ICAWPI

International Campaign Against War on the People in India

 

Stop all attacks against the people!

 

Tue10152019

Last updateWed, 25 Sep 2013 1pm

BackYou are here: ResistanceNews The Flames of Narayanpatna, Orissa

News

The Flames of Narayanpatna, Orissa

Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh, Narayanpatana

A few words

The agitation launched by the tribes, farmers and daily wagers of Narayanpatna has caught the imagination of exploited people of Odisha and India as well. The consciousness of the exploited people of Narayanpatna has been developed, culminating in the agitation, which today is an organic entity dynamic in its spirit. The land dispute, which remained unsettled for generations together, could be solved due to concerted efforts of thousands of people led by the 'Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh', who, in the long run, have been able to take their lands back from the landlords, what was rightfully theirs.

Due to this agitation the poor people occupied 3000 acres of land, met with steep resistance from the landed and the state. The Odisha Legislative Assembly took up the matter for discussion in which the members lay focus on the activities of Chasi Mulia Adivasi and land-agitation of Narayanpatna. The government is trying hard to suppress the lawful movement with oppression. This apart, the counter-revolutionary organisations like 'Peace Committee' and 'Nagarik Suraksha Samiti' have come to the fore. The government and the landlords (money-lenders) are creating regional imbalances among the exploited tribes and non-tribes using pleas of smaller mistakes committed by the Chasi Mulia Sangh while sorting out the land problems.

The leaders of the Sangh belonging to Bandhugaon area are undermining the class-struggle, aspirations of the exploited lot and their basic land problems. They are dampening the combating spirit of the people, making friends with class-enemies. By hobnobbing with the police, peace committee, Nalco and Hindalco, these people keep attacking the exploited masses.

The exploited people will continue their struggle and never relent till they get their right over land, water, forest and natural resources. They will keep up the revolution till their basic problems are solved despite attacks on them.

If this tyrannical government along with police, landlords, Peace Committee and Nagarik Suraksha Samiti launches scathing attacks and suppresses the Narayanapatna Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh and the agitating masses, opens fire at them killing the CMAS leaders like Comrade Singhana and Andru, and rampages the villages , the exploited and struggling people will never stay away from the agitation.

Let all of us put up stiff resistance to the suppression on the revolution of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha. This struggle carried out by the organized force of the exploited people will keep moving on the path of victory. Let all the democratic intelligentsia and revolutionary groups extend support to this agitation. We fervently call for other exploited people to join this struggle in large numbers.

With revolutionary regards

Nachika Linga

Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh

Narayanpatana

 

Kuis bracing up for agitation on Koraput hill

The people of Narayanpatana are fighting against local exploiting class with an aim of getting land, food and freedom, on the issue of their land problem in line with fights taken up by people in Lalgarh, Nandigram, Singur in West Bengal and Kashipur, Kalinga Nagar in Odisha. Armed with traditional weapons they gave vent to their dissatisfaction through rallies, dharna, protest meetings and road-blockades and sharpened their focus on agitation. The problems they are embroiled in are not related with SEZ which has come to the fore in the first half of the twenty-first century and nor are they specially related to displacement problems. Rather, the problems are related to their livelihood and existence. The tribes have prominently raised voice in the mass movements of Odisha. In 1817 AD the Kuis of Banapur in Odisha rose in revolt at first against the British regime. Similarly, among all the tribal revolts taken place in Odisha during the period from 1817 to 1942, the Koraput revolt led by Laxman Nayak was notable. During this period August 21 in 1942 deserves special mention in the annals of history of movements against British colonialism. On that day the police had opened fire at a mob rushing towards Mathili police station and attacked them with bayonets. The police arrested the leader of the mob Laxman Nayak, who fell down at that time due to bayonet charge and put him in prison. False cases were lodged against Laxman and  49 other people on the charges of murder of a forest guard and he was hanged to death on March 29, 1943, while 30 others were imprisoned for life. This bears testimony to the fight and courage shown by Koraput people in the movement against British rule of that time. But today the people of Koraput have faced a similar situation in a so called independent democratic nation with their own government as the police opened fire at assembled people, who, led by Comrade Singana, were protesting against police attack on them on November 20, 2009. Consequently Comrade Andru was killed on the spot and the injured Singana was axed to death by the hired goons of the tyrant government.

India is a backward country. Of all the States, Odisha is more backward than others. Odisha is considered a backward state even after the country achieved its so-called independence. That too, people of Koraput in Odisha are reeling under starvation. The tribes are being given a raw deal in every sphere. The exploitation of landlords and moneylenders, which is on the rise day by day, adds to their woes. In 1991, the BPL percentage in India was 26, while Odisha accounted for 47. But the percentage of BPL people was at an alarming 80 in undivided Koraput. At that time the population of the district stood at 11,80,632 and 2,64,707 families existed. Among them, the BPL families were 2,21,847 (84 per cent). Of the BPL families the tribes were 50 per cent and the Dalits were 13 per cent. Similarly, the population of Narayanpatana block stood at 38,117 with 9,560 families. Among them the BPL families were 8,517 (89.46 per cent) with 82 per cent of tribes (81.58) and 7 per cent (7.13%) of Dalits.

Although the government has taken up welfare schemes in the State keeping in view starvation, malnutrition, death for want of treatment and practices of hereditary bondage etc, 80 per cent of the money earmarked for developmental schemes are being pilfered due to lack of accountability. But the rest part of money (meagre 20 pc) is not being properly utilized thereby giving rise to poverty each day. There exist opportunities for education, health and transport for name's sake only. The problem of unemployment is acute. The poor each day is being motivated to join the police, to further their oppression against the poor using the adivasi and dalit as his weapon for oppression against the poor.

