ACTION ALERT | Bullets, house-demolitions, torture … for resisting devastating steel plant in India

Two days before Orissa Day, the Government of India Celebrates with a Bloodbath

The Indigenous and other village people in one of the most exploited provinces of India – ORISSA, are protesting.  They are resisting a mammoth steel plant proposed by the TATA group, in the ‘Democratic’ state of Orissa, India.  Orissa  has responded with police, para-military and bullets, along with Tata company-goons.

Off the tata website:

Purpose
At the Tata group we are committed to improving the quality of life of the communities we serve. We do this by striving for leadership and global competitiveness in the business sectors in which we operate. Our practice of returning to society what we earn evokes trust among consumers, employees, shareholders and the community. We are committed to protecting this heritage of leadership with trust through the manner in which we conduct our business.

Responsibility: We must continue to be responsible, sensitive to the countries, communities and environments in which we work, always ensuring that what comes from the people goes back to the people many times over.

Profits over People

From our sources;

On March 28, 2010 the ‘Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch’ leaders and villagers welcomed ‘Jajpur District Collector’ and had a discussion with him on the controversial ‘common corridor’, even though they were certain that the district administration had other motives. After talks with activists of ‘Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch’ and more than 300 villagers, the Collector assured them that there would be no construction activity for the ‘Common Corridor Road’ until the matter was resolved through dialogue. However – the administration has now gone back on its word. They commenced work on March 30th using media to provoke people. In today’s newspapers, March 31st, 2010, the SP has said ‘protestors will not be spared’ and the Collector is saying “construction of the road will happen at any cost.”

This left the ‘Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch’ no other alternative but to protest. Today, March 31st, 2010, 29 platoons of armed police with 60 officers and hundreds of BJD and Tata goons reached the place of dispute. They first denied media any entry, then they started attacking the peaceful protesters. Many have been injured including women and children as indiscriminate rubber bullet firing and lathi charge has taken place. They have entered the villages and unleashed a reign of terror. The villagers have tremendous patience and are still resisting peacefully. The area has become a war zone and more than a dozen people including women and children have been seriously injured.

This is being carried out under the supervision of IG Special Operations, Arun Sadangi. Despite Sec 144 being imposed in the area, large number of Tata supporters, BJD cadre have assembled at the site and are giving instructions to the police. All people who have a conscience must act now, as democracy in Kalinganagra is being butchered in the most vulgar manner while the political and bureaucratic leadership of the state have completely sold themselves to the Tatas. There has been absolutely not even a murmur of protest from any of the mainstream political party leaders which signifies the absolute power that Tata wields over them. Just now, reports reaching us suggest that firing has started in Baligootha village the whereabouts of the leaders are not known at this time.

Bitter Irony: The Government of India has a National Action Plan on Climate Change, and is a signatory of the United Nations Human Rights Charter, “supportive” of the rights of the indigenous peoples. They legislated the Forest Rights Act four years ago.

There is an enormous amount of environmental destruction caused by the steel mines and plants as steel is one of the most polluting, energy intensive industries being a major contributor to climate change. There are land grabs happening resulting in displacement as thousands of hectares of land are being taken from the most vulnerable people.

UPDATE: One person, Member Kalundia has received bullet wounds in the chest and legs. Police have demolished houses and set them ablaze. Cattle have been indiscriminately shot.

UPDATE: Police has vacated the village and gathered about half a kilometer away in front of Rohit Ferro Chrome Factory where the construction of the common corridor road is to begin. All houses have been ransacked. Food stocks have been set on fire. Televisions, radios, etc have been destroyed. The girl who was beaten up by police has been admitted to the hospital. It is not clear yet how many have been arrested but some 20-30 people have sustained serious injuries in the attack.

To see how you can help or send letters of support – contact Mamata at mamata68.

ACTION ALERT!!!

Please call these officials and demand immediate withdrawal of police force from the area and protection of tens and thousands of people facing brutal atrocities from the state apparatus. Please note, Indian Std Time is 5 1/2 hrs ahead of GMT, and Govt offices open around 10 AM IST.

Collector, Jajpur: 06728-222001 (O) 06728-222330 (R) 06728-222087 (F)

SP, Jajpur: 06726-240112 (O) 06726-240104 (F) 06726-240100 (R)

Chief Minister, Orissa: 0674-2401100 (O), 0674-2590299 (R) 0674-2590833 (F)

CONTACT TATA: http://www.tata.com/contactus/inside.aspx?artid=rH8In2DzH+k=&sectid=3oGJ8pfLGz0=

More off the tata website:

Core values
Tata has always been values-driven. These values continue to direct the growth and business of Tata companies. The five core Tata values underpinning the way we do business are:

  • Integrity: We must conduct our business fairly, with honesty and transparency. Everything we do must stand the test of public scrutiny.
  • Understanding: We must be caring, show respect, compassion and humanity for our colleagues and customers around the world, and always work for the benefit of the communities we serve.
  • Excellence: We must constantly strive to achieve the highest possible standards in our day-to-day work and in the quality of the goods and services we provide.
  • Unity: We must work cohesively with our colleagues across the group and with our customers and partners around the world, building strong relationships based on tolerance, understanding and mutual cooperation.
  • Responsibility: We must continue to be responsible, sensitive to the countries, communities and environments in which we work, always ensuring that what comes from the people goes back to the people many times over.

~ by Cory Morningstar on March 30, 2010.

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