On the 6th of May, 2016 the Supreme Court rejected Odisha government’s petition for conducting Gram Sabha meetings for a second time in villages near Niyamgiri hills for the extraction of bauxite. Earlier, in August 2013, following Supreme Court directions, the Dongria Kondh tribals of Niyamgiri clearly decided in 12 Gram Sabha meetings that they would not give any permission for mining in their place of worship. The Odisha government filed an interlocutory application in February 2016 and argued that situation had changed in that area because mining was now proposed to be done by Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) instead of a joint venture project between OMC and Vedanta. The Odisha government filed the petition to help the Anil Agrawal-owned Sterlite (formerly Vedanta Alumina) company, which wants to extract bauxite from Niyamgiri hill in Kalahandi for its Lanjigarh refinery. The Supreme Court, however, rejected the arguments of Odisha government and accepted the validity of August 2013 Gram Sabha meetings. Now, the Odisha government can claim that it wants to ensure the development of all groups of the state and create more alternatives for marginalized groups like Dongria-Kondhs. The question, however, is whether the Odisha government can claim, on moral grounds, that it has not been working as an agent of corporate capital? What can a marginalized group do when it finds that a democratically elected government is relentlessly working against its interest and violating constitutional provisions? Indeed the Niyamgiri experience has raised many questions not just about the violence caused by dominant ‘development’ model against marginalized adivasi groups, but also about the crisis of constitutionalism and the role of democratically elected government in using/misusing state apparatus for the benefit of capitalists.
Guest post by HARTMAN DE SOUZA. The article was written a few days before April 12, the CPI’s day of solidarity with Odisha mine workers.
When the Goa State Committee of the erstwhile Communist Party of India (CPI) and its national secretary, our very own Comrade Christopher Fonseca, tells you that April 12th will be observed all over India as a day of solidarity with the Adivasi people of Odisha struggling for seven years to save more than 4000 acres of their ancestral lands from falling to mining conglomerates as rapacious as their Goan counterparts, ageing leftists in the village bar are not too sure whether they should laugh or just weep.
Perhaps one needs to paint the larger picture to highlight the irony that lurks in the shadows.
There was a time it needs to be said, when the CPI ran a long, hard and lonely battle in Goa, led by Comrade George Vaz who it is hard to believe was once Comrade Fonseca’s mentor. He was a short, somewhat portly, soft-spoken, widely-travelled man fluent in at least four languages. Not many Goans would know that Comrade Vaz ran a free kitchen in his home at Assenora open to anyone in need of a simple, nourishing meal, or that some of us who now want to weep in our glasses have eaten there several times…
Tarun Mandal, Narahari Sahu and Manas Jena are dead, blown up by what the media has described as a “crude” bomb. All bombs are crude. They kill. They are meant to destroy flesh and bone. They are aimed at sucking out life. Lakshman Mandal battles for his life in a Cuttack hospital. He knows how crude a bomb is. Hopefully he will live to tell the tale of its crudeness.
This is a partisan piece. But it aims to produce balance. Almost all media reports so far have had a strong spin that the three – Narahari, Tarun and Manas – were killed while making a crude bomb. So says Mr. Satyabrata Bhoi, Jagatsinghpur SP. Nobody has bothered to ask him any further questions. It’s quite understandable. Asking any more questions might make the entire spin untenable. For instance, they could have asked: why is it that something illegal, such as crude bomb making, was being done out in the open and not within the confines of a house? Especially given that for the last month, the police have been constantly in and out of the village? Especially because there are at least a few dozen pro-POSCO folks in the village? Why would three leaders of an oppositional movement sit outside on the porch of a house that is fully identified with POSCO Pratirodh Sangran Samiti (PPSS) and make bombs – openly, for all to see – at 6.30 PM when there is enough light for anybody to see them? Isn’t crude bomb making normally confined to the indoors? How many incidents do we know of where crude bomb making was happening outside in broad daylight? Isn’t the RSS, the most famous outfit that makes crude bombs and occasionally manages to blow up its own, always known to make its bombs indoors? Continue reading Crude Questions about Crude Bombs: Biju Mathew→
‘The ending of the film was shown properly,’ speak unanimous voices, the well-known folklore of Wasseypur, Dhanbad, ‘Gangster Shafiq Khan was really gunned down at the Topchachi petrol pump like it was shown in the first part of the film.’