Afraid of the armed revolution in Srikakulam in 1970, the non-tribal landlords and business men came over to Koraput district. After settling down here permanently they began to exploit the local people at their own will. The non-tribes and coastal area people of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha joined hands with them and they all unitedly encroached  the lands of the tribal people. They engaged the tribes in their own lands as labourers and duped them in the process. They also established political supremacy over the poor tribes and began to increase their landed property by exploiting the tribes. There is regulation 2 (1956) that the non-tribes cannot take away tribal lands. But this law is not being strictly enforced. In the wake of the tribal agitation launched by the Chasi Mulia Samiti in 1998, the government declared that it would strictly implement the law. But in that year (1998) eight tribes of Mandrabaju in the district of Gajapati, while fighting over land problems, were shot dead by the government agents. Subsequently the government amended the law keeping the interests of the companies in mind, when the dispute arose over the land matters between the tribes of Kashipur and the company. Three local tribes were shot dead. The government completely changed the tribal land transfer law in 2002 and empowered the District Collectors to deal with the matters concerning with transfer of tribal lands thereby depriving the tribes of their rights over the land. It was business as usual.

On this backdrop the tribal people of Narayanpatna in Koraput district are now being exploited, suppressed and duped by the non-tribal landlords, forest officers and the government. The non-tribes are exploiting the tribes by enticing them with liquor and keeping them indebted using liquor as a bait. The contractors and boot-leggers are always keeping the tribes inebriated by supplying hooch to them and endangering their livelihood so that the tribes would not muster enough courage to raise their voice against exploitation.

The people have taken the path of agitation considering it as the only alternative in order to get back their grabbed land and bring about changes in the life style of the tribes. Under the leadership of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh, the people here have launched an armed agitation against hooch and land-grabbing. The agitation  is percolating down to the villages where hundreds of villagers are volunteering to join it.

Why the government opened fire at the people at Narayanpatana on the Andhra-Odisha border on November 20?

The movement taken up by the chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh

The Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh, which has been working in Odisha for the last 15 years, took up its organisational work in Narayanpatna in 2004. The people of Narayanpatna have been agitating on various problems under the leadership of the CMAS since then. The people launched scathing attacks on the illegal and licensed country made and Indian manufactured foreign liquor and brandy shops operating under the limits of Narayanpatna block in January, 2009. They destroyed illegal manufacturing units of the country liquor and the vehicles transporting them. They were able to put a complete check on the manufacturing and transporting of the hooch during the first four months. The people already organised in the fight against hooch, began their agitation against the landlords, who were exploiting them and illegally grabbing their land. Thousands of people belonging to hundreds of villages under six gram panchayats of Narayanpatna block walked to the lands of the landlords shouting slogans on 'the rights of the people over the land' and posted red flags there occupying the lands on June 12, 2008 and ploughed the land collectively. They also distributed the pieces of land among the landless poor during July 5-10. Through this movement they took possession of around 3000 acres of land.

The people had driven away the exploiting group of hooch traders and landlords from the villages. These exploiting groups were already scared of the agitation. However, the remaining tribal money-lenders conceded to the demands of the CMAS and gave the lands back to the tribes. Encouraged by the positive outcome of the agitation, the people proceeded forward. The people came to realize the fact that people's force can conquer any force, whatsoever it may be. But the landlords and hooch traders, who had lost their lands, reinvigorated their efforts through conspiracies on methods of exploiting the people again. They devised ways to suppress the organised forces and the leaders of the CMAS so as to protect their interests. They tried to bring the agitation down in different ways. Instigated by the State government and the police, the money-lenders have formed 'Peace Committee' and Nagarik Suraksha Samiti (Citizens' Protection Committee) to safeguard their interest in the name of restoring normalcy in the area.

From the beginning the government has been mounting pressure on the Chasi Mulia Sangha, which has been formed in Narayanpatna since 2004, and on those who participated in the agitation against landlords and hooch-traders. As a result, the Sangh leader Nachika Linga along with other agitating people had been arrested and put behind bars. The land problems of the people could not be sorted out although they had brought them to the notice of the government many times for long five years till 2009 AD asking for rights over the lands through lawful agitation.

Therefore, CMAS decided to give up the way of appealing to the government agents and boycotted the false democracy and farcical elections propounded by the ruling class. The CMAS launched drives to drive the landlords and money-lenders out of the villages posting red flags on the lands of those tyrannical and exploiting people. For this reason, the government began to suppress CMAS.

With this perspective, the government and the police instituted 'Peace Committee' comprising the leaders of Congress, BJP and BJD, landlords, tribal village heads and Paidis (A Dalit community, who lost their lands during attacks launched by the CMAS).

Suppression and resistance

The Peace Committee carried out demonstrations shouting slogans against the Sangh at Narayanpatna on May 5,2009, in which 4000 people participated. The Peace Committee submitted a memorandum to the BDO demanding the ban of the Chasi Mulia Sangha, arrest of Sangha leaders and retrieval of lands occupied by the Sangha. Thereafter, the Peace Committee went on a rampage, destroyed houses of 10 Sangha activists of Dunchudi village and looted away their all belongings. They also destroyed houses of Sahadev Parida and the Sangha leader Tilasu of Bapanput village. In order to repulse the attack and the destructive spree of the Peace Committee, armed with traditional weapons, people in hundreds of villages led by Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha in Narayanpatana area got ready. They boldly faced the goons of the Peace Committee, who were continuously attacking villages one by one. They closely followed the goons of the peace Committee and drove them away as far as five kilometers. During the clash between the Peace Committee and the Sangha one tribal Nityananda Mallik of Gadiguda village, who owed allegiance to the Peace Committee, lost his life. Unable to face the stiff resistance put up by the Sangha people, the Peace Committee had to retreat.

