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People Kalinga

People Kalinga

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03/18/2014

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People's Version Of
Kalinganagar Firing
By Independent Media
06 January, 2006
Countercurrents.org

At a protest in Kalinganagar, Orissa,on 2nd January, 2006 the State police opened fire on a
protest by local tribals against the takeover and seizure of their land by a Tata Steel plant.
Sixteen people died on the spot, four more died in the hospital, and a police constable was also
killed in the clash

Based on discussions with the people of Kalinganagar and representatives of Visthapit Virodhi Janamanch, following version of events at Kalinganagar on 2 nd January, 2006 have emerged :

The District Administration has been trying to take over the land for TATA steel for the last few

months after an attempt to start construction on 9 th May, 2005 was foiled by resistance by the
local adibasis, who claimed that they will not vacate the land till their demands are met. From
23rd December, 2005, rumors started flying the district administration and the company may try to
take over the land soon. The message was again conveyed to the administration that such a
move will lead to do or die resistance.

During their annual get together at Chandiya on Jan 1st, the people came to know through a leak
in the administration that the TATAs would initiate Boundary wall construction on the 2nd January,
2006 without taking the consent of the people. The tribals decided to oppose attempt as they
have opposed other attempts earlier.

On 2nd January, 2006 morning, the district administration including the Collector and the SP and
TATA Steel officials reached the site with a bulldozer, and started construction of the boundary
wall. The team was escorted by 12 platoons of armed police armed with sophisticated weapons.

On seeing the beginning of the work, approximately 100 tribals gathered, and a four member
delegation was formed to go and talk to the district officials present at the spot. People say that
the four member delegation went to meet the district administration, and many of the tribals
assembled there followed them at a distance. As per the warning given to the administration,
many of these people were armed with traditional weapons. When the group of tribals reached
the ditch dug to erect the boundary wall, and were about to cross it, they heard the police sound a
whistle, and saw a policeman pull a rope. The people say that after this there were large
explosions in the ditch and two persons fell down dead. There had been no warning and no
indications from the police before this happened.

Simultaneously tear gas, rubber bullet firing and actual firing started. Chaos ensued, with people
running helter and skelter. Even the unarmed local policemen panicked at the firing and the
explosions, and people say that in this panic one or two policemen fell into the boundary wall
ditch and were injured by the tribals in the heat of the moment. On hearing the sound of
explosions and firing, more tribals from the nearby settlements rushed to the site and started
stone pelting and firing arrows inspite of the continuos firing by the police.

The firing was indiscriminate and in all directions, and continued for over an hour. Even people
who were 200-300 meters away were injured. Many people who were trying to escape have bullet

injuries in the back, whereas others who stood and tried to fight back, have been injured in neck
and torso in front. The tribal woman who died was inside her house when see came out to see
what the noise was and was struck by a bullet. As per our information six people (including one
policeman) died on the spot, and another seven died of the injuries. Most shockingly, the
representatives of Visthapan Virodhi Janamanch allege that three adivasies who were lightly
injured and couldn't run away were picked up by the police, and their hands were chopped off by
the police. All three died from loss of blood in the Jajpur hospital. This needs to be confirmed
immediately.

The armed police was armed with sophisticated weapons and the tribals claim that people as far
as 400 meters were felled by bullets. It is also claimed that at least 20 persons are still missing.
Questions raised:

1. Why did administration and Tata Steel decided to carry out boundary wall construction inspite
of being well aware of the tremendous resentment of the local tribals, and inspite of being warned
time and again that they should not try to takeover the land without meeting the demands of the
tribals? And if they still went ahead, what was the purpose of having 12 platoons of armed police
headed by the Collector and the SP at the site? Since when Collectors and SPs attend boundary
wall constructions.The clear inference is that this was to deliberately provoke the restive tribals
and to use the opportunity to teach them a lesson.
2. Inspite of the provocation, the tribal people sent a delegation of four persons to meet and
reason out with district administration on the site. Instead of talking to them, the administration
precipitated the situation through the explosions in the ditch and through firing at the tribals? This
again illustrates that the massacre was pre-planned.
3. What were the explosions in the ditch for the boundary wall? Local people say that these were
landmines which were apparently activated by policemen pulling on a rope? If that is true, this is
an unprecedented level of barbarity where landmines have been used to kill own citizens. This
must be enquired into at the highest level and the truth brought out?

4. The explosions in the ditch precipitated the situation and firing on tribals followed immediately.
No warning was given to the tribals. This is unprecedented and unlawful.

5. Why has government not come out with the figures of the number of rounds fired? This is a normal practice, and we apprehend that the government is trying to hide the number of rounds fired to suppress the scale of firing.

6. Why were policemen armed with sophisticated weapons with high range including automatic
weaponry deputed to the site?
7. What has led to the current situation where strong resentment and anger is present amongst
the displaced tribals? Why was no ameliorative action taken to meet their just demands earlier?

9. Why was Saswat Mishra, the infamous Collector who was involved in Vednata case and who is
known for his pro-industry and anti-tribal stance deputed as Collector in the extremely sensitive
Jajpur district?

The whole massacre seems pre-planned and organized, with certain key persons in the
Government and bureaucracy collaborating with TATA Steel to crush the tribal resistance to
industrialization and displacement. It seems that a clear signal was to be sent to the opponents of
the forced "industrialization" through private capital that no obstacles shall be tolerated.

Resistance Continues Despite Tragedy

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