its work but since last two years it has again started moving ahead with the project.
Mohapatra explained that since the nearby hills are barren there is no question of huge destruction of forest as propagated,
on the other hand the company is taking steps for plantation to ensure better environment. When questioned about the future
of the area/hills after bauxite is extracted, he explained that the mining activity will continue for generations. He said
though initially the company has been given lease for a particular hill (Baphli Mali) which will take about 60-70 years, but
gradually the company will venture into the other hills having bauxite deposits. Regarding allegation of the permanent stoppage
of perennials streams, Mr. Mohapatra completely disagreed by saying that the process of Alumina extraction is very systematic
and as soon as the earth is extracted from a particular area of the hills, the same area will be filled up with late rite
stones which bears a better character of water percolation and the water deposit in the hills will be more than what it was
before extraction. He gave the example of Damonjodi where, according to him it has been proved to be successful.
Mohapatra stated that there was an open house meeting in January 2005 wherein the Sarpanches, ward members and other being
present have expressed their opinion in favour of the company to the RDC. Another meeting was convened by the Collector, Rayagada
and the Revenue Officers have attempted to convince the villagers of Kuchiepadar but the villagers have misbehaved with those
officers for which company has taken decision not to touch the land either homestead or agriculture of the Kucheipadar. Sri
Mohapatra said that he and the other employee, Satyaban Samal had been manhandled by the Sangrami’s (agitators) in the
Mr. Mohapatra stated that till 2003, the company had made it clear before the Govt. that in case the local
people do not want, the company will back out of the project. But since the gramsabhas have approved in favour of the project,
he thinks people really want the establishment of industry there, but out of the fear created by a small section of the people
called Sangramis (agitators), some people are saying against the company. The company according to him is going to provide
480 Sq. foot of pucca building and 10 decimals of land to the would be completely displaced persons. When asked about the
future of good number of illiterate tribals, who can not be engaged in a industry which is mainly based on sophisticated technologies
requiring skilled personnel, Mr. Mohapatra could give no convincing answer but said that villagers would be engaged
in the guest houses, greenery-plantations, stores, gardening and as drivers in vehicles etc. He said already 30 persons are
given ITI Training from the area as the company sincerely wants to keep healthy relationship with the local people. Amidst
discussion, Mr. Mohapatra called a person engaged their in the plant site (as daily labour) who told the team that he has
been badly assaulted a few days back by the anti -industry people of Kucheipadar.
Version of Officer in Charge -
Tikiri Police Station
On afternoon 27th the team had been to the Tikiri
Police Station where they met the OIC, Kishore Chandra Mund. Mr. Mund disclosed that since he has received a message from
the Sub-Collector Rayagada, he was aware of the visit of the team. He also disclosed that he had gathered the information
about the teams place of night halt on 26.01.05 (at Kucheipadar) and further morning programme on 27.01.05. According to him
his posting in Tikiri Police Station is about 3 years back and his impression is that local people sincerely want establishment
of the Alumina industry, but outsiders are instrumental in organising the people against the industry. He stated that one
Saroj Mohanty of Kuchhinda has been motivating the people and giving inciting speeches, the videotape of which is available
Mr. Mund said that on 19.10.04 there was a rally of anti-industry people where about 1500-3000 persons
were present. Subsequently on 18.11.04 there was a gathering of all party meeting in the area in favour of the company where
people from BJD, BJP, Cong., BSP were there numbering about 15000. After the pro-industry rally tension became more intense
in the area. Mr. Mund said on 14.09.04 two villages namely Ramibeda and Kendukhunti were ransacked by the Sangrami’s
(Pro industry Agitators). He said that 95% people in the area want industry and only 5% oppose it.
