India: Tribal villagers displaced by fire set by Forest Department

Forest Department Burns Tribal Village to Ashes

Oct 12, 2012 by VideoVolunteers

On the morning of 15th June 2012, without any prior notice, the Forest Department broke into the houses of 18 tribal families. They used force to drive the families out before setting their homes on fire. When the men, women and children of the community tried protesting and pleading with the officials, they were threatened with consequences. In the end there wan’t much they could do. They ran with their lives and behind them, their homes and belongings — ration cards, school books, clothes, rations – were being reduced to ash.

The people of the Kiri Kasai Dorho tribal village in District Sundargarh, Odisha had been living in the region for over four generations. They used to live up the hill slope before but were forced to move downhill because years and years of the state’s promises of electricity, health centers and schools never materialized. They couldn’t move too far away because they rely on the forests for their livelihood.

This grievous violation would pass as yet another unheard atrocity committed by the state against the tribals. But IndiaUnheard Community Correspondent Amita Rahil Tuti, a tribal and an activist, came over from the neighboring state of Jharkhand to document the violation and the anguished voices of the people. Continue reading

Odisha, India: Commerce and transport shut down by mass actions against government’s war on the people

Last month, in an earlier bandh in Odisha against petrol prices, mass actions shut down train service

Maoist bandh hits life in west Odisha

SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | The Pioneer | Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Further asserting their consolidation in Balangir district and other parts of western Odisha, the Chhattisgarh-Odisha State Committee of the CPI-Maoist on Monday called a 24-hour bandh affecting normal life in Balangir, Bargarh, Nuapada and other western Odisha districts. The bandh came demanding halt to anti-insurgent operations, release of Maoists and innocent tribals from jails and opposing the proposed constitution of NCTC.

According to reports, in Ghunsar village, the generator of Airtel tower was burnt down by the Maoists which was preceded by road blockades between Khaprakhol and Lathor and Khaprakhol and Nuapada. They also set fire to a kendu leaf godown in Khaprakhol block area. SP R Prakash said the blockades were cleared in the morning.

Almost all shops, business establishments, petrol pumps in Khaprakhol remained closed during the bandh.

Police seized posters and registered a case in connection with the burning incident. Only after investigation, will it be known who burnt the generator of the cell phone tower, Prakash said.

The 24-hour bandh had its impact on the western Odisha districts with vehicular traffic of all kinds coming to a grinding halt even as business establishments and Government offices were open in many parts during the day.

A report from Nuapada said that bus service was paralysed resulting in no movement from Nuapada to Padampur and Chhattishgarh to Khariar.

The POSCO project in Odisha, India: Against all odds, a struggle continues

STEELY DETERMINATION: A June 2011 picture of villagers protesting against the acquisition of their land for the proposed Posco steel plant, in Jagatsinghpur. Photo: AP

June 21, 2012

Today marks seven years of protests against the Posco project

June 22 marks the seventh year of the struggle against the Posco project in Odisha. It was on this day in 2005 that the Odisha government and the South Korean steel company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for what was stated to be the single biggest case of foreign investment in the country. Though the government has acquired over 2,000 acres of land for the plant, and Posco has set up a small office at the site, the project itself has been unable to take off, stalled by people’s protests against the displacement from land and livelihoods that it will cause.

The Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), which spearheads the struggle, will mark the anniversary with protest meetings in Jagastsinghpur district where the company plans to locate its $12 billion plant. The Samiti has appealed to “freedom lovers,” human rights groups, Dalits, fishing communities and indigenous people all across India to demonstrate their solidarity against the “corporate invasion” of their lands.

Cases filed against protesters

Over the last seven years, the protestors have had to pay a heavy price for their opposition to the project. Several leaders of the movement have been jailed.

The people of Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujung — the three gram panchayats that have fiercely fought off efforts by the Odisha government and Posco project to acquire land for the project — say paid goons have unleashed a reign of terror. And hundreds of cases, most of them fabricated, according to villagers, have been filed against them. Continue reading

India: Odisha legislator Hikaka agreed to resign; has now been released by Maoists

IANS  Bhubaneswar, April 26, 2012

Maoists release Odisha MLA Jhina Hikaka

Maoists on Thursday released Odisha legislator Jhina Hikakain the state’s Koraput district after holding him captive for more than a month.BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka.Reporters and photographers surrounded a relieved and healthy looking Hikaka as he came with a group of villagers to a mango garden at Balipeta, over 500 km from here, at about 10.30 am.

Emotions ran high when the 37-year-old Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislator, wearing a green kurta, hugged his wife Kaushalya and seconds after both broke down in tears.