Although the so-called peace campaign launched in Narayanpatana faced a severe setback due to stiff resistance put up by the people, the Naveen Patnaik government took efforts to set up this committee afresh. As a result, the Nagarik Suraksha Samiti came into existence in all the blocks of Koraput district instead of Peace Committee. The Samiti took up programmes of holding open public meetings, dharna and processions in Bandhugaon, Similiguda, Laxmipur, Damanjodi, Kaekori, Gumma, Nandapur and Dasmantpur. The tribes and the Sangh people were described as unruly and plunderers so as to rake up divisive feeling among the people with a purpose of creating division and dispute amongst them. The companies like Nalco and Hindalco have spent huge amounts of money with the help of the Congress, BJP and BJD to enrich the Peace Committee so as to strategically suppress the agitation of the people who have been organised against mining of bauxite in the Deomali hills besides claiming rights over the lands under the leadership of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh. The committee like Nagarik Suraksha Samiti, Peace Committee and others have been formed throughout the country to serve the purpose of companies like Nalco and Hindalco along with landlords, which go against the tribes and common people. The Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha organised an  open meeting at Laxmipur  in August, 2009 in protest against series of attacks and oppression of the Peace Committees and the conspiracy of the government. While the police did not permit the Sangha to hold such a mega meeting, the Peace Committee along with the police terrorized the people who were coming to join the meeting. The police and Peace Committee detained the people and vehicles so as to disrupt the meeting. Despite these hurdles, thousands of people, Sangha activists and belligerent Ghinua brigade walked to the place of the meeting, Laxmipur from Narayanpatana holding flags, placards and banners brushing aside all threats and terrors posed by the Peace Committee and police. The people  showed their solidarity and strength en-masse and the meeting was a grand success. In the wake of the success of the meeting the so-called Peace Committee and the landlords again raised their voice against the Sangha and submitted a memorandum to the Governor demanding imposition of ban on the Sangha, arrest and hanging of Nachika Linga to death, restoration of lands wrested back by the tribes, led by the Sangha. These people gave a bandh call in Koraput on October 21. The so-called peace committees are guided by political leaders, landlords and the exploiting class. The 'Peace Committee' is disintegrating the  exploited mass of tribes and non-tribes creating disturbances among them.

Taking the plea of sorting out the problems and setting the disputes arising among the people, the government is sending police forces to the villages and arresting and attacking the people. The CRPF, BSF and SOG forces have camped in Narayanpatana in large numbers with the help of the Peace Committee and landlords to work against the people who are carrying on the agitation, armed with traditional weapons. These forces are visiting the villages' everyday in the name of patrolling and threatening the people. They are entering each home and arresting people falsely alleging that they ( the people) have links with the Maoists.

On June 18, 2009 the PLGA, the armed force of the Maoists, had attacked 10 police personnel killing them at Palur. Enraged by this act of the Maoists, the police took revenge on the innocent tribal people by arresting them while they were on their way to the market. The police turned violent and indulged in blank firing at the people, who were on the road after evening, as a result of which the enraged people put up resistance against the highhandedness of the police. Around 3000 people took to their feet to Narayanpatana police station and   laid siege to it and the building where the CRPF were camping. The angry mob asked the police to stop oppression and attack on the innocent people. The police had to bow down before the united strength and discontentment of the people. Finally the police begged apology and gave assurance in writing not to repeat the mischief which ultimately helped the people calm down. On the other hand, the people, armed with their traditional weapons, got ready in the villages to prevent the possible onslaught on them by the police. The people of five-six villages of that area stayed for three days in Palur, which was subjected to police high-handedness, extending support to those villagers thereby boosting up the morale of the frightened people. The people, who came to Palur with an aim of attacking the villages, had to move backward after witnessing the show of strength in that village. The people blocked all the roads by felling trees so as to prevent entry of the police force into the villages of Narayanpatna from Laxmipur, Rayagada, Bandhugaon and Koraput. At last the situation came to such a pass that the government supplied food stuffs by helicopter to the police force camped at Narayanpatna.

The police pasted on the walls of Narayanpatna police station the posters of Nachika Linga, Singhana and Ram Padhy, the leaders of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh, in order to arrest them. People saw the posters pasted on the walls. Around 2000 people walked to the police station on October, 2009 and laid siege to it in protest against the pasting of posters. On that day, too, the police begged apology and said 'We have never pasted posters on the walls. We don't go against you nor shall we attack you.' The police also gave written assurance to the people. Thousands of people from each village joined rallies and protest meetings held against police high-handedness at Narayanpatana.

The Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh, which began its work as a movement against hooch trading, in course of time, spread its agitational agenda quickly. The activists of the CMAS became confident of confronting those coming in the way of their agitation. Because of the mustered confidence and strength, in November, 2009, they unitedly got ready to cut the crops they had raised in the fields occupied by them through agitation. They had raised crops toiling hard, shedding their blood and sweat. When they were cutting crops with much enthusiasm, the police force reached Thumbuguda village 2 kms away from Narayanpatna at 10 AM on November 20, 2009 and asked the people working in the field, ''You are helping Maoists; tell us where they are now." They threatened the people and talked in obscene language with the women besides rebuking the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh. Finding no other way, the people immediately brought this matter to the knowledge of their leader Nachika Linga. When the matter reached the Sangha, its leaders then advised the people to walk to Narayanpatna in order to raise their voice of protest against police demeanor and high-handedness. At once 200 villagers along with the Sangh leaders proceeded to Narayanpatna police station. The people from hilly areas also joined them.

