We, the undersigned, express our gravest concern
at the continuing spate of human rights abuse
being inflicted by the Orissa state police on
villagers whose only ‘crime’ is that they have
been peacefully resisting moves by bauxite-mining
multi-national companies to displace them from
their land of birth and sustenance.

Despite the fact that the Fifth Schedule of the
constitution guarantees the right of land to
indigenous people, adivasis in the bauxite-rich
districts of Orissa face the imminent threat of
displacement by aluminium companies. It is
extremely disturbing that the state government of
Orissa has consistently chosen to protect the
interests of bauxite-mining multi-nationals
rather than the interests of the people it is
bound by the constitution to protect.

In 1993, in the wake of globalization, the Orissa
government entered into contracts permitting
bauxite mining, with the private company Utkal
Alumina International Ltd (UAIL), whose
stakeholders included ALCAN of Canada, Hindalco
of India, and originally Norsk Hydro of Norway.
Not a single contract took into account the
consent of the original settlers of the land,
the adivasis, for whom the contracts implied
certain displacement.

We are most concerned that the Orissa state
police on December 01, 2004, launched a brutal
lathi charge on 400 adivasis, mostly women, who
had gathered to peacefully protest against the
inauguration of a new road to a proposed
bauxite-mining site in Baphlimali owned by ALCAN.
As a result, 16 people were critically injured
and three women were beaten unconscious. Since
this incident, we understand that Kashipur, a
seat of resistance against bauxite mining, has
been in a state of virtual siege. Platoons of
armed police with firing orders have occupied
Kucheipadar village – the centre of the struggle.
18 activists of Prakrutik Sampad Surakshya
Parishad (PSSP), the umbrella organization of
adivasis spearheading the struggle against bauxite
mining, have been picked up from their villages
mostly in the night in separate incidents and are
now in jail without access to any possibility of

This is not the first time that adivasis of
Kashipur have faced the threat of
industrialization at gunpoint. On December 16,
2000, three adivasis were killed in Kashipur
when police fired on unarmed villagers,
associated with the people’s struggle against
bauxite mining. Following international outrage
at the incident, one of UAIL’s original
stakeholders, Norsk Hydro of Norway, withdrew
from the project in a move that clearly
implicated both the UAIL and the Orissa

In this context, we urge the government of Orissa
to take every possible measure to put an
immediate end to the abuse of the human rights
of the indigenous people of Kashipur. We believe
that development should not be forced but rather
should involve the participation of the people.
In keeping with this, we urge the government of
Orissa to withdraw the police deployed in
Kashipur and surrounding areas, and immediately
release the arrested villagers.

Medha Patkar
Nandita Das
Dr. K.N. Panicker, Historian
Mahesh Dattani, Theatre Personality,
Justice Daud
Dr. S. Parasuraman, Director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Anand Patwardhan, Film Maker
Teesta Setelvad, Journalist/Activist
Javed Anand, Journalist/Activist
C.K. Chandrappan, M.P
K.P. Rajendran, MLA, Kerala
Binoy Viswam, MLA, Kerala
Fr. Thomas Kochery, National Fishworkers’ Forum
Shashi Kumar, Asian College of Journalism