“We’re glad that he is safe and unharmed,” party colleague Baijayant Panda told reporters.

The leftwing extremists, who kidnapped Hikaka from Laxmipur in Koraput on March 24, had on Wednesday announced that a ‘praja’, people’s, court decided to release him after he apologised to the rebels and the local villagers.

A Maoist leader calling herself ‘Aruna’, in an audio message aired by a local television channel here, had said the decision to release him was taken after he promised to resign from the assembly and the primary membership of the ruling BJD.

India: CPI (Maoist) wins freedom for tribal activists, in exchange for release of voyeurist-tour-guide in adivasi lands

Odisha: Italian hostage crisis over, MLA yet to be released

CNN-IBN, Apr 12, 2012

Bhubaneswar: Italian national Paolo Bosusco was on Thursday finally released by the Maoists in Odisha after spending a month in captivity. The government agreed to release 27 prisoners including 15 Maoists.

After getting released, Italian tourist Paolo Bosusco said, “I am a free man again. I always try to get my freedom, so let’s see the future. It was a unique experience of course, staying with them for such a long time. I have to learn lots of things, we can learn from everybody and they are human beings like any other human being so there is always something to learn.”

Bosusco’s freedom has been secured at a heavy price with the government agreeing to release 27 prisoners, which includes 15 members of the Chasi Muliya Adivasi Sangha, eight hardcore Maoists and four aides of Sabyasachi Panda.

Odisha: Italian hostage crisis over, MLA yet to be released

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “As you all are aware, Maoist released the second Italian hostage. I just had a word with Italian ambassador and we handed over the Italian. I request Maoist to release the abducted MLA as soon as possible.”

While the Naxals handed over Bosusco to negotiator Dandapani Mohanty, Jhina Hikaka, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA, is still in Naxal custody.

In addition to the release of prisoners demanded by Panda, the government will now have to content demands of the Odisha Andhra Border Zonal Committee for the MLA’s release.

The rival group has demanded that five of their sympathisers be released, including hardcore Maoist Ghasi. The government says it is examining the legalities. But one thing is clear, repeated hostage crises have exposed the Odisha government’s political vulnerability.


Maoists sought release mostly of tribal activists

by Prafulla Das, The Hindu,  April 13, 2012

It may sound strange, but it is true. Of the 27 persons whose release the Naveen Patnaik government assured Maoists for securing freedom for the abducted Italian Bosusco Paolo (since freed) and Biju Janata Dal legislator Jhina Hikaka, 24 are tribals and they reportedly have nothing to do with Naxals operating in their region in Orissa.

Of the remaining three, only two are Maoists, according to Dandapani Mohanty, convener of the Jan Adhikar Manch, who acted as interlocutor for talks with the government. The two Maoists are Murla Neelam Reddy and Setu Pangi, both hailing from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. The other person, Subhashree Das, is the wife of Sabyasachi Panda, secretary of the Odisha State Organising Committee of the Communist Party of India(Maoist), which had kidnapped Mr. Paolo from Kandhamal district on March 14.

26 persons yet to be released

Ms. Das was released from jail after a fast track court at Gunupur in Koraput district acquitted her on Tuesday. The remaining 26 persons were not released till Thursday.

Land rights activists

Mr. Mohanty told The Hindu that the 24 tribals, whose release was demanded by the two different groups of Maoists who had kidnapped Mr. Paolo and Mr. Hikaka, were activists of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS), a local outfit fighting for land rights for tribals for nearly two decades.

He said the cases against these activists pertained to an attack on the Narayanpatna police station in Koraput district, taking over possession of their land that had been in the custody of non-tribal families for long, and a quarrel between the two CMAS factions. Eighty-nine other CMAS activists, who faced similar cases, were already acquitted by different courts, Mr. Mohanty claimed. But many were still facing trial.

Common demand

As for the fresh demand by the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of the CPI(Maoist) — which had abducted Mr. Hikaka from Koraput district on March 24 — for release of five more persons, Mr. Mohanty said only one of them, Ghasi, was a Maoist. The other four were social activist and CMAS advisor Gananath Patra and three activists of the tribal outfit that was fighting for land rights for tribal people as well as opposing liquor trade in their region.

Interestingly, both groups of Maoists had demanded the release of Mr. Patra, who was acquitted by a court in Koraput district during the day in a case of atrocities on Scheduled Caste people, for want of evidence. In the recent past, he was acquitted in an abduction case. But two more cases are still pending against him.