When asked as
to why he is asking the people to surrender before him and is threatening to give an undertaking not to agitate, Mr. Mund
denied the allegation by saying that police is there to maintain law and order situation and the allegation against him of
asking the people to surrender is false. Mr. Mund said that there was agitation by the people against establishment of the
police outpost near Karol village. As far as his knowledge goes since 1999 there has been Govt. sanction for establishment
of an police outpost near village Karol, which is taking its shape presently. When asked why a decision was taken to place
the outpost at the plant site, Mr. Mund said he cannot answer that and his higher authorities can give the answer. The OIC
stated that on 01.12.04, in presence of the Sub Divisional Magistrate (Sub Collector) and police forces (including 17-18 lady
police) the mob was controlled after which several cases were registered against the agitators and it is obvious that he will
arrest the persons against whom there are warrants. Mr. Mund said he is also not taking that much interest to arrest any
person whose arrest according to him will create law and order situation in the area. About the alleged forcible seizure
of motor cycle of Bhaskar Naik the OIC told that if the owner of vehicle turns up he will take back his vehicle. When asked
that the owner of the is afraid that whenever he comes to take back his motor cycle he may be arrested the OIC replied that
obviously he would be arrested since there are cases against him.
Asked about the alleged misbehaviour of some reserve
policemen to a girl of D. Karol village the OIC stated that just after the incident he went to the spot and came to know that
the girl out of fear herself came back to the village on seeing the reserve force but actually there was no attempt of rape
and the allegation is totally false.
Regarding the involvement of outsiders, he named one Rabi Pradhan along with
Saroj Mohanty who were instrumental in fomenting anti-Industry agitation. He requested the team members to ask those outsiders
as to why they have come here leaving their own area. In reply when the the team members asked him as to why Gandhiji
far away from India began a movement in South Africa and the PUCL team from outside have come and visited the area and
police station he didn’t give any answer. While denying the allegation that police is terrorising the innocent
villagers and working hand in glove with the company the OIC stated that the villagers are freely moving in the Tikiri market
The team wanted to meet the SP and Collector Rayagada in their residential office to discuss regarding the
issue and waited there for more than two hours but since both of them were not available meeting with them could not be possible.
FINDINGS OF THE TEAM
1) i) There has been large scale police repression and atrocities on the people as reported
by the people of each and every village, either opposed to or not-so-much-opposed to the establishment of the Company. Besides
beating them physically, the police is illegally detaining people in violation of the Supreme Court's guidelines
in D.K.Basu case, implicating them in false cases and arranging to put them behind bar to silence their democratic voice of
protest and is bent upon harassing them to the point of submission. As per the detailed information the team could manage
to collect, 18 people have been put to custody by being implicated in cases under stringent provisions of law, particularly
dacoity. It is a discernible pattern that almost all the the people agitating for their basic rights of life and livelihood
all over the state are invariably being booked under section 395 of IPC for dacoity punishable with life imprisonment,
which raises reasonable suspicion that these cases are being deliberately foisted by the police.
ii) The armed
police battalions are making march pasts and patrolling inside the villages to create a fear psychosis among the people. The
police is also harassing people in market places and in other places of their work by indiscriminately questioning
them, picking them up, detaining them in the police station and beating them up in the custody also. This has seriously affected
the peace, life and livelihood of the poor tribal people of kashipur area guaranteed under Art 21 of the Constitution
of India as they are afraid of going out to the market or near by townships and even into their own agricultural fields.
The people are also pressurised by the antisocial elements supposed to be the supporters of the Company and enjoying the open
support of the police as has come out in the statement of more than one people of different villages. The people of the area
are under a virtual siege.
iii) The police has illegally snatched away the motor cycle and bicycles
of some people (Bhaskar Naik, Narsi Murty and Salman Chhatri etc of D.Korol Upper sahi and Bhubani Gouda of Lachhmiguda)
and uses it to trap them for arresting whenever they come to redeem these. This has been proved from the open admission of
the OIC of Tikiri P.S.
