Odisha Forest Mazdoor Union statement:
Odisha is full of mountains and hills containing a substantial quantity of nation's wealth of minerals. Odisha's resources in percent of India's total mineral resources in parenthesis: coal(25%), bauxite (50%), chromites (98%), iron (27%), nickel(91%), and many other minerals, and exploitation of these mineral deposits is taking place 'legally as well as illegally' at an increasing speed, causing large scale evictions of tribals, dalits, poor peasants from the lands, forests, rivers, mountains etc. In the socalled process of developments the broad masses are denied access to the forests and forest produces, affecting their livelihood adversely as well as causing pollution of entire ecology system. The plundering of natural resources by the national and multi-national companies in the name of mineral based industries is not accepted by the people of state and which has resulted in militant mass movements in different parts of the state.
54 MoUs have been signed with the national and multinational companies and capitalists by the Odisha Govt. to loot the natural resources and minerals. If the said schemes are implemented, around 1,10,000 hectors of agricultural land, 10,000 hectors of forest land and 50,000 hectors of grazing land will be affected and lakhs of poor people will be displaced from their hearth and home. Since long, people are raising their voice and organizing resistance movements against the anti-people destructive projects in the name of so-called developments . From Baliapal to Gopalpur, Gandhamardan to Kasipur, Dhinkia to Niyamgiri, Kaling Nagar to Narayanpatna everywhere the oppressed, poor mainly tribals organizing themselves against the state patronized exploitation and conspiracy , which open the doors for the corporate, multinationals to loot the natural resources . Different forms of of resistance movement are going on including armed struggle led by C.P.I (Maoist) party. Instead of addressing the fundamental political economic issues of the broad masses, the state has been persistently continuing terrorism to suppress the dissent voice, politics as well as people's militant resistances.
The fundamental issues like life and livelihood of broad masses are treated as law and order issues by the state and the state security forces including Border Security Forces, CRPFs etc are deployed in the movement areas. In the process of state terrorism struggling people above 700 have been imprisoned and most of them are under trial prisoners and languishing in the jails for years together. Custodial violence including deaths in the custody has become a policy of the state. Gang rape of tribal women in the custody is not also uncommon in our state. The complain of a gang rape victim is also not properly inquired by the judicial magistrate of R.Udaygiri in spite of mandatory provision enumerated as under section-176(1-A) of Code of criminal procedure.
In the name of combing operation the security forces have obtained 'license' to kill any person under the cover of encounter with Maoists. It has become a general practice in our state that when an innocent person is killed by the police bullets, at that moment the police create a story that the person was a Maoist who died in the encounter. Very recently during 28-12-2010 to 12-01-2011, twenty innocent persons including ten women were killed by the bullets of security forces in the name of encounter with Maoists. Since the militant mass movements are continuing in Kaling Nagar ,Kashipur, Niyamgiri and Gandhamardan areas, the state has adopted d the politics of encounter to create a reign of terror in the said areas to suppress the mass movements and to serve the corporate interests.
It is not out of place to mention that although a number of so called encounter incidents have occurred in the tribal areas of the state, in no case any independent and credible enquiry has been ordered by the state government. In one case only the victim lady of village Birubai under Rayagada district made a complain before the state human right commission that her husband was killed on 7-7-2006 by the security forces in a fake encounter. The commission decided the case in her favour and came to the conclusion that the husband of victim lady was innocent ,who was killed by police in fake encounter. But the recommendation of Comission regarding taking action against responsible police officer is yet to be carried out.
I have reason to believe that there are only four cases of exchange of fire(encounter) between the arms squad of Maoists and security forces of the state during the period of 2004 to 2011 and which are in Koraput, RUdaygiri ,Gasama and Damanjodi and all other cases are fake encounters and which require free ,fair and credible investigations after registration of criminal cases in the respective police stations .
Under the above facts and circumstances, I appeal all concerned persons /groups/forces to condemn and raise their voice against the state policy of fake encounter to kill innocent persons as a part of repression and suppression of dissent voice/politics/ideology with a motive to serve the corporate interest.
General Secretary, Odisha Forest Mazdoor Union