(Independent Media interviewed Lingaraj Azad and Bhim singh of
Niyamgiri Surakhya Parishad , who narrated the story
of the death of
Sukru Majhi- a tribal activist of the Niyamgiri Surakhya Parishad in
an accident 'intentionally' caused
by two vehicles of Vedanta-sterlite
in Lanjigarh. I am giving some excerpts below)
" On 27th March, Sukru Majhi
had been to Asurpada, a village active
in the anti-Vedanta agitation to discuss about the modalities of
part in the Rayagada rally and convention which was to be
organised by Despremi Jan Samukhya in the name of " Save Orissa
Convention" on the 29th of march 2005. While returning to his village
Kansari, he was hit by two Marshal jeeps
engaged by Vedanta at around
7 P.M on the of March on the Dahikhal-Lanjigarh Road newly built by
The first jeep hit him from behind , while the second
jeep immediately following the first one crushed over his head just
make the victim unidentifiable. We could identify him by his clothes."
Independent Media wanted to know
how could they draw the conclusion
that the vehicles belonged to Vedanta. The reply was" we have not seen
vehicle before or after the incident. After all, no other
vehicle moves on this road excepting the ones directly or indirectly
belonging to Vedanta. The police know everything but they would not
act, since they are paid by the company. May be the
police knew about
the plan to murder Sukru Majhi well in advance also"
Other quotes from the interview are as follows:
We are organising a protest rally at Rayagada on the 3rd of April to
highlight the barbaric and cruel deeds of the company
" Sukru – a tribal ward member of the Kansari GP is a daily wage
earner and is survived by his
wife, three small children all below the
age of 7. The youngest child a girl is a few months old."
" The district
collector knew everything. He is trying his best to
protect the company."
Rally at Rayagada on 29th March
Independent Media, 29th March, Report filed from Rayagada, Orissa
the scorching heat of the industrial town of South Orissa, and
without paying any heed to the massive presence of 2 magistrates,
DSPs, 10 inspectors of police,30 Sub-inspectors of police, 10 platoons
of police force consisting of the CRPF, OSAP
and the Indian Reserve
Battalion, thousands of tribals and dalits joined a rally today
covering the important roads
of Rayagada town raising slogans against
anti-tribal and repressive industrial policies of the Government of
The rally started from the Rayagada Railway station and
culminated in a mass convention at Rayagada Bus Stand. It
attended by activists who are active in the on going people's
movements and pro-people political mobilisations
across the state. The
Rayagada programme was exclusively organised to commemorate the
Martyr's day of tribal leader
Laxman Nayak by Despremi Jan Samukhya
(consisting of CPI ( ML), CPI ( ML) ND, Samajvadi Jan Parishad and
with support from CPI ( ML ) Liberation. Activists
belonging to grassroots formations like Prakutrika Samapad Surkhya
Parishad, Niyamgiri Surakhya Parishad, Chasi Mulia Sangathan of
Koraput-Rayagada, Loka Sangram Manch, Gandhamardhan
Parishad, Orisa Rajya Krushak Sangathan, Ghati Birodhi Upakula
Surakhya Sangathan, and Basti Surakhya Mahasangh
were present at the
Some of the local reporters pointed out, "the Rayagada rally and
the industries was first of its kind in Rayagada
town. This town is sold to industries and it is really difficult to
of a programme opposing industries in Rayagada.". Tough
estimates of the people present in the rally ranged from 1500-5000,
own estimate is that approximately 3500 people participated in the
The rally looked impressive with
the tribal groups beating their
traditional drums, singing revolutionary songs expressing their
to regain their lost control over their natural
Bidyadhar Majhi of PSSP, Kashipur pointed out that,"
activities of the police and the administration it appears that
Kashipur is no more in this country. It has
become a foreign domain
for all of us. Why they are giving Kashipur to a foreign country?
Rather, they should give Jammu
and Kashmir to Pakistan, which will
help solving at least some of the real problems?"
The issue of the mysterious
death of Sukru Majhi, a tribal leader
opposing the Vedanta in Lanjigarh was also raised by the speakers,
with the movement
leaders alleging that he was eliminated by Vedanta
and the district administration.
