Report by Orissa Diary correspondent; Angul: High tension still prevails in Raijharana even after four days of the fearse bloody battle between the locals and the police. The brutality of the police is blatantly visible in the area broken doors, damaged vehicles, bullet injuries, and tear gas shells. 39 civilians and 6 police personnel are injured.
The police has filed an FIR against some 52 persons out of which all have fled the village in the fear of being arrested. A frail old woman cried her heart out to prominent socio-political leader and the Chairman of SNSMT Shri. Suparno Satpathy. He visited the village today. The entire village was out to speak with him. "It was a saddening and heart sinking experience to hear out the narration of the brutality the police had exercised on them" said Shri Satpathy.
This entire village falls under land acquisition by the Govt. of Odisha. The misery of the people of this area began when it was discovered that they were living on a Coal bed. These coal beds have been leased to JSPL and to Monnet. The compensation paid to the land loosers is around 1.2 to 1.5 lacks per acre. The land owners have been demanding an adequate compensation equivalent to the market value which is around Rs. 15 lacks per acre. It is learnt from the locals that the said companies have hired goons to terrorize the land owners so that they part with their land. Draupadi Sahu of Raijharana said " We have been struggling to save our land and our livelihood for a long time. Now, the 'police' is the new hired goon of these companies and the police is tourchouring us mentally & physically to part with our land". She also added that the companies pay bribes to the elected representatives MLA & MP who approved the compensation cost of our land with out consulting with us nor did they bother to learn about the real value of our land. The RPDC on it's own decided the cost of our land and our lives. We will rather die than get dislodged from our land which is a giving to us from our previous generations. Our land is our Mother".
The SP of Angul Mr. Satyabrata Bhoi in his version to this reporter said " The villagers of Raijharana had abducted employees of Monnet and Jindal. There was a complaint which the company personnel filed with us regarding the same. We visited the village to rescue the abducted and our staff was attacked and brutally injured by the villagers. To save our staff and to manage the mob it was inevitable but to use force. The villagers first attacked the police. The fear of the police must prevail to inculcate decipline ".
Shri. Satpathy said "the violence witnessed at Raijharan between the Police and the locals is an unfortunate incident". He added " I am told by the villagers that non of them had stone pelted the police nor had they heckled or abducted the company officials. I am also told by the villagers that there were anti-socials hired by Monnet to injure the police personnel so that the innocent land loosers could be framed and put behind bars. So that they are compiled to part with their land under pressure. I have been told that the matter of assault by the police and especially the brutality of the Police on women folk have been reported with the Mahila Commission and also with the Human Rights Commission. I have personally interacted and recorded the statements of the injured villagers". He also added "A high level independent investigation into the matter is much required. We do not oppose industrialization nor do we say 'No' to land acquisition for national interest but is this the way? or is this national interest? All what is required is compassion, understanding, fore vision and honesty while dealing with complex matters like land acquisition and re settlement of the land looser. The state government of Odisha is vision less & ineffective.
It has proceeded with-out doing their home work properly and that is why these kinds of unrests are rampantly being witnessed all over Odisha. I am hopeful that soon the much awaited ' land acquisition bill' of the central govt. will be brought in, greater interest of the land loosers is taken into consideration and that the same is made mandatory for every state Govt. for implementation".