Odisha: Italian hostage crisis sparks mass tourist cancellations in state

, March 21, 2012

Bhubaneswar: Panic gripped Odisha’s fledgling tourism industry following mass cancellations of visit to the state in the backdrop of the Italian hostage crisis. Tour operators said they received a spate of communications from their counterparts in other states and abroad cancelling, in particular, package tours, most of which were scheduled for the last week of March and next month. “I had at least four package tours planned in the coming weeks. All have been cancelled. A major tour operator from Italy promoting a regular series of tours to Odisha has cancelled five bookings till October. The operator is now thinking of diverting the tourists to other states in the country,” said Benjamin, a city-based tour operator. “Many visitors have expressed their concern on the situation and are thinking of cancelling their program to Odisha,” he pointed out. Yugabrat Kar, a tour operator in Puri, echoed similar woes.

Maoists kidnapped four people on March 14 from a jungle on Kandhamal-Ganjam border, including two Italians, Bosusco Paolo and Claudio Colangelo, both of whom remain untraceable. Continue reading

India: Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression — Statement for International Women’s Day, March 8, 2012

Let us on this historic day reaffirm our commitment to:

* Resist the increasing assault on people’s land, other resources, livelihoods and lives
* Fight the increasing sexual assault in society at large, especially on women in mass struggles
* Rescue March 8 from the cacophony created by media, corporates and government to fearlessly forge ahead in the struggle for the liberation of all women

On this day, in 1857, women workers in the textile and garment industries in New York went on strike to protest against unfair wages, 12 hr working days, sexual harassment in the workplace and other inhuman working conditions. One of the first recorded strikes by women workers, they were fired upon by police and brutally repressed. Women’s participation in struggles increased subsequently across the world. So has the repression of the Indian state like many other countries, especially in the era of neo-liberal reforms. 

The crushing of dissent is making more women step forward in India. Whether to protect forests or rivers, a dwelling place or land, the future of children or safety of the elderly, source of livelihood or the right to dignity, women across the country are in the forefront of these struggles in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and other states.

While the relentless assault by national and international capital is forcibly dispossessing, displacing, starving and killing many, sexual violence is being used systematically by the State as a repressive measure through its armed forces, paramilitary and police. Women and girls are increasingly subjected to sexual violence, whether it is in a police station or on the way to one, and especially when they attempt to place their demands before authorities. 

A growing number of incidents reveal that the state is actively abetting the violence against women and facilitating the plunder of resources. Law makers are manipulating existing laws and enacting new ones that favor the corporations, big banks and other elite. New draconian laws and archaic ones like the Sedition Act are being used to silence dissent. Negotiation with elected representatives has become a farce as the forces of capital have taken control of the state, judiciary and the media. Police are often perpetrators of violence or abet as mute spectators or by failing to file FIRs. Instead of protecting people’s rights, with few exceptions, the judiciary like other custodians of law is crushing the hopes of ordinary people.

Woman attacked January 25, 2012, in the attack at Jindal Steel Plant in Angul

The following two incidences highlight the type of corporate and/or state sponsored/abetted violence on people, especially women who are at the forefront of struggles. On January 25, 2012 when the entire nation was gearing up for Republic day celebrations, 4000 men and women were peacefully marching to the Jindal Steel Plant in Angul to demand a more just compensation for the land forcibly grabbed from them and also the jobs promised to them by the company and Odisha Government. Security guards and hired goons brutally attacked them with iron rods and left many profusely bleeding. Women’s clothes were torn and there were reports of iron rods inserted into the private parts of some. When an FIR was lodged at the local police station, except for a token arrest of the security officer, none of the senior executives of the company culpable for the violence were arrested.

On January 31, 2012 fifteen women and two representatives of the non violent People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, which has been opposing the Koodankulam Nuclear Power plant since the late 1980s, went to meet with the GOI’s expert panel. They were attacked by Hindu Munnani and Congress thugs in the presence of local Congress leaders and police in the Collectorate’s Office in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. During this attack, four women formed a human shield around the male representatives of PMANE. These badly injured women were from the fishing community, which has been at the forefront of the non-violent campaign along with Dalit workers, farmers, shopkeepers and women engaged in beedi rolling. They were kicked on the stomach, hit with helmets, hair was pulled and blouses torn. One woman had a fracture, another had her neck disc dislocated, while the Collector remained in his office and the police were mute spectators. Corporate as well as Central and State Government sponsored/abetted violence on democratic and peaceful mass movements in collusion with other local political parties, including Hindutva extremists are on the rise in our country. Continue reading

India: Maoists respond to new Indian state offensive

[The Indian mass media dutifully reports the government and police announcements.  Frontlines here posts an Indian TV report, followed by an article from The Times of India, (  Following these, we post a detailed statement from the Communist Party of India (Maoist) responding to the same events. — Frontlines ed.]


