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People from 40 villages in Odisha, India, are affected by land acquisition for Jindal Steel and Power Limited, Nisha, Angul (JSPL). The people of Odisha have been demanding for justice. However, the company repress the people in order to end their demonstration. Many of demonstraters including women have injured and arrested. Please sign this petition to support these people.
Stop the Repression and Do Justice with the People affected by Land acquisition
To: The Chief Minister
Government of Odisha, Bhubaneswar, India
Governor of Odisha
Regarding the JSPL’s repression of the people affected by land acquisition
People from 40 villages affected by land acquisition for Jindal Steel and Power Limited, Nisha, Angul (JSPL) were peacefully demonstrating since November 2011 near Kaliakata gate of the steel plant in Angul for their demands like fulfilling the promise of providing jobs and proper rehabilitation. Rather than fulfilling their demands, the company started repression of the people in order to end their demonstration.
On Jan 25, 2012 security guards of the JSPL suddenly launched a full-fledged attack on them causing serious injuries to about 200 villagers including 50 women and one three year old child. It is also alleged that the police also participated in this repression of the people along with security guards of the company. It is a pity that even after such an incident of repression of the people by a corporate, the state machinery is not taking any action against the company. It is sad that state machinery has become so insensitive that it is not even ensuring the proper treatment to the injured.
On February 06, 2012, police forcefully uprooted the tent of the protesters at the demonstration place and destroyed all the materials including the food items in the tent. The police also attacked protesters. 18 protesters were arrested by the police. Then a huge rally and ublic meeting was organised in protest against this repression and arrest. Later, police released 15 protesters on personal bond but sent the three protesters to jail.
We strongly condemn this attempt of unleashing repression on people’s movement fighting for Just demands. We condemn the JSPL’ attempts of silencing the people rather than fulfilling their demands. We condemn the attempts of police and other government officials directed to silence the people rather than ensuring them justice.
1. Immediately provide proper medical treatment to all injured people and adequate compensation
2. Register the criminal case against those directly and indirectly involved in the repression including JSPL officials, police and other Government officials, and arrest them
3. The company must be compelled to fulfill the demands of the people without any delay, including: a) Job Cards to each of the affected families, b) Compensation of Rs 300000 to the people above the age of 60yrs and those handicapped, c) Restriction on plying of heavy vehicles on the road connecting Kaniha and Ghantianali, d) ensuring unrestricted water supply to villagers e) other resettlement measures and periphery development etc.
4. Immediately withdraw all cases filed against people and the activists and release all who are arrested
Amulya Kumar Nayak
Odissa Shramjivi Union, Talcher
Protest against the Repression of the People by Jindal Steel and Power India Limited/Jindal Thermal Power India Limited
People from 40 villages affected by land acquisition for Jindal Steel and Power India Limited (JSPL) were peacefully demonstrating since November 2011 near Kaliakata gate of the steel plant in Angul for their demands like fulfilling the promise of providing jobs and proper rehabilitation. They were not ready to end their demonstration unless their demands were met. Rather than fulfilling their demands, the company lastly started repression of the people in order to end their demonstration. On Jan 25, 2012 security guards of the JSPL suddenly launched a full-fledged attack on them causing injuries to about 400 villagers with serious injuries to about 90 people with majority of them women and one three year old child. It is a pity that even after such a repression of the people by a corporate, the state machinery is maintains its inhuman silence. It is not even ensuring the proper treatment to the injured, what to hope about taking action against the company. Till date, the injured people are lying in the verandah of the Angul district hospital and are not receiving proper treatment.
We appeal to the international community that in the name of justice and humanity to take proactive action on this issue, send protest letters to the district authorities, state government of Orissa, Central government of India and relevant international forums to stop the repression of the people who have already lost their livelihoods and are not only denied any alternative livelihood but also safety of their life.
The Issues behind the Conflict
Talcher-Angul-Meramandali area of Angul and Dhenkanal districts of Odisha has been already declared by the Central Pollution Control Board as the 7th critically polluted industrial zone of India due to a large number of coal mines ,coal power plants, almunium smelter and steel industries operating here. Projects of many more companies are in pipeline to setup more coal mines and industries in Angul and Dhenkanal districts of Odisha. Thousands of acres of agricultural lands including forest and water sources have been destroyed by the companies by way of land acquisitions and also by way of pollution. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their livelihoods and habitations. On the other hand, the companies are not fulfilling their promises of proper rehabilitation by way of providing fair compensation of land, jobs and development of infrastructural facilities for the people. The companies are using repression to suppress the voice of the people demanding for their rights.
