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Orissa Tribals Take to the Streets against Police Atrocities

 

BHUBANESWAR: Amidst unprecedented security arrangements, hundreds of tribals gathered in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday to warn the state government that it must be ready to face consequences unless it changes policies. Tribals took out a huge rally on Tuesday at Bhubaneswar demanding amendment in land reforms Act and check in mining lease on forest lands.

At joint rally here, the tribals shouted slogans. The posters they were carrying read: "Kana kholi kari suna sarakar. Ama hak, adhikar amaku dia, na deba jabi mariba pai prastuta hua," (Government listen carefully. Give us our rights or be ready to die).The tribals, mostly from southern districts of Koraput and Rayagada, asked the state government to stop police atrocities on the people in the name of curbing Maoist activities. They demanded that the government stop allotment of cultivable and forestlands to industrial houses and said they will continue their land-grabbing spree until their rights were restored. They also demanded inclusion of changes in the Land Act and full rights over forestland.

"This is an integrated, anti-feudal and anti-imperialist movement against land lords, liquor mafia and multi-national companies, who have grabbed everything that belongs to the poor. This rally is a reminder to the government that time is running out," advisor of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS) Gananath Patra said.

Also a member of CPI (ML), Patra said, the CMAS has so far captured 2,000 acres of land from the people and have re-distributed them to the poor and landless tribals in the nine panchayats of the two districts. The movement has already spread its tentacles into Keonjhar, Dhenakanal and Mayurbhanj districts.

"The government has admitted that there are at lest three lakh landless people in the state. But the government still gives away hundreds of acres of land, rich forest and water to the MNCs," Raisun Habuda, a tribal from Narayan Patna block, said.

Times of India, October 21, 2009