The death of Lakshman Jamud in Police Firing in Chandia village of Kalinganagar area today (12 May 2010) has shocked and angered us, along with all democratic-minded citizens of the country. Ever since the heinous murder of 14 adivasis in 2006, Kalinganagar has been synonymous with people’s democratic resistance against corporate land-grab. Despite continuous provocations by Tata-sponsored goons and the Orissa state government, this resistance has remained peaceful, and even today, while contingents of armed police are vandalising people’s houses and have absolutely needlessly opened fire on protesting women of Chandia village, the adivasi people of the area have remained restrained and stuck to democratic means of protest.
Police – joined by Tata goons and BJD cadres – have kept the entire areas under siege for more than a month now. Today’s firing and killing in Kalinganagar once again proves that the administrative decisions of the Navin Pattnaik government in Orissa are dictated by corporate priorities and that the state government can go to any extent to trample democratic values in order to keep its corporate masters happy.
As we issue this statement, police terror in Kalinganagar continues. Apart from Lakshman Jumud’s death by police firing, at least 10 villagers including women are injured with multiple bullet injuries; some of them are in a critical state. Considering that at least three adivasis had died since the siege due to lack of access to medical care, we are gravely concerned about the injured persons still trapped there.
On behalf of the National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (NFFPFW) we condemn this systematic and all-out offensive by the Orissa government against non-violent and democratic people’s movements in corporate interests. No nation that calls itself a democracy can condone and allow such behaviour. We demand that the Orissa government immediately withdraw its police forces from Kalinganagar and, take immediate steps to provide medical aid to the injured and initiate punitive proceedings against police personnel and Tata goons responsible for today’s Chandia incident.
As we write this, some distance away, in Jagatsingpur district, platoons of armed police are gathering to pounce on villagers protesting against the proposed POSCO steel plant. It is shocking to note that peaceful and democratic protests are under attack from the state. We strongly condemn such excess by the state.
We also urge the Government of India to intervene in this matter and ensure that the lives and livelihoods of the country’s citizens are not sacrificed in order to placate corporate predators.
We call upon people all across the country to join hands with the adivasis and forest dwellers of Kalinganagar to put up a concerted resistance against the police-corporate terror.
People’s struggles can not be suppressed.
Sanjay Basu Mullick
On behalf of the Conveners, NFFPFW12 May 2010