This press release was put out on 18 November 2011 by theNATIONAL ALLIANCE FOR PEOPLE’S MOVEMENTS (NAPM), theNATIONAL FISHWORKERS’ FORUM (NFF)and theNATIONAL FORUM OF FOREST PEOPLE AND FOREST WORKERS (NFFPFW)
Sr. Valsa, an activist of the Rajmahal Pahad Bachao Andolan (RPBA) and an ordained nun with the Sisters of Charity of Jesus & Mary, who had been working among Santhal Adivasis in the coal rich region of Dhumka, Jharkhand was brutally murdered by a group of about 40 armed men on the night of 15 November 2011. On behalf of Indian peoples’ movements and resistance struggles, NAPM, NFF and NFFPFW condemn this heinous and cowardly act, evidently conceived by the powerful mining mafia, aimed at essentially hunting down individuals and movements to silence the voices of resistance by people. Continue reading Justice for Valsa John of Jharkhand, latest victim of the mining mafia→
To add your name to this statement write to Akhlak Ahmad – syed.akhlak at gmail dot com
16 August, 2011
“I am proud to be an Indian. Happy Independence Day.”
– Shehla Masood, 15 August, 2011
Gandhi “the purpose of civil resistance is provocation”. Anna has succeeded in provoking the Govt and the Opposition. Hope he wins us freedom from corruption. Meet at 2 pm Boat Club Bhopal”
– Shehla Masood, 16 August, 2011 few minutes before her martyrdom
Shehla Masood, a Madhya Pradesh based civil rights and environmental rights activist was was shot dead by an unidentified person in front of her residence in Koh-e-Fiza locality in Bhopal around 11 AM on 16th August, 2011.
I am posting below a requiem to Quepem by my old friend Hartman. It reads eerily like a companion piece to the curatorial essay to Manifesta 7 by Raqs, posted earlier on Kafila. Raqs wrote:
Mountains are flattened to mine bauxite, the main aluminium ore. Mountains of aluminium waste may eventually take their place…The “rest of now” is the residue that lies at the heart of contemporaneity. It is what persists from moments of transformation, and what falls through the cracks of time. It is history’s obstinate remainder, haunting each addition and subtraction with arithmetic persistence, endlessly carrying over what cannot be accounted for. The rest of now is the excess, which pushes us towards respite, memory and slowing things down.
And here’s Hartman:
As you read this, mourn the brutal rape and murder of half a dozen steep, thickly forested hills barely 12 kilometres from Quepem town in south Goa. These form an integral link of the magnificent Western Ghats that surround Goa, and as any schoolchild studying the environment will tell you, they play a crucial role in providing Goa its ecological wellbeing.
And yet, in blatant contravention of wisdom we purport to impart to children, hundreds of forests are being cut down around Quepem even as I write this. The denuded land turned inside out so fast, a hill can disappear in three months, leaving behind suppurating wounds that go down so deep the giant tipper trucks at the bottom look like the harmless toys little boys plays with.
As the shadows lengthen along Keonjhar’s main street, the tube-lit sign above Hotel Arjun flickers to life, illuminating both – the front entrance of the hotel and the cigarette seller adjacent to it. A solitary traffic policeman walks up to the junction right outside the hotel, and assumes his position on at the most significant crossing in town.
Fifteen kilometers down the road the ground shivers as a queue, over a kilometer long, shudders to life. Engine after engine revs up as a convoy, several hundred trucks strong, begins the next stage of the 325 kilometer journey from the iron rich district of Keonjhar in North Orissa to the port of Paradip on the coast. Continue reading Welcome to Ore-issa→