Dissatisfied with the police excesses, the people asked the police why they had gone to Tumbuguda; why they were committing atrocities on the innocent people; why they failed to keep up their written promise given to the people. The people demanded answers to these questions from the police through slogans. But the police, without caring for the people, went inside the rooms locking the gate of the police station, which made the people angry. Then 10 youths of the Ghinua brigade along with the Sangh leader Singhana entered the police station breaking open the lock of the gate. They asked the police officer about the earlier assurances given to them which triggered heated exchange of words between the Sangh leaders and the police. At that time the police personnel present on both the upper and lower floors of the police station indiscreetly opened fire at the people. One of the bullets hit the head of Comrade Andru, who fell down dead on the spot. When Comrade Singhana was inside the police station, a bullet hit him and he came outside injured and fell down near the gate. Then the police goons axed him to death mercilessly. Comrade Singhana and Comrade Andru became martyrs at the police firing and many people were injured. The incident was unexpected in which many people got injured seriously and dispersed heavily wounded. The leaders of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha, Comrade Singhana and Andru, who were spearheading the movement for claiming rights over land, were killed in a planned way. The police sounded high alert and clamped prohibitory orders under section 144 over the area not to allow people to protest against the killing of their leaders. Four companies of police force were sent to Narayanpatna at 3 am and three companies of police force were again sent in the morning. The hostels of schools in the area were vacated and police force were accommodated there. The leaders of the Peace Committee, the dishonest tribes, who were driven out of the Sangha earlier and those carrying out counter-agitation against the Sangha came to Narayanpatana to stay with the police.

They locked the office of the Sangha and destroyed the houses of the Sangha activists there. The police resorted to flag-march with guns along the road. The united brigade of the Peace Committee were seen walking in the lanes and by-lanes of Narayanpatna area. They unleased a reign of terror there. The tribes living there could not muster courage to come outside. Even the male activists of the CMAS stayed away from carrying dead bodies of their beloved leaders from the police station for fear of being arrested. For this reason, the women had to bring dead bodies to their village on November 21 at night. Hundreds of people cremated the dead bodies of their beloved leaders on November 23 amidst strict police vigilance. On that day the Sunday-market remained closed. The police turned violent and arrested any male person and tribes at sight. The condition of those injured in the police firing began to deteriorate for want of medicines and proper treatment. Who will treat the injured, where the  government itself is opening fire at the people of its own country? Only women and old women are going to the Narayanpatna market for shopping today. This clearly speaks volumes of the prevailing situation still prevailing in the area. A close look at the daily activities of the police force camped on the other side of Narayanpatna indicates that the police and the divisive elements with vested interests have formed groups and are going to attack the villages where the CMAS has taken roots. The goons of the Peace Committee are leading the police to the villages. The goons of the Peace Committee are keeping themselves in the forefront and indulging in violence during the attacks on the villages. The police reach the villages early in the morning before the villagers get up and resort to blank-firing besieging each lane and by lane of the villages so that the innocent villagers can't leave. A warlike situation has been created there. The police force are taking away the village people and beating them up with gun-butts and wooden sticks. Anybody passing through there at the time of police onslaught, is also cruelly hit on the head with the gun-butts. Even the old men and women are not spared. While beating the people up, the police force are mocking at them by saying, "Now you call your leader Singhana, let him protect you." They are threatening the people and asking them to promise to dissociate with the CMAS severing all links with it. They are entering each house, throwing the food grains kept in the house on the floors and mixing poison with them. They are spitting in the cooked rice kept in the utensils and on other food stuffs. They are also looting away the money deposited in the house by the households through savings. Besides this, the Peace Committee and police force are stealing the instruments used in the agricultural activities like knife, axe, shovel, spade etc from the people. They are also setting on fire the red flags and red clothes wherever they find. They see the red objects with a jaundiced eye. It has become a routine affair for the police force to go on rampage, beat up the young and old men at sight and arrest them.

Similarly Police and Peace Committee have unitedly launched attack on the house of the Narayanpatana Sangh leader Nachika Linga and village of the Porubadi panchayat leader Ram Padhy. They have also launched scathing attack on all the villages under Narayanpatna panchayat one by one and arrested many people. While on the one hand the tyrant goons of the Peace Committee and Police are on the spree of attacking and arresting the innocent people, on the other, they are carrying out combing operation in the name of 'Operation Linga' and 'Wanted Linga'. They are threatening the Sangh leaders and activists asking them to surrender before police, saying that Linga along with 18 others will be arrested. They have pasted posters with photos of Nachika Linga on the walls and announced cash prize on Linga's head. By doing all this, the police and the government are unsuccessfully trying to create fear among the people thus demoralizing them.

Women play lead role in resistance put up by people of Narayanpatana

The women have set examples keeping themselves in the forefront while patiently putting up stiff resistance to the inhuman attack on the agitating villages and arrest of the agitators by the police. Using traditional weapons and the home made chilli powder they have been able to with stand the police. Earlier, the women had also played key role in the movement against hooch traders. The concerted efforts, put up by the organised women while cracking down on the hooch manufacturing units, have proved fruitful thereby making Narayanpatna dry. There are instances that in most of the villages women have come forward pushing men behind at the  time of police attack on them. They are heard as saying to the men members, " We will go to the forefront, you stay behind." The women are seen confronting with the police boldly and unitedly injuring them during the clash. In the month of June in 2009, 50 policemen entered the houses in the village of Lalisahi under Barigi panchayat, threw around the belongings and tried to arrest the male members of the families. At that time the women unitedly caught one policeman and beat him up. Thinking that the women may kill him, the remaining police force resorted to blank firing there, freed their colleague from the clutches of the women and ran away.

