Bhubaneswar: In a press meet organized on 25th Oct, at Lohia Academy, Bhubaneswar, Dongaria Kondhs of under the banner of Niayagiri Surashkys Samittee(NSS) demand immediate halt of Police repression and asked for peaceful life in the Niyamgiri Hills.
Alleging serious State’s repression on their peaceful movement towards saving Niyamgiri Hills, Lada Sikaka, the president of NSS condemned the Govt. of Odisha for its pro corporate and anti-tribals activities in the State. Sharing the police brutality on the Dongaria Kondhs he said “On 20th Oct when I had been to Langigarh old market to sell orange, the local police in civil dresses came in a Bolero and abducted me without any warrant, covered my eyes in a clothes and took me to the local police station where they severely beaten and tortured me. And released me on the nest day after taking my signature on a blank paper.” “They frequently asked me to stop the protest that we had planned before the Ragayagada Collector office against police repression and Maoist movements in the Niyamgiri Hills.”
Dadhi Kadarka, another senior member of NSS in the press meet said “on 8th October, I was similarly picked up by the Raigarda Police from Munikhol Panchayat office near Muniguda without any fault, without warrant and Police took him to the S.P Office severely physically tortured and later on released me on 9th October.” “In similar manner on 18th Oct police had abducted Jamu Gauda from village Jhadikhol from Langigarh Market and took him to Muniguda Police station and Raigarh S.P office tortured him and compelled him give information on maoist and threatened to send him into the jail. And next day police freed him.” Dadhi shared before the media.
It is to be noted that NSS had called for a peaceful protest before Collector office Raigarh on 23rd Oct against both police repression and Maoist harassment in the Niayamgiri Hills. They had also applied for permission for the same on 15th Oct. Following that the Kalahhandi S.P. had called the leaders of the NSS including Lingaraj Azad, senior organizer of NSS and asked them to stop the protest plan otherwise he would take stringent action against them.
“Whoever picked up by the police was either compelled to surrender as Maoist or to give information on Maoist and get praises from police and when they denied police tortured them and threatened them to put into the jail” He Lada Sikoka. He reiterated to continue their peaceful democratic protest to save Niayagiri Hills despite police repression and Maoist harassment.
Taking note of the Police repression on 23rd October, a fact finding team consisting of Narendra Mohanty (INSAF) Chandranath Dani(Human Rights Defenders Alert), Pradeep Sahoo(CSD),Niranjan Mohanty(Advocate),GaoutamPatra(Social worker) , visited Niyamgiri Hills including Muniguda, Lanjigarh, Rayagarda and discussed with the affected people. In the Press Meet, all these members were present and alleged of gross human rights violation by the Kalahandi and Raigarda Police in the Niyamgiri Hills.
Joining in the Press Meet, Prafulla Samantara, president of Lok Shakti Abhiyan criticized the police excessiveness; torture with the innocent tribals in Niayamgiri area which he said is protected under scheduled 5th area of the constitution and under Forest rights Act, 2006. He called upon the Govt. of Odisha to stop State brutal repression on all the democratic movements in the State in the name of Maoists repression.
After the Press Meet Dongaria Kondhs along with the Odisha noted activists submitted a petition to the Chief Minister of Odisha demanding impartial investigation on the alleged incident of police repression and to take stringent action against the criminal police based on the SCST Prevention of Atrocity Act, 1989. Besides, they have sought detail report on all the false cases implicated against the members of the NSS and those who have been put into the jail; to stop further arrest and torture of innocent people in the name of Maoist repression. In the petition, they have also demanded Govt. of Odisha to ensure complete closure of Vedant Alumina Plant in Lanjigarh which they called is the main cause of all pollution and life threats in the area.
Among others who present in the press meet were Kumuti Majhi, Haribandhu Kadraka, Kailash Kulisika and Amarendar Badanga, all members of NSS, Prof. Swadhin Pattnaik, Prof Birendra Nayak, human rights activists, Mr. Biswapyiya Kannungo, Mr. Deba Ranjan Sarangi of Ganatanrika Adhikkar Surarakshya Sangathan and members of People’s union of civil liberties and Sandeep Patnaik etc.