CRUEL FACE OF INDUSTRILISATION- KILLING OF SUSHIL LAKRA BY SECURITY STAFF OF OCL AT LAJIBERNA MINES
I bring to the notice of the members that in a tragic incident Sushil Lakra has been killed by the Security Staff of Orissa Cement Ltd., at their Laniberna Mines area. Orissa Cement Ltd., is the same company which was previously known as Dalmia Cement Ltd., and is owned by the Dalmias.
That security guards Orissa Cement Ltd., posted at their Lanjiberna mines area opened fire on Sushil Lakra and assaulted with butt of the rifle to one youth who had gone to attend the nature's call.
That despite complain has been filed by the mother of the deceased Sushil Lakra,police has not arrested any official of the OCL till date appears to be an effort of the Orissa Police to save OCL officials.
That the meeting called by the administration at Tehsil office on 16-12-08 in order to resolve the matter of compensation and other demands. You shall be surprised to note that even in such sensitive matter, Tehsildar and Sub- collector who represents the state preferred to remain absent, proves that they are amongst the lot of most irresponsible and in sensitive officers who have taken the matter very lightly.
However, Addl. Tehsildar who was present gave a patient hearing and acknowledged the receipt of the letter of demand. He has assured to apprise his superior officers and hand over the letter of demand to them.
A Report in the matter titled as Cruel Face of Industrilisation" is attached with few photos.
In solidarity with the tribals of Lanjiberna.
IS THIS THE DEVELOPMENT WE ARE LOOKING FOR?
CRUEL FACE OF INDUSTRILISATION
]SECURITY STAFF OF ORISSA CEMENT LTD KILLS A TRIBAL YOUTH ACTIVIST AT
]LINEANT APPROCH OF THE DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION IN NOT ARRESTING
THE CULPRIT WEALTHY OCL
]TRIBALS DEMAND ARREST OF THE CONCERNED OFFICERS
BACKGROUD:This is a true story of village Lanjiberna where Dalmias have tried to redefine the definition of development. Dalmia Cement Ltd was set up before about fifty years on the lands acquired from the tribals. A visit to the area will tell the truth that that has developed and the destruction of those once proud land owners who gave away their lands to Dalmias in the name of development and also those living in the periphery area. Big day dreams sold before fifty years are blown to pieces. Tribals feels cheated and demoralized. District administration despite having full knowledge of what has happened and is happening appears pigmy before the giant industrial house. The hired musclemen operating in the area works overtime to create divisions amongst the tribal community divide them by luring them to some easy money, liquor and what not. Those who lost the lands, hardly any faces will be found who will be in the list of permanent employment.
Dalmia Cement now changed to Orissa Cement Ltd is a classic example to study the effects of Industrialization and redefine the magic word "DEVELOPMENT" which is used by champions of development who mostly write one sided story without even trying to study the realities. Large areas of unused land still lies in possession of the Dalmias despite they do not require even after fifty years of possessing the same. It is time to take a stock of the situation at Rajgangpur and nearby mining to show to the world hard realities. I present the recent incident of cold blooded murder of a tribal activist youth by the security staff of the Orissa Cement Ltd., owned by the Dalmias.
Tragic Incident: Sushil Lakra aged about 22 years got killed by live bullets fired on him by the security staff of Orissa Cement Ltd just few days back. In critical condition he was taken to the city's best hospital at Rourkela where after some treatment, was referred to Cuttack where on way, breathed his last near Angul and finally cremated on 11-12-2008 at Lanjiberna.
Realities :There is tension in the entire area at the loss of their beloved Sushil Lakra at the hands of Orissa Cement Ltd., (In short OCL) more particularly as the deceased used to raise the voice of protest against management of OCL, be it the matter of construction of 12 KM long over head conveyor belting system o illegally acquired lands in blunt violation of the Panchayat Extension of Scheduled Areas Act, 1996; and matters pertaining to the repairs of roads; Environmental pollution; disturbances caused due to ill-timed blasting at mines; high handed biased attitude of the management; neglect in providing employment; exploiting tribals as cheaply paid contract workers, Non compliance of the payment of wages as fixed by the Cement Wage Board, Sushil used to lead with few others. This was not to the taste of the OCL management and was illegally sent to jail on falsely created cases on the baseless complains. Serious doubts are raised that Sushil Lakra has fallen victim to a well knit conspiracy woven by the management of OCL to get rid of him and to create terror in the minds of the villagers to give them a message either to keep quiet and suffer silently or else shall be treated similarly, as they have treated Sushil Lakra.