On August 3, 2009, the gray-hound police numbering 35 from Andhra Pradesh had entered the village of Jangadi Balasa under Kerubadi panchayat in Bandhugaon block. On that day the women also encircled the police force, clashed with them and sent messages about the entry of police into the village to the male members of the village, who were then outside the village. The message was also circulated to other villages. As a result, armed with traditional weapons, the men and women rushed to the spot from all sides and snatched away mobile phone sets, kit bags and arms from the grey-hound police. They tied some of the police force and asked them why the Andhra police had come over to Odisha. The frightened police, finding no other way, begged the villagers, "We have small kids, please let us off." Then the people paraded them as far as main road and let them off after obtaining assurances from the BDO and SI there.

A Peju (a cook dressed in female attire in tribal culture) was cooking food in a house in the village of Pigua Lachha under Barigi panchayat when police launched attack on the village. Two policemen entered the house and mistook Peju as a woman and tried to molest him. At that time the Peju threw hot water on the policemen, who ran away shouting from the place with burns on the face While running away they faced stone-pelting and brick-batting from the women and children of the village, who had chased them as far as the end of the village. When the policemen entered the village, took away the male members arresting them,  at that time the women unitedly fought with the police and snatched away their male members from them. This has become a commonplace event. The women always remain in the forefront during rallies, meetings and gherao of police stations.

When the posters, containing photos of Nachika Linga, Singhana and Ram Padhy, the leaders of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh, were pasted on  the walls in Narayanpatna describing them as anarchist and looters in October, 2009, at that time 2000 women had walked to the police station and protested against it. They had torn the posters. When the people tried to barge into the police station, the policemen immediately closed the gate locking it and lathi-charged the irate mob. Despite this, the people entered the police station crossing over the gate and asked the police officer about their inhuman act. After getting assurance from him, they had let him off. The women also took part in the incident on November 20, where police had opened fire at the people. They had also brought the dead bodies of Comrade Singhana and Comrade Andru from police station for cremation. The women had also offered stiff resistance to the atrocities perpetrated by police on the male members of the village in the wake of the police firing. When the women were preventing police from arresting and beating up the male members, some of them were also injured as police used slang language and attacked them on their heads.

Despite being injured, the women followed the police, who were ultimately compelled to let off some male members. In the wake of police firing on November 20 police force arrested Kumudini of Polapat village, a women leader of the Sangh, sent her to police custody in order to bring down the resistance put up by women and frustrate their united strength. The police had also arrested one woman leader of the CMAS belonging to Paschimagram, when she was returning home from Narayanpatna market. Now the police force are launching attacks on the villages and arresting the  male members and leaders of the Sangha. Therefore, all male members, CMAS leaders and the members of the Ghinua brigade are staying in their hide-outs. But the remaining children, women and old women are taking up agricultural activities. They all, armed with traditional weapons, are  vigilant in protecting their village and property. They are also going to the market to fetch necessary commodities for themselves.

The police and landlords terrorized the people when the latter cut crops from the fields reclaimed by them through agitation. They also threatened to open fire at those coming to harvest crops. The police and moneylenders are now provoking the women coming to the market by saying, 'Where did your husband's go away? What happened to your red sarees now? Will you now come to harvest crops?" They are rebuking, insulting and laughing at the women and using slangs. But the women don't care for them, rather they have vowed to occupy the crop-land. They have prepared themselves to sacrifice their lives in the field, but not to give up the lands, crops, the Sangh and red flags at any cost even in the face of bullets and blood-shed.

The women also foiled the false propaganda carried out by the government, money-lenders, landlords and Peace Committee that the crops have been damaged in Narayanpatna. These unscrupulous people had launched misinformation campaigns that the Crop-harvest was unsuccessful in most of the fields.

Other friendly outfits lent support to Narayanpatana Chasi Mulia Sangha

The anarchy-generating goons of the Peace Committee and police of Narayanpatna created panic among those who participated in the procession of dead bodies of Comrade Singhana and Comrade Andru, who became martyrs at the police firing on November, 20, 2009. The police frightened the people, patrolled on the road with guns and arrested the tribes wherever they managed.

Despite these hurdles, thousands of people came walking through forests and hills from many kilometres away to the village of Podapadar to which comrade Singhana belonged and paid their last tribute to their beloved leader. It was reported in the mass media that the village Podapadar reverberated with the slogans 'Lal Salam', 'Amar Rahe' shouted by the people. Many intellectuals from different parts, democracy-lovers, representatives of other friendly parties joined the condolence meeting. The leaders who joined the meeting included Prafulla Samantaray of Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Bhalachandra Sarangi of CPI (ML) New Democracy, Shivram of Bastee Suraksha Samiti, Tapan Mishra, an associate leader of the Sangha, SP Satyanarayan, the secretary of Vizianagar district of All India Kshet Mazdoor Sangh, Dandapani Mohanty of Odisha Forest Mazdoor Union and Buddha Gamanga of Lok Sangram. The police terrorised these leaders while they were on the way to the meeting. They had also detained the vehicles coming from Similiguda, Laxmipur and Bandhugaon areas to the meeting place. Despite all these, the leaders and the people had walked to the meeting place holding red flags and paid tributes to Singhana.

