It has been 13 days since Shri Prafulla Samantara, a prominent environmentalist, writer and socialist thinker of the state, was kidnapped from a hotel in Rayagada town on August 29. Of course, he was subsequently released on same day. Despite all the newspapers and electronic-media clearly indicated that the abductors were the state police themselves, it is neither being investigated by the state government nor it is being ascertained that the state government’s police department is not behind the kidnapping. Such a mafia regime of the state government is an attack on dissent, which the GANATANTRIK ADHIKAAR SURAKSHA SANGATHAN, ODISHA strongly condemns.
In the meantime, 23 villagers have been arrested for opposing the bauxite mining operation of Vedanta-Maitri Company at Sijimali in Kashipur Block of Rayagada district. The people, those who were arrested are mainly Dalits and Adivasis. It has been reported in all the media that on August 29, Shri Prafulla Samantara went to Rayagada Jail, met the arrested villagers of Sijimali in the jail and called for a press conference in this regard. Suddenly he was kidnapped from that place, covering his face, tying his hands behind him, by some abductors. While the identity of those abductors remains unclear in the media reports, the accusing finger has been pointed at state government officials.
Many writers, playwrights, filmmakers, political activists and individuals, like Prafulla Babu, who have been strongly opposing the land grabbing and environmental degradation caused by the corporate houses have also been opposing the state government’s disastrous developmental policy. Kidnappings of Shri Prafulla Samantara and the likes are an attack on the dissent. The repressive attitude of the state government has put many writers and social activists under pressure. There is no doubt that the so called developmental policy of the government will destroy people’s lives, livelihoods, forests, and environment. However, the state government, instead of calling for any debate and the opinion of the people of the state, is unleashing terror, repression, firing and now allegation of kidnapping. This act of the government has made the present and future society completely vulnerable and terrorised.
In this back-drop, we demand before the state government that;
- An inquiry be conducted into the abduction of Shri Prafulla Babu and its report be published in public domain.
- Unconditionally release all the arrested villagers who are opposing mining of bauxite of Vedanta Co. in Kashipur, Niyamgiri and Kodingamali; Hindalco – Aditya Birla Co. in Maliparbat and land acquisition of Jindal Steel Co. in Dhinkia areas.
- Stop repression of those opposing the government’s anti-people mining policy.
Golak Bihari Nath, President
Deb Ranjan, General Secretary
Email : [email protected]