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Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan: Vedanta sponsored Killings and torture of Innocent Dongaria Kondhs in Niyamgiri

Bhubaneswar 19.06.2016 (By ManoMani Singh)-Since last fifteen years when the govt hand in glove with the MNC Vedant decided to go for occupation of Niyamgiri by any means for lifting of bauxite. The oppression and suppression on the poor original inhabitant tribal people have started in regular intervals. It is only because of strong resistance of the local people an organisation and by the r the intervention of the Hon. Supreme court the attempt to occupy the Niyamgiri Hills was somehow stopped, but not the oppression on people. Few incidents like killing of innocent school going boy namely Manda Katraka of village Dangamati on 27.02.2016 by the District Voluntary Force/ CRPF, lifting of innocent poor tribal’s namely Darasu Katraka (Garta village, and a General Secretary of Niyamgiri Suraksha Youth Samiti), Dadhii Manjalika (Jorpa Village), Bokko Majhi (Nachaniguda), Nepal, Bale, Teli Kataraka of Dengani village, Pandamanv Choudhary of village Asrapada by police forces and torturing of them by police force etc. To probe in to this matters and to bring ground situation in light, a national level Fact Finding team comprising of former Justice of Mumbai High Court Mr. B. G. Kolase Patil, Adv. Prashant Kumar Jena (Senior Advocate Odisha High Court), Prashant Paikarey (Convenor, Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan, Odisha), Damodhar Turi (Convenor, Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan, Jharkhand), Mahesh Raut (Convenor, Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan, Maharashtra), Bhagavan Manzi (Prakruti Sampada Suraksha Parishad, Kashipur, Odisha), Suresh Sangram, Sattya Mahar (all of Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti) have visited villages in Niyamgiri Hills area, around 8 km inside the deep forest area which is only reachable by foot. It is ascertained from the brother of the victim Manda namely Drika Katraka that Manda was studying in Class IX in Budagada High School. During the famous Niyamgiri Parv (Annual Niyamgiri Festival) time on early hours of 27.02.2016 when Manda along with co- villager Dambru Sikka went for collection of Salapi (a local traditional drink used to extract from Salapi tree). Manda was standing under the one tree and Dambru was collecting salapi from another tree, the DVF/CRPF force that moving around the area fired on Manda and killed him. The dead body was carried secretly wrapped in polythene by police. The family of Manda came to know about this when Dambru informed them, they rushed to the local police station to get information but were came empty handed as police threatened them of   their life if they ask anything about alleged encounter. On 29.02.2016 family got confirmation on Manda’s death when they saw news stating encounter of alleged Maoist which carried the photo of Manda. Family approached to Police station to claim the body but wise denied by police.

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It is only after a teacher from Budagada High School identified dead body as his student named Manda, then only police have handed Mandas body to his family. The above killing was unwarranted and uncalled in any circumstances as the victim was a school going children with school uniform (lover pants), and the eyewitness to the incidence clearly state about the unprovoked firing and clear cut murder of the boy. Though the brother and family members of the victim went to lodge a written complaint in Singpur PS, the same was not registered by police. No compensation was paid, no steps was taken by police to enquire the matter till the State Human Right Commission interfered the matter and the Sub Collector Rayagada was asked to enquire and submit report. The above version was repeated by the father of the victim Nachika Droka.It is also heard from the villagers and local people/ activist that many villagers were forcibly lifted by the police force present in the area and confined them with the police force who often torture villagers who are agitating against establishment of Factory by Vedanta and also to the allotment of Niyamgiri hills for mining. The oppression of the Company sponsored goondas, police force on the sensitive primitive tribal of Dongaria and others in Niyamgiri in the name of combing operation requires to be urgently stopped, intervention and enquiry by an independent body like sitting Judge of High Court, compensation should be paid to the victims family and withdrawal of police force from the area are the main demand of the people. And the team fully agree with the demand to uphold the dignity of the Democracy and secure freedom of the people to live peacefully. All attempts to hand over the natural resources to the MNC’s ignoring the interest of local inhabitants should be stopped immediately.

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1. Mr. B. G. Kolase Patil (Justice of Mumbai High Court)
2. Adv. Prashant Kumar Jena (Advocate Odisha High Court), Secretary PUCL Cuttack unit, Odisha.
3. Prashant Paikarey (Convenor, Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan, Odisha)
4. Damodhar Turi (Convenor, Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan, Jharkhand)
5. Mahesh Raut (Convenor, Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan, Maharashtra)
6. Bhagavan Manzi (Prakruti Sampada Suraksha Parishad, Kashipur, Odisha)

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