Letter from Forest Peoples Programme to the Governor of Orissa, India, to protest at violence used against Adivasi protesters

Letter from Forest Peoples Programme to the Governor of Orissa, India, to protest at violence used against Adivasi protesters

Shri Rameswar ThakurGovernor of Orissa, Fax Nos: +91 674 2536582, 2536581, 2536584

Dear Sirs,

 Re: Violence against Adivasi protesters in Kashipur, Orissa

The Forest Peoples Programme is alarmed to receive reports about the ongoing violence against Adivasi protesters in Kashipur, Orissa.

On the 1st of December 2004, a large group of Adivasis and Dalits, mainly women, came together in Karal Village, Kashipur District, to peacefully protest the opening of the proposed UAIL bauxite mine in the area. According to the information available to us, a 500-strong group of armed police then started blank firing and resorted to indiscriminate lathi charge on the protesters, resulting in more than 16 critically injured protesters. Since then, all entry into and exit from the Kashipur villages have been barred, and the police has reportedly resorted to indiscriminate and unprovoked physical violence against the Adivasi and Dalit residents. Reports from the area indicate that by the 12th of December, a further 13 Adivasis had been arrested on false charges and some of the protesters, including an 11 year old boy, are still missing without trace.

We have learned that the Adivasis protesting the bauxite mine are doing so because the proposed site for the mine, Baphlimali Mountain, is sacred to them, and also contains many of the lands and resources they require for subsistence and survival. They do not want to lose their lands, waters and sacred sites to poison and toxic waste for the short-term benefit of a few.

We therefore urge you to address the current, unacceptable situation of fear and aggression, and we urge you to use your influence to immediately halt the violence and respond to the principal demands of the protesters. These are:

• To cancel the MOU with UAIL and scrap the UAIL bauxite mining project

• To release all people arrested in Kashipur and withdraw the cases against them

• To withdraw all armed police forces from Kashipur area

• To immediately stop construction of barracks and police station in D. Karal

We are anxious to learn how you plan to address this urgent situation and provide redress for those protesters and their families who have suffered harm due to police brutality.

Yours sincerely

Emily CarusoCampaigns Assistant

 

cc:

Sri P.S.S. ThomasSecretary General, National Human Rights Commission, IndiaFax: +91 11 23346245<covdnhrc@hub.nic.in

Shri Santosh KumarDirector (Investigation)Fax: +91 11 23348475skumar_55@nic.in

Chief Minister, Shri Nabin PattanaikEmail: cmo@ori.nic.in Fax: +91 674 2535100

Chief Secretary, Orissa, Shri Subash PaniEmail: csori@ori.nic.in

Secretary to the Chief Minister, Shri B K PattanaikEmail: cmo@ori.nic.in

RDC, Berhampur, Dr. Arun PandaEmail: rdcbmp@ori.nic.in ; arunpanda84@yahoo.com

Collector, Rayagada, Shri P K MehrdaEmail: dmrgd@ori.nic.in

Shri Pyari Mohan MohapatraEmail: pyarimohanap@sansad.nic.in