Because of these hurdles posed by the police and Peace Committee, the condolence meeting was delayed by two days and held on November 23. Those who attended the meeting and funeral rites, condemned the police firing on November 20 in their speeches. They demanded judicial inquiry into the police firing and punishment to the guilty. The leaders also demanded stopping of bauxite mining, police attack on the villages, arrest of innocent people, combing operation, atrocities on the women and withdrawal of additional police force from the area. They also urged the concerned authorities to grant record of rights over the lands to those who occupied the land through struggles. When the meeting ended, the leaders interacted with the people about their problems. The people described before the leaders vivid accounts of police atrocities on them including damage of crops and arrest of innocent people. They brought to the knowledge of the leaders, about the pressure put on them to surrender before the police severing links with the Sangh and leaving the lands. They also informed the leaders about resale of hooch, which was stopped by the Sangha in Narayanpatna. The people paid tributes to the departed leaders pledging to follow the revolutionary path shown by Comrade Singhana and Andru, not to part with the Sangha and their land even in the face of suppression.

The united forum of all mass-organisations of Odisha gave a bandh call in South Odisha on November 28 in protest against police firing on November 20. Maoist Party also gave bandh call separately protesting against the incident. The people voluntarily observed bandh against the government in Rayagada, Malkangiri, Koraput, Kandhamal, Ganjam and Gajapati districts. While observing bandh the people brought resolutions against the government condemning the police firing and blocked roads. But the mass media broke false news about the bandh describing that the bandh had not been total as people had no support for it. By doing this the mass media proved they were the stooges of the  government and the rich money-lenders and land owners.

The police unlawfully arrested Tapan Mishra and another person at Bandhugaon and sent them to jail. Mishra and his companion had been to Narayanpatna to  meet the people. The police termed them as Maoists and arrested them, lodging false cases against them. The police willfully detained and sent back the human right activists and women representatives coming to Narayanpatna from different parts of the state to understand the nature of attacks and atrocities on the people.

The famous mass-movement leader Medha Patkar had asked the government for protecting life and property of Nachika Linga as there was impending danger on his life and he was not a criminal.

The committee on freedom of political prisoners' put a proposal before the government to accord status of political prisoner to those arrested in connection with solution of land problems., The committee condemned the police firing on November 20, police attack on villages in the wake of the firing and illegal arrest of innocent people. When the intellectuals and democracy loving organisations were coming forward to extend all possible help and support to the agitating people and Narayanpatna Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh, the government, police and Peace Committee unitedly took up efforts to stop flow of support, co-operation, moral support and help to the Sangha from outside. The Peace Committee is all along demanding a ban on the CMAS, arrest of its leaders and even their being  hanged to death.

The situation at the time of crop-cutting

Due to attacks unitedly launched on the people by government, police and Peace Committee, their property, crops and families have been destroyed. Angry with such activities of the government agents, the people are searching for new ways to protect themselves. Although a few old men and women in some villages are surrendering due to pressure on them by police, the leaders of the CMAS and the young men and women of the Ghinua brigade are convincing the people not to surrender. They are providing protection to the people and preparing the future course of action. Under the present situation the women along with the old men and women are patrolling in the villages. The people, while going to the crop-fields to cut crops,  have opposed to give half of the crops as share to the landlords. They discarded the advice of the government and police circulated through mike annoucements to leave the lands. When asked about the crop-fields, all the villagers spoke one thing - ''If possible and if we have strength, we will harvest crops. If it is not possible, then we may destroy the crops or they may rot, but we will never give a share of the crops to the landlords. Satisfied after killing comrade Singhana today the landlords and money-lenders are laughing at us and our Sangha, but the day will come tomorrow, when we will laugh''.  With enough courage and confidence, the people are optimistic of their plans and future. They have pledged not to leave the Sangha and property and to protect them even at the cost of their lives despite blood- shed. While getting ready to go for harvesting, they dared the police, "We will see, how many of us will you shoot to death? If needed, we shall shed our lives in the fields." Saying this they remained prepared armed with traditional weapons.

People began to cut crops from December 23. Police force came in large numbers to prevent people from cutting crops.  While one SOG of the police team was killed in the attack on them by the Maoist PLG on December 24, only three were injured. One woman Maoist namely Mangli had become a martyr in the clash. On the other hand, the people of Narayanpatna were united strongly, faced police highhandedness boldly and cut crops amidst prevention from police. They declared through beating of 'dhampa' (a kind of tribal drum) that nobody could extinguish the fire of their fight and took under their possession the crops after cutting them.

Friendly feud (Tribal-dalit dispute)

There were some mistakes in the process of agitation carried out by the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh while going for solving the land dispute. The attitude and dealings of the Sangha towards the exploited non-tribes are considered its principal mistake. Although there are a large number of tribes (Kuis) in the Narayanpatna area under Koraput district, there also live the non-tribes like Brahmin, Kumuti, Sundhi, Paidi and Mali. The people belonging to higher castes like Brahmin, Kumuti and Sundhi living here are privileged people, who have established economic and political sway over other people. Known as mainly hooch traders, contractors and landlords these people are known for exploiting and suppressing the tribes. The people belonging to Paidi and Reli castes of Dalit community earn their livelihood by doing cooli work and small business.  They are also poor people and equally languishing under the supremacy of the high-caste people. But a few Dalits among them are busy in politics by duping the tribes and grabbing their lands. They are deriving maximum benefits out of the government services and welfare schemes. They are developed and involved in anti-people activities.

The Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha could not take necessary steps completely to sort out disputes existing between tribes and non-tribes in the fight for lands in Narayanpatna. The Sangha could not take steps to unite the exploited people among the non-tribes. It also could not destroy the exploiting groups separating them from among the non-tribes. All non-tribes were attacked considering them as anti-tribes and exploiting group. During such attacks on the non-tribes, the poor non-tribal people along with the exploiting group lost their houses and property. Due to attacks on the villages of Podapadar, Egua Gumandi and Digua Gumandi under Narayanpatna block in 2008, all the  families belonging to Paidi caste had to leave their villages for elsewhere. For this reason, the dispute between the exploiter and the exploited turned to be the dispute between the tribes and non-tribes, which provided opportunity to the government, landlords and exploiters to gain advantage over it. The government utilized the dispute prevailing between the tribes and non-tribes and hatched a conspiracy to divide people on this line. The people who had fled away leaving their villages were sheltered in the relief camp in Bhubaneswar with the allurement of jobs and persuaded to be involved in Peace Committee and work against tribes. The misinformation campaign was taken up in the mass media against the Narayanpatna Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh dubbing it as the Sangha of looters and unruly people. The Sangha could, at last, realize the folly, but it was too late then. After identifying its lapses, the Sangha changed its modus operandi and took efforts to bring back the non-tribal exploited people who had fled their villages. It tried to discuss with them about the matter. Each step of the Sangha in this connection was thwarted by the exploiting landlords. These vested interest groups are trying their best not to allow any peaceful solution to the problems. They are also trying not to allow the exploited people to be united. In the aftermath of the police firing on November 20, the Dalit people are being kept in the forefront while launching attacks on the villagers. The government, police and landlords are training guns at the tribes through the Dalits. The situation has come to such a pass that if somebody is shot dead by the police, he or she will be either a tribal or a Dalit. The Dalit people should understand the gimmicks played by the government and the money-lenders and come forward to sort out the problem through discussions with the Sangha. Keeping the greater interests of the people in view, the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha has called upon the exploited tribal and non-tribal people to come closer unite and peacefully sort out the problems they are facing. The Sangha wants the poor people to come back to the villages and lead lives independently. It also earnestly asks the people, both triblas and exploited non-tribes, to unitedly participate in the fight against the exploiters, government and landlords foiling their evil designs.

On divisive attitude persisting in Narayanpatana-Bandhugaon area

After falling prey to exploitation and oppressive designs of landlords, money-lenders and foresters in Narayanpatana area, the tribal people were attracted towards the activities of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh formed in 2004 in their area under the leadership of CPI (ML) Kanhu Sanyal group. They got themselves associated with this Sangha with a hope that their land dispute will be settled by the Sangha. Since then the people actively participated in the agitational programmes like dharna, rally, demonstration and protest meetings launched by the Sangha on various problems. They were almost in the forefront of the fight for increment of wages and carrying ahead the movement against hooch trading. They also carried the fight forward in lawful ways asking the government for granting them rights over land. In the process of fight for fulfillment of demands of the people, Comrade Nachika Linga came to the fore as leader of the people of that area. As the agitational activities grew up slowly, the restriction and oppression over the CMAS also began to grow. In the month of June, 2006, the Sangha leader Nachika Linga along with some other people were arrested by the government and sent to jail for one and half years on the charge of treason.

Despite oppressive measures taken by the government, the people became bolder and flexed their muscles for taking up non-compromising fight, for right over the land.

from its inception Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha had not taken up activities which could have become helpful in providing lands to the exploited people, keeping their aspirations of getting land in the fight against the landlords. Therefore, the people could not get benefits out of the agitation which had started since 2004, nor could their basic land problem be solved. The leadership of the Narayanpatna Sangha took up this matter for discussion with their party (Kanhu Sanyal group) leaders, who advised the Sangha to peacefully sort out the problem, apprehending that the police would attempt to bring down the agitation. But they (the party leaders) did not show the right path to sort out land problems. Moreover, they decided to take part in the elections held to Lok Sabha and State Assembly in April, 2009. They took decision to field 'Arjun', who was leading the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha in Bandhugaon block, as an MLA candidate from Laxmipur constituency. Gananath Patra, the leader of a group of Kanhu Sanyal party, did not like the idea of fighting the election in the Parliamentary vote-politics which is meant to exploit the people. He observed, "the decision of the Communist Party, which is claiming to be a revolutionary party, to go for fighting the election is nothing but cheating the people." On this count, Patra objected to the decision of the party and was expelled from the Party. The expelled Patra and Narayanpatana Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha gave a call to boycott the election. As a result, people of some panchayats in Narayanpatna block, Laxmipur block and Bandhugaon block boycotted the election.  The people of villages of Podapadar, Bhaliaput etc. refrained from voting and sent back the polling parties. Then in June, 2009, thousands of people walked to Narayanpatna and occupied the lands posting red flags there. This had a good impact over the adjoining areas of Narayanpatna.

The impact of occupation of land by tribes was also felt in Bandhugaon area bordering Narayanpatna, where Arjun and Paidamma were taking leadership. Due to this impact, the people of Kerubadi panchayat under Bandhugaon block had boycotted the election violating the instructions of the Bandhugaon Sangha leadership. The people circulated the words that the party hobnobbed with landlords, money-lenders and was cheating the people. They had got themselves associated with the Narayanpatana Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh for settlement of their land problems.

In all the tribal inhabited areas the exploited people are facing the basic problem- the land problem- which can be solved through class-struggle. The Bandhugaon Sangha and its leaders did not give importance to the aspirations of the people. Rather they got in friendly touch with the landlords and tyrannical oppressors thereby protecting them without doing any harm to them. They compromised with the landlords on the land matters. Therefore, the Narayanpatna Sangha spread to Bandhugaon area and the people of Bandhugaon got associated with the Narayanpatna Sangh. Irked over the association of Bandhugaon people with Narayanpatna Sangha, the Bandhugaon Sangha took strong exception to it and tried to disintegrate the unity of the people by widening gaps among the villages. The policy of division and discord came to exist. As a result, scathing attacks were launched on the fight for land at Katukpeta and on the villages of Basiput, Kesubhadra, Jangadibalasa. The exploited tribes were thus embroiled in internal conflict among themselves. The revolutionary forces needed unity to fight against the exploiting groups; but it was not possible. At that time cracks caused by the Bandhugaon Sangha among the exploited people helped the rival class.