DESHAPREMI JANA SAMUKHYA, ODISHA
(A Front of Revolutionary & Patriotic Parties, Peoples’ Movements, Democratic Groups and Individuals)
2510(J), Kedargouri Area, Rabi Talkies Square, Bhubaneswar-751 002, Phone- 9337112265
‘ Odisha Banchao Samabesh’ at Rayagada by Despremi Jan Samukhya a great success’
In continuation of its support and solidarity to the ongoing peoples movements across the state against the
loot of natural resources and also against state repression on those who have been opposing the loot, the Despremi Jan Samukhya
, in a massive rally followed by a mass convention at Rayagada on 29th March-the martyr’s day of Saheed Laxman
Nayak has given a clarion call to all people having love for the state to oppose the plunder of resources promoted and patronized
by the government at the cost of life, livelihood and ecological security of Orissa. The rally, which started from the Rayagada
Railway station and culminated at a mass convention at Rayagada Bus Stand, gathered more than 5000 protesters drawn from all
over the state cutting across ideology and culture. Anti imperialist, anti-MNC, anti-UAIL and anti – Vedanta slogans
were raised throughout the procession and at the end the leaders of the Samukhya and other participant organizations addressed
the conventions highlighting the demands they had mentioned in a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister.
The speakers condemned the killing of Sukru Majhi, Word Member of Kinari, Lanjigarh and a leader of the anti-
Vedanta people’s struggle by a vehicle engaged by Vedanta-Sterlite on the 27th of March 2005 apparently to
silence the voice of protest in the area. The same thing has been happening in Kashipur for a long time. Innocent protesters
in Kashipur have booked under false charges and a reign of terror has been unleashed in Kashipur particularly since 1st December
2004.The district administrations can’t afford to go against the free citizens of a democratic country unless they have
blessings from top political and administrative authorities, alleged the leaders.
While opposing government policies of appeasing unscrupulous foreign and Indian companies and letting them
plunder rich and life saving natural resources of the state in the name of rapid industrialization, Samukhya leaders accused
the government and the mainstream political parties for creating an illusion in the minds of the literate and non-literate
public that industrialization will act as a pill for every ill in Orissa, though they are well aware of the realities that
the loot that is happening in the name of industrialization will only cause more and more disasters for the ordinary people
of the state and would enrich the elite class which creates Orissa’ leaders and administrators. The myth of employment
generation will soon unfold itself but not before displacing thousands of families from their home, habitant and livelihoods,
said the leaders. They also claimed that by setting-up mines based industries the state will suffer irreversible environmental
hazards such as drying of rivers, cutting down of thick forests and destruction of the ecology. By the establishment of the
Alumina projects at Lanjigarh and Kashipur the entire river system in South Orissa comprising of rivers such as Bansadhara,
Nagabali, Jhanjabati, etc. will dry-out and will be filled up with red mud. This in turn would lead further to livelihood
deprivation of thousands of families ultimately leading them to perpetual poverty. The elected representatives of the people
have found it profitable to hold the brief for the greedy MNCs, their Indian abettors and mafia who cause woes to the common
people. The opposition to the entry of such greedy MNCs and mafia who threaten the life, livelihood and habitats of the common
people, is held as opposition to the industrialization and development. The Government continues to further the cause of Sterlite
and Vedanta irrespective of the observation by the Central Empowered Committee setup by the Supreme Court that the setting-up
of the Alumina refinery by Sterlite Industries is illegal. One wonders whether the elected Government represents the people
or the Anil Agarwals, questioned the Samukhya leaders? The traditional owners of the land have been deprived of their land
titles in the tribal areas of the state either by private landlords, land mafia or by the government itself when private companies
approach the state for some projects. How long and with what cost the victims of injustice shall wait for justice? Can the
elected government of the state with a constitutional mandate act as agents of private capital and go against the electors,
asked the speakers at Rayagada convention. The recent move to evict forest dwellers, by the government under the pretext that
they do not posses land titles was also criticized by the leaders. According to them, these forest dwellers have been living
on these lands since generations much before the land record system was introduced. These tribal settlers have been designated
as encroachers while your government has regularized huge patches of forest in Orissa encroached by powerful companies. The
government's move to evict Slum dwellers & roadside shop owners came also under criticism. The process of eviction of
urban poor has immensely benefited a class of builders, estate developers and industry. The proposed coastal highway project
and other coast based projects, would dispossess lakhs of common people including farmers and fisher folk from their lands
and other means of livelihoods, besides causing immense cultural and environmental pollution along the coastline. The agricultural
policy is also anti-farmer and promotes unsustainable agriculture. The days are not far off when the farmers in Orissa will
meet the same fate (suicide) as that of farmers of Andhra Pradesh and starvation deaths will be a common sight. The leaders
also condemned the government for promoting privatization of water in the name of Pani Panchayat, while at the same time allowing
private companies access to state owned water resources such as the Hirakud dam. The farmers of Orissa can’t accept
this anti-agriculture and anti-farmer policy, declared the leaders. They further warned the Chief Minister, the people of
Orissa can no more be fooled by the call of so-called industrialization for development of the state. They have understood
that such development agenda is anti-people and has already adversely affected the people of Orissa across its length and
breadth. They have now united to protect themselves and the history of successful resistance to various anti-people projects
in Baliapal, Gandhamardan, Chilika, Gopalpur by the local people, provides them strength and determination. That people have
always won in their struggle, however powerful the ruler against them might be, is a historical truth. The Despremi Jan Samukhya
was confident that the Government’s policy of displacing and dispossessing the people from their lands, homes and livelihoods
in the name of so-called development will be successfully challenged by the people of Orissa.
