Statesman News Service
BHUBANESWAR, Feb. 15. — The Bisthapan Virodhi Janamanch which is spearheading the tribal agitation since 2 January at Kalinga Nagar today dared the state government to respond to its seven-point charter of demands instead of merely parroting lines from scripts and harping on negotiations.
Distancing themselves from political parties and the debate in political circles, the Janamanch which incidentally has replaced Chakradhar Haibaru, its president, with young leader Rabindra Soy, said we do not want to be part of a gimmick or mock battle. “The issue is on displacement and we are opposed to being displaced,” they said in an open letter to the state government released here today. The Janamanch is already on a dharna in front of the Assembly.
The leaders are in a rat race to woo the tribals, they said. “If the government is sincere why has it not reacted to any of our seven-point demands. Since 2 January, when the police unleashed a reign of terror and killed 12 tribals we have been on the streets with our demands but the CM who claims to be pro-tribal has not reacted to it,” they alleged.
Claiming that they had been cheated and robbed by the government in the past, the Janamanch leaders said when land was acquired in Kalinga Nagar everybody was hoping that the locals would benefit but more than a decade since acquisition they have realised that the plight of locals has worsened. Many of them have migrated and taken to begging to sustain their family, they said.
“We lost our land, our house and our livelihood, in return a few got engaged as daily wage earners and the rest are searching for work,” they said.
This is nothing short of robbing the poor to benefit the rich MNCs. So they have decided that no further displacement will be allowed and they will not yield an inch of land. They demanded that there be a ban on displacement, criminal cases be registered against the CM and the finance minister Prafulla Ghadei, five acres of land be given to those displaced earlier and all cases against tribals in the area be withdrawn.