Police repression of adivasis in Narayanpatna (Orissa)
-- By Pramodini Pradhan Convenor, PUCL ( Bhubaneswar Unit)
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties expresses serious concern over the ongoing police repression and brutalities on the adivasis and members of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS) in Narayanpatna Block of Koraput district.
PUCL condemns the police firing of 20th November, 09 in which two people have been killed and several injured and the subsequent arrests and torture of adivasis living in the area. PUCL is of the opinion that instead of addressing the real issues for which the CMAS has been fighting for i.e., restoring to the tribals their land taken over fraudulently by the non-tribals, the government is adopting a policy of repression, torture and terror to suppress the legitimate aspirations of the adivasis.
While the presence of Maoists has been the rationale for deployment of security forces and combing operations, the people protesting the excesses of combing operations are met with bullets by the police. The question of land for the adivasis remains unaddressed by the government. It needs to be noted that the adivasis of Narayanpatna have been persistently demanding for the restoration of their land which has been taken away from them by the non-adivasis. However, the government has done nothing concrete in this regard and the Scheduled Area (Scheduled Tribe) Land Transfer Regulation of 1956 remains only on paper.
Even after the death of two people in police firing, the government, instead of assuaging people’s real grievances, has resorted to further repression. Following the firing, nearly 30 people have been arrested for participating in the gheraoing of the police station on the 20th Nov. Massive combing operations are on in the area to arrest many more. People are so scared of the security forces that even the injured are not brought to the hospital for fear of being arrested. They are scared to go out to the field and harvest their crops.
The PUCL demands that the government should immediately put an end to the ongoing brutal repression on the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha and attend to the issue of land which has been the persistent demand of the Sangha. The government must initiate an inquiry into the firing of 20th November and initiate criminal proceedings against the culprits. The PUCL also appeals to all conscientious citizens to raise their voice against the police atrocities on the adivasis in Narayanpatna.
Pramodini Pradhan Convenor, PUCL ( Bhubaneswar Unit)