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India: Brutal violence by Jindal Steel company against protestors in Orissa

Protest statement, open letter and reportage

20 February 2012

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Joint Statement on brutal corporate attack on peaceful protesters in Orissa

We are extremely shocked and distressed over the barbaric inhuman violence on peaceful protesters especially woman by the security guards and hired goons of Jindal steel plant in Angul, Odisha. There has been series of attacks on unarmed peaceful protesters against forcibly land grab all over Odisha. On 25th January 2012 when the entire Nation was gearing up for the Republic day celebrations and the Indian ruling classes, the big business and the corporate media was busy trumpeting the arrival of India major economical power house these recurring brutal violence by the corporate goons on mass movements in ODISHA exposes the hollowness of our rulers claim of India being the world largest democracy.

On 25th January 2012 around four thousand men and women went to Jindal Steel Plant, Angul to demand a justified compensation for the land forcibly grabbed from them and also to demand jobs which was promise to them both by the Company and Odisha Government. When the procession arrived in the factory security guard of the Jindal Steel Company and hired goons brutally attacked men and women especially women who were in the front against the struggle. The barbaric scene is difficult to explain to in words. In front of a large posse of police the hired goons in the security guards of Company attached them with iron rods and stick. Fatally injuring more than two hundred men and women, many of them are now admitted in SCB Medical College, Cuttack and different hospitals in Angul. Women were beaten ruthlessly with iron rods their cloths were torn, they were bleeding profusely, the bestiality of the goons reached most shocking and appalling limits when some of them inserted iron rods into the private parts of the women. There is nothing much to say after this about the great proclamation of Odisha Chief Minister about the so called great peaceful industrialization of Odisha. When an FIR was lodged the local police station, none of the senior executive of the company including the CEO was arrested except the token arrest of the security officer. This incident is a horrifying indicator of the growing state and corporate attacks on peaceful mass movement of Odisha. In November 2011, the hired goons of POSCO in front of a large contingent of police men attacked the peaceful protesters of the Anti-POSCO struggle in Jagatsinghpru District Odisha, with bombs killing one an injuring many.

We strongly condemn this dastardly attack on peace protesters against Jindal Steel Company in Odisha, we demand immediate arrest of the CEO and other senior executive of Jindal Steel Plant registering criminal case against them for brutally attacking people injuring men and women. We demand the dismissal and trial of all the policemen, who was present during this inhuman shameful incident including SP of the district.

We appeal to all the progressive, democratic, Human Rights and Women’s Organizations to condemn the incidents and demand action against the culprits.

Prafulla Samantara NAPM / Lok Shakti Abhiyan

Sudhir Patnaik Editor, Samadrusti

Ajit Jha Samajwadi Jan Parishad

Kiran Saheen Media Action Group, Delhi

Sehenaz Malek Arman Mahila Sangathan, Ahmedabad

Mamata Das NFFPW / POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity, Delhi

Kamayani Bali Mahabal Human rights lawyer activist
Subrat Kumar Sahu POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity, Delhi

Asit Das POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity, Delhi

Bhanumati Gochhait POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity, Delhi

Rita Kumari Pravasi Nagarik Manch, Delhi

Ranjeet Thakur Journalist, Uttarakhand

P.K. Sunderam Research Scholar, JNU


Open Letter to Navin Jindal

Dear Mr Jindal,

I just finished watching a few videos showing security forces mercilessly beating villagers in Orissa, along with some heartrending pictures of the attack. One of the pictures was of a year and a half old child with a broken foot, another of a seventy year old woman with her blood drenched face, and yet another of a tear stricken eighty year old man with blood oozing from his forehead. Another video shows a laborer lying on a hospital bed with his broken leg, moaning from an unbearable pain, and unable to work for next three months.

I was seized with uncontrollable anger and shame as I watched these videos. I was ashamed of myself that while all these atrocities were being perpetrated, I was powerless to stop them. And who was the target of my anger? This I will describe in this letter.