iv) The police is openly threatening people against attending meetings by moving from village
to village and intimidating people to give undertaking that they would never participate in the anti-industry agitation. This
is the glaring infringement upon the fundamental rights of people to freedom of speech and expression and peaceful assembly
as enshrined under Art 19 of the Constitution of India.
v) Some particular armed police personnel (one Sri
Maharana) even have threatened to rape the women by forcing into their houses. The police has threatened the women to rape
them in the open congregations during their agitation on 1.12.2004. The armed police personnel are also creating nuisance
by consuming liquor in the area. This has been further confirmed by the daughter of the sitting MLA of the area as she herself
was chased by the drunken police men.Regarding the incident of attempt at sexual harassment of a girl of D.Korol village on
17.1.2005 as alleged by the people of differrent villages the team does n't have sufficient fact as to the real intention
of the concerned police men. But the fact remains that those who have rightly or wrongly protested against it have been beaten
and threatened by them. There should be further investigation into the incident. Given the track record of nuisance and audacity
of the armed police personnel deployed in any locality all over the country in the name of maintaining law and order, their
raping or taking liberty with women and oppression on and exploitation of common man, this type of allegations are believable.
The people’s agitation against establishment of a police outpost fearing further police repression is quite justified.
The motive behind establishment of another police outpost at the UAIL plant site at D.korol when there is a police station
at Tikiri and police outpost at Dongasil within a distance of around 16 km, particularly in a tribal area, has been rightly
questioned by the local people. The team doubts if there are as much schools and primary health centres within that surrounding.
In the backdrop of people of Kashipur dying of hunger by eating mango kernel the Govt's attempt to forcibly establish more
police stations sounds ironical.Besides, the establishment of a police station in a scheduled area like Kashipur without consulting
the concerned Gram Sabhas is a flagrant violation of the spirit of Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Area Act(PESA) 1996
In view of the above the agitating tribals of Kashipur can not be faulted if they perceive the local police as the henchman
of the Company. The overzealousness of the top district police officials and the local police to protect the interest of the
Company in Kashipur area, even going to the extent of unnecessarily opening fire on the poor tribals and killing them and
hatching conspiracy by changing FIR has been clearly established by the Justcice P.K.Misra Commission of Inquiry into
the Maikanch police firing on 16.12.2000.
viii) Viewing the recent repression on the tribals of Kashipur and
implicating them in false cases in the light of the Govt’s attempt to suppress the findings of Misra Commission of Inquiry
as referred to above and the widely publicised declaration of the state industries minister, Sri B.B.Harichandan in the last
monsoon session of the Assembly that state govt would arrange to send any one to jail whosoever opposes the development and
establishment of industries in the state, it can be safely concluded that the police is unleashing such repression on deliberate
instruction of the Government as a matter of its policy.
2 Regarding the displcement of people, process of land acquisition
and support or opposition to establishment of Industry the team has very limited facts and scope to give any findings. However,
it may give its observations as follows, with whatever facts available with it:
(i) The most important feature as
observed by the team is that the original inhabitants of area who are to be widely affected in more than one way on establishment
of the Alumina Industry, more likely, were never consulted before a decision was taken to bring the industry in the
area. On the other hand much after the decision was taken and work progressed in that regard, the people were attempted to
be duped by the company (agent/employee) that some people have come to help the local inhabitants and develop their economy
by giving incentives for fisheries etc. Thus, the right of information on a very crucial point of changing the life pattern
of a community was never honoured and there was no opportunity for the people to ventilate their grievance.
There was an attempt to legalise the whole process of establishment of industry by maintaining the records of land acquisition
and at times, issuing notices of land acquisition without making the affected people understand what it meant. Attempts were
made to make the people accept the compensation anyhow even in drunken stage, by being carried to Rayagada in the company
sponsored vehicles or by intimidation in the presence of police.