The demands raised by the Samukhya were communicated to the CM through the district collector included the
The proposed Alumina Complexes at Kashipur and Lanjigarh should be immediately shelved and the unethical, anti-people
and anti-state agreements/ understanding that the Government has entered into with the Companies must be cancelled forthwith.
All the land that these companies have acquired should be returned to the locals in a time bound manner.
Immediately halt the implementation of the Anti-people Industrial Policies/programmes of the Government. The unethical,
anti-people and anti-state agreements/ understanding that the Government has entered into with all other foreign or domestic
Companies for setting up mega and large sized industries must be cancelled forthwith.
Formulate and implement a comprehensive policy for the revival and strengthening of cottage industries, SSIs and traditional
Do not evict forest dwellers on the pretext of lack of land titles, protection of forests or so-called development projects.
Stop all projects and programmes that endanger the life and livelihood of tribals and forest dwellers. Provide land titles
for homestead and agriculture land to the tribals and other forest dwellers who have been living in the forests for generations
and those poor families who have made forest their habitat in search of livelihood.
Immediately cancel all agreements/policies/programmes that have been finalised to marketise water and handover the water
resources of Orissa to private companies. Stop with immediate effect drawl of water by sponge-iron industries from Hirakud
Reservoir. Repeal the Pani Panchayat Act 2001. Refrain from agreeing to connect any river of Orissa in the proposed river-linking
Stop forthwith all evictions and dismantling of slums and pavement shops. Develop a permanent arrangement for dwellings
and livelihood for the slum dwellers and pavement shopkeepers. Until such a permanent arrangement is made do not infringe
upon their basic rights.
Provide homestead land to urban poor and restore and recognize land rights of tribals in all tribal areas.
Cancel the proposed coastal highway project, the proposed Special Economic Zones and the proposed setting-up of 13 seaports.
Stop with immediate effect the establishment of any further Military establishments on the coastline. The coastal areas (including
the coast line) must be developed only in the interest of the local farmers, labouring people, people surviving on traditional
occupations, and the poor. Stop giving incentives to big businesses and the entry of outsiders near the coastline. Provide
homestead land and land for agriculture to the coastal poor and landless.
Withdraw the state agriculture policy and do not implement the provisions of the National Agriculture policy, which is
aimed at promoting contract farming. Formulate a new agriculture policy for the state to promote sustainable agriculture and
sustainable agriculture based livelihoods in the interest of the masses of farmers of Orissa.
Stop implementing all laws, policies, programmes and projects that displaces and dispossess the people of Orissa from
their lands, homes and livelihoods.
Immediately stop all police and state repression on those who are fighting to protect their lands, homes and livelihoods
and withdraw all cases filed against then by the police in or the other pretext. Immediately release all people who have been
wrongfully confined by the police and stop further repression on tribals, dalits and other people.
The CPI (ML), CPI (ML)-New Democracy, Samajbadi Janparishad, Loka Pakhya, CPI (ML)- Liberation, Lok Sangram
Manch, Orissa, Basti Surakhya Manch, Orissa Rajya Krushak Sangathan, Bargarh, Chasi Mulia Adibasi Sangha -Koraput- Rayagada,
Prakrutika Sampad Surakhya Parishad, Kashipur, Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti, Lanjigarh, Sachetan Nagarika Mancha, Kalahandi,
Sambalpur Krushak Surakhya Sangathan, Gana Chetna Manch, Baliapal, Upakula Jeeban-Jeebika Suarakhya Mancha, Puri, Prachi Chasi
The prominent leaders who addressed the convention included veteran communist leader Gananath Patra and other
leaders of the samukhya such as Bhala Chandra Sarangi, Sivaram, Rajendra Sarangi, Lingaraj, and leaders of supporting parties
and organisations such as Tirupati Gamang, Meghanath Sabar, Santosh Malick, leaders of PSSP, Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti, Farmers
leaders from Sambalpur, Jharsuguda ans Sudergarh, leaders of Ghati Birodhi Andolan Bailapal and Puri etc.