PUCL Bulletin, 2001

8 Adivasis killed in Jharkhand
Suppression of Rights of People for Corporate Interests

PUCL Report on the police firing

The police firing and killing of 8 tribal villagers opposing the Koel-Karo dam, at Tapkara (Ranchi) on February 2, is reprehensible and shameful for the first Jharkhand Government. This pre-planned massacre by the very state which has come into the existence in the name of the Adivasis, that too for the sake of the project which Adivasis are resisting, is against the very raison d'etre of the Jharkhand state. The unwarranted police firing and the preceding events as reported by INSAF-Jharkhand and the Jharkhand Ulgulan Manch, calls for further investigations by the government and suspension of all the police officers who have been responsible for this killing. We also call for the compensation to be paid for the relatives of the deceased. Had the government and police officials tried to talk to the protesting people about the previous demands regarding suspension of the police persons and compensation for the beating, the matter might not have gone that far.

There should be no further action on the part of the Jharkhand state government to resume the work on the infamous Koel-Karo project. The Adivasis of Jharkhand, in a unique struggle, have stopped this project which would destroy their livelihood, forest and other resources. The government of Jharkhand must respect the decision by the Adivasis of Koel-Karo river valleys. In these heydays of Globalisation and liberalisation, the governments and power elite of the tribal states of the Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh too are preparing for mortgaging the forests and rights of the tribals for the sake of the National and Multinational Capital. The state is acting as an agent for these financial powers, against its own people. Apart from eyeing for the forests and the natural resources of the tribals in these states, the Chief Ministers of the states are learnt to be endorsing the move to amend the Schedule V of the Constitution, which provides special protection for the tribal areas in India. The rulers of these states are pursuing and defending the same anti-tribal and unsustainable policies in the name of the development of the tribals. All the tribal and other organisations must watch against this imminent danger. The incident in Tapkara is a pointer towards the collusion of the government and corporate powers in Jharkhand and other parts of India to devour whatever natural resources our people have.

We, the organizations with the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) express our solidarity with the struggling people in Jharkhand and Koel Karo region. We will have to strengthen the struggle against the Koel-Karo Project and other such designs in Jharkhand. We will also have to further intensify our struggle against the onslaught of national-multinational conglomerates and the attempts by the state to suppress the rights of the people for their sake. -- Thomas Kocherry (National Coordinator) Sanjay M.G. (National Co-Coordinator) Medha Patkar (National Convenor) and Organisations and colleagues with the NAPM, February 24, 2001

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