Mr Jindal, According to one survey, you are the richest person in this country. You make more than 66 crore rupees annually. That comes to more than 5 crore rupees per month. As per Government economists, any villager who earns more than Rs 28 per day is not considered poor. So according to the Government, your income is 66000 times the income of an average person above the poverty line.

I cannot believe that you are so much richer than a person earning Rs 28 a day because you work 66000 times harder. You acquired your ill-gotten wealth by robbing the indigents of this country of the resources hidden beneath their lands, and by selling them. Do you see any difference between a hood who knives and robs someone on the one hand, and you who rob the poor by shedding their blood, on the other? You may disagree, but the poor on whom you have unleashed such brutality with the help of police and local hoods, cannot see even an iota of difference.

The civilized urban dwellers of this country are awed by your patriotism because the Supreme Court of India, as per a case filed by you, passed a judgment according to which every citizen of this country can hoist the tricolor every day at his or her home. But do you think that people mercilessly beaten by your hoods would be enthused to hoist the tricolor when the police and the Government who swear by it forcibly acquire their lands, and anyone brave enough to ask for compensation is brutally beaten by your hoods, and the police stands by silently during this open and ferocious attack on the public.

Mr Jindal, this tricolor is symbolic of the equality between you on the one hand, and the millions of poor people of this country for whom you have nothing but contempt, on the other. You should be thankful that the indigents of this country are not aware of this powerful symbolism, or else they would have grabbed you by the collar, dragged you out from your palatial dwellings, beaten you and brought you to the police station where the station in charge would have thrown you in prison, had his oath to the tricolor been sincere. But, Mr Jindal, it is clear you insist on soaking this tricolor with the blood of innocent people. Don’t you dare to turn the tricolor red. Otherwise the poor will drench this tricolor in their own blood, fly it, and then stand you in a queue, where you will be forced to work all day like other poor people to earn a daily wage of Rs 28. You run a management college. Do your students know that a vast gulf separates what your college teaches, and the barbarism inherent in your own ‘management style’? Do the students of the Jindal Global Law School know how its founder routinely tramples upon and has complete contempt for Law and Constitution.

In order to intimidate and harass villagers demanding compensation, you entrap them in false cases in faraway provinces, so that no one would dare to raise their voice against you. Before every land grab, your hired goons brutally attack anyone who dares to raise their voice against you. You bribe the police who throw such activists in prison. Just a few days ago, the Chhattisgarh Hight Court filed a summons against you, but given the contempt your company has for the Law, it did not even accept the notice. How can they even dare to serve the court order, when it is your money that pays for all the police vehicles in the Raigadh district, and when it is your money that has built all the police stations? Do you also teach the Law students in your college such brilliant ways to circumvent the Law?

To facilitate land grab for your benefit, the Junglemahal region of West Bengal is now infested with Government troops. These poor soldiers are now fighting against the poor people of the region resisting the armed might of the State. The poor are killing each other. When this brutal war is over, when the poor have killed each other to the last, and when you have seized their lands, you will sell the precious mineral wealth underneath these lands to foreign multinationals.

You may call this lawless looting business as usual. But your violent, brazen and shameless deeds are continuously stoking the anger of millions in this country. We will make every effort to channel this anger lest it dissipate, so that they can realize the ideals of equality, and social and economic justice which form the bedrock of our Constitution, and so that India becomes a real democracy rather than the pathetic caricature it has become, where the faux symbolism of the tricolor matters more than its meaning.

If, after reading this letter, you think that I am wrong, I am willing to engage in a public discussion with you on these issues.

Himanshu Kumar

( Translation- Sanjeev Mahajan, USA )

Read original letter in Hindi


SEE ALSO:

Tehelka: Steel plant bludgeons tribals in a brutal barter

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main51.asp?filename=Ne250212Odisa.asp

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