The political conflicts appeared in any revolutionary party need to be solved without bringing any harm to the interests of the exploited people. Otherwise, it will appear as problems among the exploited mass and areas. It is unfortunate to divide the fights of the people allowing them to go on different ways. Even the people should desist from the mudslinging match amongst themselves in one organisation and discuss possible solutions. It is very much unfortunate that the Bandhugaon leadership did not accept the request made by the Narayanpatna Sangha to establish unity among themselves. The people realize the opportunistic policy pursued by the inter-squabbling Sangha leaders which is implicitly helping the landlords and their henchmen.

The people seek proper class-struggle to sort out their basic problems. They will choose the right path and participate in the class-struggle. They party, which leads the people assuring them of meeting their needs, is the right revolutionary party and the leaders of that party will go ahead as true revolutionaries.

Is the leadership of Bandhugaon Sangha in favour of the exploited people, considering all this? Or, are they going to serve the purpose of the exploiters? We want to analyze their activities once again. Leaving  the past aside, we now sincerely request them to adopt strategies from today, which will not do any harm to the exploited people.

Red salute to Comrade Singana and Andru for having kept the flame of the Narayanpatna fight burning

The fight is the only way to settle the rights of all the exploited people over land and rights of the tribes and general people over the forests. Comrade Kendruka Singana led the movement of the people against the landlords and their henchmen, who were already frightened by the agitation for acquisition of land. He patiently continued the fight keeping himself in the fore front and became a martyr at the police firing at Narayanpatna on November 20. He was born to a poor tribal (Kui) family 30 years ago in the village of Podapadar. Since his childhood he had seen with his own eyes the exploitation and oppression meted out to their fellow people in his and neighboring villages by the non-tribal exploiter landlords, foresters and money-lenders. He had also experienced all this himself. From childhood with a revolutionary mind he had confronted exploitation.

He took part in the agitational activities taken up by the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha in Narayanpatna in 2004. Since then he moved forward as a belligerent leader among the people. After realizing that people can't achieve their rights unless they are armed, he formed 'Lok Raksha Dal' (Group to protect people) and named it Ghinua brigade and armed the young boys and girls with traditional weapons. He gave leadership to this brigade. He remained in the forefront and encouraged the people to root out enemies of the people through armed fights.

The people had faith in Singana. They gained confidence to achieve victory if their leader Singana was in their midst. They believed that no bullets could do any harm to Comrade Singana, nor could any force do anything to him. From these innocent feelings of the people, the faith they had reposed on him is understandable,

Comrade Nachika Andru was born to a poor tribal (Kui) family in the village of Bhaliaput. The Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha had begun its activities from that village. Since Comrade Nachika Linga was his childhood friend, he also actively worked from his childhood with Andru, who was also a member in the Ghinua brigade. He fell prey to police firing in Narayanpatna on November 20 while participating in the gherao of police station there and became a martyr. He was just 25 when  he died.

Comrade Singana and Comrade Andru became martyrs following the footprints of  thousands of people who had earlier become martyrs in the history of tribes' and exploited people's fight against oppression and exploitation. These two names were added to the long list of martyrs. Let us pledge to keep up the tradition of fight by offering red salutes to those martyrs.

The fight that spread to the Deomali hill range

Encouraged and inspired by the agitation in Narayanpatna over the land issue, the people of Deomali hill range have now come forward to put up a fight against their displacement due to mining activities carried out by the colonial companies at the behest of the government. They are getting ready for fight under the leadership of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha. There are a number of hills in the panchayats of Kotia, Turia and Kanti under Pattangi block in Koraput district. These hills are rich with mineral deposits like bauxite from which the aluminum utensils are made. According to an estimate of the scientists, it is known that 3700 lakh tonnes of bauxite are deposited in these hills. This apart, there exists a range of hills namely 'Panchapati Mahal' in the Semiliguda block of Koraput district, from where  NALCO has been mining bauxite for last 30 years and sending them to Damanjodi.  NALCO has also taken lease of the Deomali hills. On Deomali the company has completed the construction of pucca roads and rest-houses and is ready to mine bauxite any day. The villages located alongside the hills have been notified to be vacated, which has posed a great danger for the villagers. The Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha has instilled confidence into these people to stand up against displacement. The Sangha is preparing these people to fight for their cause. It has formed Deomali Suraksha Samiti (An organisation to protect Deomali) uniting all the exploited people. The Sangha convened an open meeting in April, 2009 and gave a call for fight through this vast gathering, where 12000 people joined. The Sangha called upon the people to fight against the capitalist and colonial forces, who are displacing the tribes for their monetary gains. It asked people to pledge to protect Deomali. The Adivasi Chasi Mulia Sangha is uniting the people on their various problems and with much patience extending help and co-operation to the exploited people. The Sangha has spread its activities to six blocks in Koraput district and is on the path of progress. The government is trying to bring down the agitation with a cruel hand, launched by the tribes with much courage and patience for land, food and freedom. But it has been proved in the history that people always gain victory. With this conviction, the people's fight in Narayanpatna is marching forward.

We sincerely ask the general people including democratic and progressive intelligentsia to continue their support to the agitation launched by the exploited tribes in Narayanpatna.

-1st May, 2010

 

Contact:

Nachika Linga, President

Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh, Narayanpatna

Village-Bhaliaput, PO- Podapadar

Via-Narayanpatna, Dist- Koraput