Jindal Steel & Power Ltd.(JSPL) of Navin Jindal, a Rajya Sabha M.P (member of parliament) has acquired 6400 acres land of village Nisha, Jarada, Bada Kerejeng, Sana Kerejeng, Sana Jamunda, Jamunda Jangal, Kaliakta,Ramadiha, Paripara, Dudhiabeda, Golagadia, Sakasinga, Manapur, Mahitoila, Raijharan, Tangarsahi etc. in Banarpal and Chhendipada block of Angul district. More than 100000 people (25,000 families) of 40 villages (including about 20% Tribals and Dalits) have been affected/ displaced by the project. The company had assured to provide permanent job, skill development training, compensatory allowance to the unemployed and old age persons, proper resettlement and rehabilitation and other periphery development facilities. The construction work on the project site started since 2006, the company did not offer any secure job to the affected people. The company was paying Rs.2700 per head to about 3000 affected persons as a supporting allowance. But after completion of boundary wall of the company, all of a sudden the company stopped the allowance payment; water supply that was provided by the company to affected villages was also stopped; and similarly the other facilities provided by the company were also stopped. The people approached to the company officials and district administration and continuously pursued for three months requesting them to resume the allowance payment, water supply and other facilities, but their demands were not met. Therefore, with no hope from any where, they organized themselves under the banner of Birankeswar Silpanchal Kshyatigrast Prajasangh, Angul and started demonstrations at the company gate since November 2011.
In the meantime they continued to approach the company authorities Angul district administration and state government officials. On January 19, 2012 the people of Kaliakata village (fully displaced) came to the company office to put forward their grievances. But the security guards of the company misbehaved with them and kicked a pregnant woman. It was after this incident, that large number of people from 40 affected villages organized a big demonstration at the company gate and stopped the construction work of the project.
On Jan 24, 2012, the company and concerned government officials came to the demonstration place and promised to conduct a joint meeting at Bada Kerejeng Birankeswar temple to resolve the problems. But they did not appear for the meeting. Therefore to get a new date for the meeting, people decided to meet the company authorities next day.
On January 25, 2012 about one thousand women and men of the affected villages were present at the demonstration at Subarnpur gate of the company. They wanted to meet the company authorities. The company security guards and police force from Nisha Silpanchal Police Station, and some other government officials were present there. They opened the gate and allowed the people to go inside. The women were in front and few men were accompanying them. They were moving towards the company office peacefully, but all of a sudden the company security guards launched a full-fledged attack on them. They spared no one. Women, men and children all were brutally beaten by security guards. They tiered away the clothes of the women and kick them by boots. It is alleged that the police also participated in this repression along with security guards. About 400 people including women were injured, and 94 people received serious injuries with majority of them women. The police or the company did not extend any helping hand to injured. The activists took them to the Angul hospital. Seriously injured people were later transferred to the Hospitals in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. Seriously injured included Manjit Sahu a 3 year old child, many women including Basanti Pradhan, Ratani pradhan, Santilata Behera, Lalita Pradhan, Upasi Pradhan,Tara pradhan, Lily Biswal, Ahalya Pradhan, Yashoda sahoo, Hema Pradhan, Bari Sahoo, Sukanti Pradhan, Mini Rout, Binodini Roul etc, and men including Dara Sethi, Nilamani Dhal, Nisha behera, Sudhakar sahoo, Soubhagya behera, Birendra Sing, Amar Sahoo etc.
But this repression was unable to stop the people’s protests. They continued their demonstrations and were also successful to popularise their issue and get support from various organisations working on social, labour and human rights issues. Then the police openly stepped in unleashing repression against them to stop their demonstrations. On February 06, 2012, police forcefully uprooted the tent of the protesters at the demonstration place and destroyed all the materials including the food items in the tent. The police also attacked protesters. Some protesters ran away but 18 of them were arrested by the police. Then a huge rally and public meeting was organised in protest against this repression and arrest. Later, police released 15 protesters on personal bond but three of them were sent to the jail. The organisation of the JSPL affected people (Birankeswar Silpanchal Kshyatigrasth Prajasangh) declared Angul Bandh (closure of all markets and road transport for whole day) on 7th February, 2012 in protest against this repression. The Angul Bandh was successful, which reflects the sympathy/support of the people of the region for this movement.
For more information please contact the following:
Amulya Kumar Nayak
Odissa Shramjivi Union, Talcher
Centre for Workers Education
You may also read following stories published in National daily Times of India:
Human rights body probe sought into Jindal Steel attack case
Angul villagers to boycott elections
Angul villagers protest land acquisition
Tension on JSPL Angul campus after villagers, workers clash with guards
Angul land losers seek compensation