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Home > National Interest vs People’s Interest : A space for social movements > India: Press Statement by Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan (VVJVA) [A (...)

No to Displacement! No to Death! No to Deprivation! No to Devastation! No to Rehabilitation!

India: Press Statement by Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan (VVJVA) [A social movement opposed to displacement]

28 April 2017

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No to Displacement! No to Death! No to Deprivation! No to Devastation! No to Rehabilitation!

Development with equity and Justice!

Visthapan Virodhi Jan-Vikas Andolan (VVJVA)

Press Statement:

Branding Vistapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan (VVJVA), Jharkhand unit and Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti as a Maoist fronts by Home Ministry of Government of India – Its a undemocratic and violent step by Indian State.

The Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan (VVJVA) strongly condemns the home ministry’s move to suppress resistance against forced displacement and corporate land grab by terming peoples movements like Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti and VVJVA Jharkhand unit as Maoist party front organizations which must be crushed. This is a calculated strategy of the home ministry to create an atmosphere that will enable the repression of not just these movements but also many others who are putting up a strong resistance against the anti- people agenda of the corporate and the government.

The Vistapan Viordhi Jan Vikas Andolan is an all India level united platform of different movements from different parts of the country that are resisting the displacement of Adivasis, dalits, farmers and labourers by corporations in the name of various development projects. This united platform has not only supported and bolstered the struggles for securing land rights of the Adivasis and Dalits but has also put forward a model of pro people and sustainable development in a constructive manner.

The various constituents of VVJVA are active in Odisha, Maharshtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and in Other states. Member sangathans of VVJVA are working for building and strengthening democratic and constitutional structures like the Gram Sabhas and asking for entitlements to be given under the Forest Rights Act, 2006; Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, etc. Rigorous and sustained efforts have been undertaken in these regions to resist land grab and assert the constitutional rights of adivasis over their natural resources, livelihood and dignity.

The timing of the report given by the Home Ministry condemning people centric movements is strategic. It comes at a time when Corporations have had to step back and concede to constitutional processes. The Niyamgiri Adivasi Movement has been able to defeat a large Corporation like Vedanta. These Adivasis have succeeded in their hard struggle through their Gram Sabhas by insisting on the implementation of the PESA Act, 1996 and by rejecting the mining of the Niyamgiri Hills. Similarly, the POSCO Prtirodh Samiti has succeeded so far in their long and heroic struggle in saving their lands giving their livelihood and their forest land. While one of the leaders of the movement is being awarded internationally for the efforts to save the environment, the Indian Home Ministry is trying to brand this movement and discredit the struggle of the people.

This is not the first time that the government has targeted movements by terming them as front organizations. In the past few years this has become the modus operandi of the government to stifle movements. Use of UAPA and other draconian laws against activists and the leaders of the affected communities has become common practice.

In the past few months, the Jharkhand unit of the VVJVA, has been actively participating, working and building up a strong adivasi resistance movement against the amendments to the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, (CNT 1908) and Santal Parganas Tenancy Act , SPTA 1949. These amendments are a move by the government to dispossess thousands of Adivasis by losing their fundamental and constitutional rights. It is this resistance to the governments’ moves to dispossess adivasis that is being repressed. Along with strong resistance to changes in CNT and SPT act, Jharkhand unit constituents of VVJVA are strongly leading other anti-displacement struggles in Jharkhand state, against forceful land acquisition for Electro Steel Plant, Jindal mining Project in santhal pargana, movement of displaced person in Tenughat power plant, Bokaro steel plant, Tiger Project Betla, Kutaku Dam, Santuary and Dam in Gumala. All constituents of VVJVA are working in people to raise peoples democratic struggle against the corporate loot of jal-jangal-jamin. It is this resistance to the governments moves to dispossess adivasis that is being repressed.

VVJVA wass actively conducted fact findings where peoples rights have been violated in way of forcfully snachting their resources, in whcih emminent people from legal, acadecia, social movements have participated. VVJVA activelly opposed and raised issues from Badkagao Firing incident, repression and killings in Niyamgiri area. This active involment of VVJVA against the anti-people development policies of state, against the state repression and strong work towards the goal of people based development model have shaken the very basic nature of this pro-corporate state structure.

It is interesting to note that the home ministry report itself says that the main plank has been the issue of displacement of local communities and that the pro tribal issues were being raised in the opposition to the amendments of the CNT/SPT Acts. "The Maoists tried to strengthen coordination between its mass organizations and other like-minded organizations to undertake Programmes against alleged state violence and for protection of democratic rights. In 2016, the issue of displacement of local communities remained the main plank of mobilization by the mass organisations. In Niyamgiri Hills area (Districts Rayagada and Kalahandi, Odisha), the outfit continued to guide the activities of the Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti. Similarly in Jharkhand the Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan a front of the CPI (Maoist), tried to take up pro-tribal issues and opposed amendments to the Chhotanagpur and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Acts, modifications in Domicile Policy etc"(Home Ministry Reoprt 2017, para 2.8).

The Niyamgiri movement is a successful one, the legitimacy of whose demands have been upheld by the Supreme Court of India and the larger civil society. The consistent resistance by the people of the region has forced a mighty corporation to withdraw their operations. The Jharkhand Resistance to the amendments have also been widespread with support of all sections of the civil society. The protest has been within the democratic framework.

This is a time when the strength of people’s movements is increasing and mass movements are gaining ground thwarting the corporate agenda. In this atmosphere branding movements as fronts or anti national etc is a way to repress peoples movements. We strongly condemn this move.

We demand that the home ministry should instead focus on providing the struggling masses with their basic rights. The forest rights act and PESA act beg for proper implementation. On many occasions these have been bypassed to grant land for large projects. Various communities who have been displaced by development projects and mining activities are still struggling to get the compensation they were promised in terms of land, jobs and/or monetary compensation. Further, environmental laws are being openly flouted while the government turns a blind eye. If these were being implemented and the constitutional rights of the people were being upheld, so many agitations would not have raised or flared up against the state policies. The necessity for people to float and form such "Front Organizations" would not have appeared on the social scene at all. It has become a regular practice for ‘Indian Home Ministry’ to brand all people’s organizations that take-up and work on their issues as Maoist or Maoist affiliated. This is a sinister design of the home ministry to choke the resistant voices of the oppressed people, and adivasis who are struggling to protect their natural habitat and constitutional rights. It is time that the government looked for political solutions and examined the flaws in its policies rather than finding ways of repressing movements that stand up for democracy and constitutional rights in the truest sense.

We again condemn this repressive act of state to label peoples movements to repress any kind of dissent. And we declare once again VVJVA’s commitment to stand in struggle with people, to fight against injustice caused by anti-people development plans, we will carry forward our united struggle against displacement of all kinds, to established and ensure rights of dalits, adivasis, farmers, labourers on land and resources.

We appeal to all peoples movements, academicians, students and workers to raise their voice against home ministries recent report and condemn the fabricated allegation made by in it. And to strengthen the peoples struggle against exploitative development model of the state.

Issued by:
Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan
Central Conveners Committee: Tridib Ghosh, Prashant Paikray, Madhuri, Damodar Turi, J. Ramesh, Mahesh Raut,
and VVJVA Steering committee, all associate state units.
Central Office: Sarai Tand, Morahabadi, Post: Ranchi University, Ranchi, Jharkhand, 834008

Contact: janandolan[at] 08757579898, 09437571547, 09179753640, 09948410798, 08390045482