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India

Another Bloodbath in on the Way in Jharkhand

Gladson Dungdung

Dear friends,

It is utterly painful for us to inform you that another bloodbath is ready to take place in the name of Development in Jharkhand. A corporate house "Bhushan Steel and Power Limited" is going to conducted "Bhumi Pujan" (format inauguration) of its project on May 16, 2010. The company has singed an MoU with the Jharkhand government on 7 September, 2006 for establishing an integrated steel plant of 3 Mt and 900 MW power plant with the estimated investment of 10,500 crore. Since, a strong People's Movement against the land acquisition for steel and power plants of the Bhushan Steel and Power Limited has been going on at Potka of East Singbhum district in Jharkhand since 2006. Consequently, the company was unable to materialize its project.

However, a team of Jharkhand Indigenous People's Forum, SBSS and Jharkhand Initiative visited to 15 villages of Potka from 11 to 13 of May, 2010 found that after facing a mass protest, the company adopted the strategy of divide and rule. It identified 10 strong middlemen and deployed them in the villages on monthly salary. Finally, it was able to purchase 135 private land. As a result, there is a division basis on families, villagers and caste. The Adivasis have not given their lands to Bhushan Company but the other business communities sold their land to the company. The company has played several tricks of trade.

The company has started to plain the land and already established 3 automatic ITI centres (moving house) at Potka village. It has announced a formal Bhumi Pujan (inauguration) programme, which will be conducted on May 16. Consequently, the situation is completely tense. There are series of meetings going on in the villages under the banner of "Bisthapan Virodhi Ekta Manchi" a pioneer organization of the displacement movement supported by many people's organizations and movements. The organization has decided to impose an indefinite "Janta Curfew" (People Curfew) at Potka, which will begin at 6 PM on 15th of May 2010.

It has been decided that no outsiders including the representatives of Bhushan Company, police and government officials would be allowed to enter into the project area during the Curfew. The curfew will be totally peaceful but the Adivasis will be with their traditional weapons as symbol of protest. The political leaders are also asked to support the movement otherwise they would be also not allowed to enter into the villages during the next election. Since, the government is determined to establish the Bhushan Company at Potka therefore it has planned to deploy the paramilitary forces at Potka during the Bhumi Pujan. Consequently, there is a high chance of Police firing on the people.

Therefore, we request all the activists, supporters and well-wishers (of the Adivasis and local landowners) to be part of the People's Curfew from 15th May onwards. Precisely, because this protest will play a key role in the future of Jharkhand whether the land will be with the people or the corporate. It is very clear that the government has changed its slogan from 'land to the tiller' to 'land to the corporate'. Therefore, if we lose this time that means everything will go. All the corporate houses who have signed the MoUs will adopt the strategies of Bhushan Steel. We have to protest the unconstitutional acts of the state therefore your participation is highly required.

In Solidarity

Gladson Dungdung

Convener

Jharkhand Indigenous People's Forum

Ranchi, Jharkhand

 

PS: Potka is situated at a distance of 40 KM from Jamshedpur. You can contact following persons for the further information. Mr. K.C. Mardi - 09934165214, Mr. Gladson Dungdung - 09334449335 Mr. Joy Tuddu - 09771490232