Orissa govt seeks Centre’s help to counter Maoists

New Delhi, June 15 (ANI): Orissa Government has sought from Home Ministry additional security personnel to counter Maoist menace in the state. After his meeting with the Home Minister P Chidambaram in New Delhi on Tuesday, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that the state needs additional security force to deal with increasing Maoist attacks.


Anti-Maoist ops on Chhattisgarh-Orissa border to be intensified

Vishwa Mohan, TNN Jun 14, 2011

NEW DELHI: As naxals intensified their attack in Chhattisgarh killing 18 security personnel in three separate incidents last week, the Centre will hold a special meeting here on Tuesday to discuss ‘counter-offensive’ measures with the state chief minister Raman Singh and his Orissa counterpart Naveen Patnaik.

The meeting, to be chaired by the Union home minister P Chidambaram, will discuss how both the states can further intensify operations against left wing extremists along the Orissa-Chhattisgarh border in a much more coordinated manner.

An official said, “Though we have had instances of naxal attacks in Dantewada and Narayanpur last week, Chhattisgarh has eliminated a number of Maoists in the past couple of months during joint operations. The need of the hour is to further intensify it, taking help from bordering states.”




Press Release

June 15, 2011

Fight back the new state offensive in Chhattisgarh and Odisha
as part of Operation Green Hunt – Phase II!

Any fascist offensive aimed at looting this country is bound to be defeated by the courageous resistance of the self-respecting people of India!

On 14-06-2011 the Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram had a high level meeting with the chief ministers of Chhattisgarh and Odisha and announced a new brutal offensive in these two states to contain ‘Left Wing Extremism (LWE)’. In the guise of his oft-repeated two-pronged mantra of ‘development and police action’, the HM promised full support of the centre for these states in their cruel offensive and egged them on to go ahead in full swing. Naveen Patnaik, the blood-thirsty CM of Odisha whose hands are already stained with the blood of hundreds of people of Odisha offered as human sacrifices for this ‘God of development’ right from Kalinga Nagar to Niyamgiri is now asking for helicopters to bomb the hapless adivasis. Raman Singh who would perhaps go down in history as the saffron fascist who sounded the death knell for one of the most ancient inhabitants in the world in Bastar, tried to cover up his growing alarm at the increasing heroic armed resistance of the people in his state with high-sounding rhetoric on how to go about decimating Maoists. A few days back in the first week of June (within a  week of  another meeting with the chief ministers of ‘Maoist affected’ states led by the PM and HM) an announcement had already been made by the AP and Odisha governments that a three-month long big offensive is ready to be launched on Andhra-Odisha Border region (AOB) to decimate the Maoists there. They announced that they would use modern technology and new methods and tactics of attacking utilizing ‘water, air and land’. They said paratroopers may also be used. And now the whole country knows that the army had already been deployed in Chhattisgarh under the pretext of ‘training’. Continue reading

Delhi students investigate the mass struggle and state repression in Odisha

Preliminary report of the DSU fact-finding visit to Narayanpatna, Odisha

Democratic Students’ Union (DSU), Delhi


Tribal people of Narayanpatna in 2009

A team of students from DU, JNU and IGNOU belonging to the Democratic Students’ Union (DSU) visited Narayanpatna Block in the Koraput district of Odisha from 11 April to 16 April 2011. The objective of
the visit was to study the ground situation at present in the region where a militant mass struggle is going on for the last few years, and according to the media reports, has faced extreme forms of state repression. The aim was also to study the socio-economic aspects of
the social life of Narayanpatna region, and to look into the factors that have contributed to the emergence of this important peasant struggle in contemporary South Asia.

Narayanpatna is inhabited by sixteen tribal communities including Kui, Parija, Jorka, Matia, Doria and others, of whom the Kuis are numerically predominant. The adivasis, who constitute more than 90 percent of around 45,000 people of Narayanpatna block, are interspersed with Dalit communities such as Mali, Dombo, Forga, Paiko, Rilli, etc. Continue reading

INDIA: Yet another human rights defender attacked in Odisha

4 April 2011
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from Badrama Abhyaranya Vikas Parisad and SPREAD, two human rights organisations working in Odisha state, India, concerning the attack upon the life of a human rights defender in Sambalpur district of the state. It is reported that the attack was premeditated and suspected to be carried out with the assistance of some officers working in the State Forest Department. The persons who attacked the victim in the case, Mr. Dusmant Pradhan a human rights defender working with the indigenous communities of the district, returned to the place of incident in a vehicle belonging to the forest department on the same day, looking for Dusmant since they could not murder him at the first instance. Despite having made complaints, the suspects have not been arrested or any form of protection provided to the injured human rights defender. Continue reading

