Saturday, March 17, 2007


Dear Friends

(Bastar-Rajya Flag)
The situation in Bastar is at a critical stage, withclashes on 27-28 Feb trying to force land acquisition for Tata's steel plant. The "manufactured civil war"pursued by Salwa Judum continues with at least 80,000tribal refugees in what are virtually concentrationcamps.The steel plant is planned on 2,000+ hectares of tribal land belonging to 10 villages in Lohandigudablock, near the amazing Chitrakot waterfall onIndravati river. The agreement for the plant wassigned between the Chhattisgarh Govt & Tata in June2005 - precisely the month when Salwa Judum was formed - labelled a "people's movement against the Naxalites"but actually a police sponsored terror militiaforcing the evacuation of one tribal village afteranother, with refugees pressurized to join SJ.

On 27 Feb police in the 10 villages to try & forcethro land acquisition arrested a number of triballeaders and were pelted with stones. The next day(28th) a leading non-tribal activist who had come to support the people was hounded out of Bastar. He wasslapped in front of the hotel manager where he hadstayed in Jagdalpur, who was warned the hotel would beburnt if he put him up again, and all Jagdalpur's hotelowners have been told not to accept any guestswho may be opposing Tata. This activist was thenhounded by violent mobs threatening to burn him alive,and also police accusing him of running someone over. There is an ONLINE PETITION TO APPEAL TO CANCEL THEPROJECT. Please sign. This is at http://www.gopetiti /protect- the-property- rights-of- poor-tribals. html - the petition is called "Protect theproperty rights of poor tribals".

The next day (1st March) the Collector of DantewaraDustrict called a meeting of all the political parties(except CPI who are sidinmg with the tribals), journalists, business leaders etc, and reiterated themessage that opposition to the Tata project will notbe tolerated.The area is outstanding for the tribal culture as wellas outstanding for nature - this part of Bastar is one of the few places in India where wild buffaloes &Cattle survive. The tribal culture of the Maria Gond &other tribes is one of the world's most beautiful &wise of all surviving tribal cultures, written about beautifully by Grigson & Elwin in the 1930s-40s.

Their culture survived intact at least till 2005 when theSalwa Judum war started, which has split virtually all the tribal villages into SJ versus Maoists. There have been 1000s of deaths & rapes. See e.g. human rightsreports by Peoples Union of Civil Liberties ( Asia Forum for human rights.On 17th Feb an organisation called Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini organised a day seminar in Delhi aspropaganda for SJ, at which the Chief Minister of Chh.Raman Singh talked about Naxalism as India's greatestthreat, and the Director General of Chh. police called SJ "a process of purification" . Other pro-SJ academics& journalists spoke of it as a "people's struggle -the most important since Independence" etc. This isthe greatest inversion of the truth I personally have ever come across, similar to holocaust denial.

TheNaxalites are undoubtedly misguided to use violence,but they are opposing an extreme level of exploitation& corruption, and stand up for the rights of tribal people, and appear alot more principled than the SJ &State forces opposing them. Since Bastar tribals havebeen opposing Tata steel plant plans for many years,it does actually seem that SJ was largely set up to implement Tata & other mining/metal plans. (The Chh. Govt is also recommending Tata to prospect at Bailadila iron ore Mt range)Please circulate news about what's happening in the tribal heart of India, and the terror tactics & utter thuggery being used to promote Tata, whose steel plant plans in Orissa at Kalinganagar caused 13 deaths inJan 2006, and are still being opposed there, andsimilar terror tactics at Singur in W.Bengal. Please sign the petition or take any other appropriateaction.

orissa sakhi


Abhay said...

Comrade don't lose heart... We are all there in the struggle with you.. we will win..

Abhay said...

Comrade don't lose heart we are all there in this struggle with you..'

In solidarity