(iii) It appears that at a latter stage people of
a few villages being hopeless of retaining their land and household against the repression and realising the tentacles of
the company and administration closely around them have somehow resigned to the idea of establishment of the company
and have mentally prepared in desperation to leave their lands (village - Kendukhunti & Tala D. Korol) and have
started bargaining, as a matter of last resort, for more compensation and execution of separate agreement with each major
affected persons and for their job guarantee.
(iv)The whole process of land acquisition in a scheduled tribal
area like Kashipur primarily appears to be illegal as it, prima facie, violates the provisions of Orissa Scheduled Area Transfer
of Immovacble Property (Scheduled Tribes) Regulation, 1956 and also as amended in 2002. Under this regulation the land of
tribals in such tribal areas can not be transferred to non-tribals. The Supreme Court of India in the famous Samata judgement
has ruled that even the Govt is treated as a non-tribal in a tribal area, not to speak of a private Company.
(v) Leaving aside the controversy whether establishment of an Alumina Industry by multinational corporations in the
area (for mining operation) is really needed in the larger interest of the state or not, the fact remains undisputed that
the tribal people in the area who have been living there for ages peacefully developing their own culture and special pattern
of life style are going to be adversely affected within a short period of establishment of such industry since, land, their
only source of sustenance, will be taken away .
(vi) In view of the above the much talked about rights
of the tribals in scheduled areas like Kashipur to peace, self-governance, life and livelihood, preserve and protect their
own culture etc seem to carry no meaning for those likely to be displaced / disturbed, as decision is taken to take away such
rights some where else by some others. This can be seen as a glaring example of not only debarring but also snatching away
the most inherent rights of the indigenous people, in spite of constitutional and legal provisions in this regard.
The statement of OIC Tikiri PS that 95% of the people are in favour of establishment of industry and only the outsiders are
instigating the tribals seems to be out of proportion as in that case there would have been not so much opposition and the
matter would not have dragged on so long. This statement appears to be false and is made probably to justify his illegal action
taken against the people. The team could discernibly observe that the women were very vociferous and determined in their opposition
against the acquisition of their land even against the wishes of their man folk in some cases. Even the women members
of the sitting MLA’s family are against the alienation of their land as opposed the opinion of the MLA himself who is
known to be in favour of it. The fact remains that the Govt has never made any attempt to take the opinion of the people in
any democratic manner before notifying to acquire their land as provided under law like PESA Act 1996. Regarding the
allegation of the presence of outsiders or the support of the outsiders, justifiability of such support or presence
can never be questioned since, being citizens of this country they have every right to stay any where they like, support agitate
and make aware people on any issue of their concern.
i) The team strongly feels that
the reign of terror and repression on people should be immediately stopped. Immediate attempts should be made to restore the
fundamental rights of the people to speech and expression as well as to decide their own fate and Govt. should honour such
opinion by its positive action. The doors for direct dialogue with the people on the problem in a free and fearless atmosphere
should remain open and Govt should democratically take the opinion of the people regarding the acquisition of their land.
As a measure for creating a congenial atmosphere and to repose confidence, several cases filed against the anti-industry agitators
be immediately withdrawn.
ii) Action be taken against the OIC Kashipur for his various illegal actions and
he should be taken out of the locality.
iii) The CRPF and armed police battalion deployed in thge area be immediately
iv) The establishment of police outpost be immediately stopped and welfare measures like irrigation, health
and education of the people be undertaken.
v) More inquiry should be made into the incident of alleged attempt of
sexual harassment of a girl at D.Karol village on 17.1.2005 and action should be initiated against the concerned police
personnel if sufficient evidence is found.
vi) The articles snatched away by the police from people should be returned
forthwith and the guilty officials for such snatching be proceeded against.
vii) Govt should reexamine and reconsider the whole process of land acquisition in the proposed plant area if it
conforms to the letter and spirit of provisions of Orissa Scheduled Area Transfer of Immovacble Property (Scheduled Tribes)
Regulation, 1956 and also that of as amended in 2002. If such conformity is not there the land acquisition process should
be abrogated forthwith.