INDIA: Caste-based discrimination and corruption pushing 83 families to death in Orissa

1 April 2011
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received the information that 83 Dalit families of Ranapada village have been deprived of their food security by non-Dalits from about 54 neighboring villages. It is reported that the reason for the aggressive discrimination against the Bauri families (Dalits) is because three women from Bauri community tried to enter the Hindu temple on August 28, 2010. The temple priest and non-Dalit villagers refused to allow the Dalit women to worship in the temple and even charged INR 50,000 as a penalty from the women. When the Dalits refused to pay the penalty, non-Dalit villagers who had leased their farmland to the Dalit families for sharecropping promptly took the land back. Furthermore, non-Dalit villagers from 54 villages collectively went to Dalit hamlet of Ranapada village and threatened to kill and assault the residents. The police have failed not only to take any affirmative actions in the case, but also were assaulted by non-Dalit villagers. The police have arrested only four of the accused, allowing other accused to freely threaten the victims. 83 Dalit families who depended on the farmland of the non-Dalit villagers have lost their only source for food and face hunger. Continue reading

Odisha, India: Inside the war theatre

A report from India’s Tehelka Magazine, Vol 8, Issue 11, Dated 19 Mar 2011

Days after a volatile hostage crisis, TUSHA MITTAL treks into Odisha to question the Maoist party on strategy, violence and power

THE KIDNAPPING of Collector RV Krishna in Odisha’s Malkangiri district has been the most recent flashpoint in the battle between Maoists and the State. Days after, at a remote village in the mountains of Odisha, TEHELKA met Maoist divisional spokesman (Koraput-Srikakulum) Gasi alias Sannu. The division is a part of the Andhra-Odisha Zonal Border Committee responsible for the abduction.

On the prowl Maoist spokesman Gasi alias Sannu


The meeting was originally scheduled with divisional president Daya. When Maoist cadres accompanying us received surprise alerts that troops were present inside villages on our route, we had to suddenly backtrack. Any combing operations at this point are a violation of the agreement between the Maoists and the State. Interviewing villagers in the area, it became clear that BSF was conducting a different kind of combing. “They are forcing us to work in the BSF camps,” says Sudhir Nachika from Tolorenga. “We were threatened with raids if we refused. We are scared they will come back.”

That this feeling of terror comes at a time of fragile peace shows why Operation Green Hunt cannot be stalled temporarily. Shrill questions were raised when the Odisha government agreed to the Maoists demands: Is the State soft? Nachika’s terror is proof that it has not, that ground realities are more nuanced than the binaries of the State and its enemy.

In this interview, the man responsible for several murders explained why the dark acts of kidnapping and violence are political tools. He spoke of what makes his party relevant, of land and the law, of justice and welfare. It is a strange overlap. Questioning the meaning of ‘public purpose’, a term often used to acquire land for private projects, the SC has asked courts to view land acquisition through the lens of a welfare state. In essence, it has said the poor must not lose land to benefit the rich. If there is anything that can curb Naxalism, it is not Operation Green Hunt, it is such attempts at justice. Curiously, whether or not the government understands this equation, it is evident from the answers that the Maoists do. Continue reading

India: Conference in Odisha to target Indian state’s war on the people

Adivasis (tribal people) protest state repression in Naraypatna, Odisha

Cultural Resistance: War on People in Corporate Resistance, Bhubaneswar, Odisha (Orissa)


21st November 2010.

Today, the mineral resources, the earth, the water, the forest of Odisha- the source of livelihood of the common men- are being taken over by the corporate with the naked support of the state. Rather, the state has raised its gun to defend the interest of the corporate against the poor.

So, we witness the blue water of Chilika turning red with the blood of fisher folks; the spill of adivasi blood unto the earth of Kashipur and Kalinganagar for Birals and Tatas; the destruction of Niyamgiri mountain of Dongria Kondh for Vedanta; attacks on the peasants in the plains of Jagatsihgpur for POSCO; threat to the jungle land of adivasis in Keonjher for Arcelor Mittal; diversion of Hirakud dam water to a number of companies leaving the peasants high and dry.

And, when people are trying to defend their only source of livelihood, resisting not to be eaten up by the corporate greed, they are being brutally suppressed, jailed, implicated in false cases, even `encountered and raped. The entire South Odisha, -from Mandrabaju to Narayanpatna- is reeling under state terror. Again, communal riots (like Kandhamal) are being engineered to break the unity of the people. Continue reading