Video Report by KBK Samchar
The vegetable garden of Odishais going to be submerged and more than 50 villages displaced; and the name of the game is ‘Development at Gunpoint’ — meaning ‘peaceful industrialization’ as the chief minister claims! Thousands of farmers of the Lower Suktel plateau in Bolangir are protesting against this upcoming dam for more than a decade now. After many a round of brutal repression and forceful land acquisition, the State has now declared the ‘final war’ against its own people.
On 29 April 2013, more than 2000 people were holding ground in opposition to the dam project. Early in the morning, 10 platoons of police force cracked down on the peaceful protesters. They started beating people mercilessly, without any provocation. They dragged women, clamped their feet with heavy boots, and tried to lynch Amitabh Patra, a filmmaker, who was filming the excesses first hand. The policemen, who appeared to be drunk, behaved like hired goons of some mafia outfit.
The police arrested 16 people, including Amitabh Patra and LeninKumar, editor of Nisan. Amitabh is still struggling for life with severe head injuries.
As the police unleashed this terror, they did not allow any media persons in, expect one channel — their chosen one. While they smashed Amitabh’s head and camera, they forcibly blocked our camera so that we could not shoot further.
Moderator’s note: Amitabh Patra is a journalist as well as activist filmmaker blogger from western Odisha who has been constantly reporting on many crucial issues that no other media covers. His video blog on youtube is a great repository of alternate reporting – http://www.youtube.com/user/amitabh1975patra
On the 29th of May he was brutally assaulted by the police and his camera was smashed to stop him from filming them beating up villagers (mostly women). The last video posted on Video Republic was by Amitabh from the very same place he was attacked. In that video it was clear that the police was ready to unleash brutality upon the people and in a matter of days it happened but at an unimaginable degree. This video report by KBK Samchar is a shocking testimony of what occurred that day, how the police gangs up around teenaged girls and stomps upon their fingers.
This incident is yet another sign of our elected Govts. being extremely intolerant of not only dissenting voices but anybody who stands up for the truth. The man with the camera and the women with their angst in this video are treated as if they are opponents in a medieval siege. The Lower Suktel Irrigation project is an engineering dinosaur long rejected by local people but pushed ahead by a nexus of petty contractors and the feudal class on one side and on the other hand bauxite mining interests want a reservoir in the area to tap into.
“The Lower Suktel Irrigation Project (LSIP) has been in controversy and stalled since over a decade due to people’s resistance. A handful of people namely the land mafia, politicians & rich people from Bolangir town have been involved in land grabbing in the area and have purchased vast patches of land in the proposed submergence area. They want to get the hefty compensation at any cost, as they are no way linked with agriculture and non-farmers. They rent out the land (tenant cropping) else its kept idle. Some of them have availed various long term forestry/ orchard plantation etc. schemes as well and converted the type of the lands in the submergence area, which will fetch them a hefty amount.
I spoke to the villagers in the fields, in the forest about their opinion. They strictly refuse any kind of dam construction – even small one if that will submerge any of their agricultural land or forest/ grazing ground or land of common usage. They talk of the fertility of the soil, easy availability of underground water at 10 feet through dug well and manual water lifting and irrigation. Health remains very well of the people. There are no mosquitoes in the area. The average economic condition of people is well there, and they do not have any loans pending on them. A truly self sustaining village economy and culture will be destroyed like Lower Indra Irrigation Project… if constructed.
DAMN the DAMs!” -
Video Report by Amitabh Patra
Video Republic Moderator Note: The video is not sub-titled. The people to be displaced and dispossessed are demanding the construction be immediately halted. The police can be heard openly threatening the women of dire consequences if they didn’t hold their tongue back!
Local people in Niyamgiri have long been demanding that the idea to mine their sacred hills be scrapped. Now, after the Supreme Court ruling on 18 April 2013, they have to say it yet again — in a gram sabha. But, as no public hearing has ever been ‘free and fair’ with Vedanta’s presence in the vicinity, the locals are rather more apprehensive than being hopeful. Since morning on the day of the court ruling, Vedanta’s officials and staff were busy performing a Yagna (fire ritual) at a Hanuman temple near the refinery. And, as the news of the ruling reached them, they started celebrating with firecrackers. So, whether the SC ruling has provided a lease of life to the locals and their sacred hills or to Vedanta is something time will tell.
Report by Mahammad Ashlam
What is there in a betel leaf? Why people are dying to protect it? This small episode from Samadrusti TV’s Madhayantara video news magazine ( Vol 5 )may give us some clues if any one is interested in exploring answers to the above questions?
Video by Tarun Mishra, Madhyantara Vol 5, Samadrusti.
Bombing in POSCO Area:When we don’t question..
by Tarun Mishra (Samadrusti TV/Madhyantar)
It is not even a month old when armed police force invaded Govindapur to forcibly acquire land for POSCO. Since February 3, 2013 this area has been turned in to an armed police camp. Excepting pro-posco goons no one can enter the village and no one can get out.Police patrolling continues for 24 hours. Even cats and dogs can’t enter without police approval. Suddenly there was a bomb attack in the village on March 2, 2013 evening.. Police were informed. They did not respond for 15 hours. But within an hour they could call media to inform them that it was an accident involving bomb making.No media person questioned the SP how could he know it without reaching the spot. 3 important leaders of the anti-posco agitation died on the spot. Two would have survived had they received medical help. One was taken to the hospital by people themselves. One of them had filed a FIR against a very powerful Idco officer who had attacked villagers on February 3, 2013. Our team was among the few people to reach the spot within hours.The images will make any one think and raise questions. When we don’t question, truth is crushed and untruth prevails.
Again for POSCO (A Madhyantar Update)
Tarun Mishra (Samadrusti TV)
On February 3, 2013 armed police force entered in to the area at 3 AM and unleashed a reign of terror. Atrocities and torture on men and women have been alleged. Demolition of betel vines began. But soon people could organize themselves and put up a brave resistance- the story of how democracy works in India for corporations and how people are refusing to accept it.We regret the mistake which shows the date as March 3 which is in fact February 3, 2013.
Shot by a resident of Sion Koliwada, this video captures shocking images of police brutality during forced evictions. Ultimately 25 women and a man were arrested for peacufully protesting the illegal demolitions. Read more: http://khareastandolan.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/land-of-mumbais-oldest-residents-under-threat/
KBK Samachar interview of Dodi Pusika, President of Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, who is being targeted by para-military and Vedanta goons.
KBK Samachar reveals how 3 members of the Dongria Kondh tribe were randomly picked by paramilitary while travelling on a train, then taken to a campsite where the three men were stripped and tortured for hours.
This is Part II of “Blood Stains in Jindal Steel”. Samadrustitv team visited Angul District Hospital and interviewed victims of Jindal assault. Video by Tarun Mishra and Madan who belongs to the affected village.