LINIENT DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION: It is specifically stated that the role of the district administration is extremely lenient towards the industrial corporations. Despite causing huge pollution in the entire area, no action is taken. Many Sponge Iron plants and crasher units are the biggest defaulters of the pollution norms but are allowed to run throwing villagers to suffer. Many antisocial elements have made Sundergarh and nearby districts their play ground. Is this the definition of development where there are ruins and chaos is in store for the tribals?
SHAMELESS FACE OF OCL MANAGEMENT: Even after the death of Sushil Lakra, there is no respite. The delay in handing over the body of the deceased was due to the way shameless OCL tried to bargain on the compensation amount. Cruel face of the OCL was unveiled when they announced one lakh as the compensation to be paid to the family of the deceased. On it being out rightly rejected by the villagers, it took several hours for the OCL management to announce Rs. 1.2 Lakhs. This made the villagers angry and made it clear that nothing less than Rs. 20 Lakhs shall be accepted. It took hours but was not able to decide what to do and when it was almost getting dark in the late evening hours, they agreed to the sub collector's proposal to pay Rs.3.5 Lakhs. Villagers were totally exhausted as without food and even drinking water, whole day was lost, flatly rejected it. On an assurance that at a meeting at the Tehsil office on 16-12-2008 at about 2.15 PM, the matter shall be taken up to resolve the deadlock.
On the assurance of the administration, burial of the deceased Sushil Lakra was done by the villagers with full respect and honour performing the religious rituals at about 1 A.M., on 11.12.2008. Battery of high officials of the district was also preset at the scene. Few of them are Mr. K.V Rao, ASP;Mr. G.C. Tripathy, SDOP- Panposh; Mr. Bimalendu Roy, Sub-Collector Sundergarh; Tehsildar Rajgangpur Tehsil, Inspector in Charge, Rajgangpur PS. Their presence till the burial was not over speaks of the undue administrative pressure exercised on the villagers to favour OCL.
NEGATIVE ATTITUDE OF RAJGANGPUR TEHSILDAR: About 300 villagers and many social activists had gathered at the premises of the Tehsil office to take part in the meeting called by the administration to resolve the matters of compensation and other demands. It is shocking to know that nor the Tehsildar nor the Sub Collector preferred to be present and avoided even in a sensitive matter like this. Any one con imagine how difficult it is to cool the tempers of the already tense villagers who are feeling continuously neglected. This not only exposes the double standard of the officials who have shown that they are not only irresponsible and but are insensitive too. Additional Tehsildar who was present expressed his helplessness to do any thing except receive our letter of demand and to listen to us. Even the OCL officials also came quite late raises the doubt that those players were playing their role as pre planed by them.
Addl. Tehsildar informed to us that a settlement has been arrived at Rs. 3.5 Lakhs which was loudly refuted by the villagers. He acknowledged the receipt of the letter of demand and listened with patience. He assured that he shall apprise his superiors of the development and hand over the letter of demand to them. The next meeting is requested to be held at the village Lanjiberna in public after first week of January, 2009.
Demands of the villagers:
Compensation of Rs. 20 Lakhs be paid to the father of the deceased Sushil Lakra
Permanent employment to one member of the family.
CBI inquiry be ordered in to the matter.
Immediate arrest of the officials of the OCL Director Mr. V.P .Sood, Security in Charge Mr. Prabhakar and others u/s 302 of IPC and other sections as applicable.
Ordering an inquiry in to the matter of construction of 12 KM overhead conveyor belting on the lands acquired without obtaining the approval of the Gram Sabha, as is mandatory under the PESA Act.
Making a police inquiry in to the biodata of the security staff, since most of them are from outside the area, and are behaving as Gundas. There is apprehension that Gundas have been hired to terrorize tribals who are operating in the uniform of security staff.
Repossessing the large areas of unused land back from the OCL that remains unused even after about 50 years of acquisition.
Instructing police not to harass poor people and treat them respectfully.
The meetings be called in open to maintain complete transparency involving the villagers at large in the decision making process, since the father of the deceased informed the Tehsildar that after he has been killed, his son has become the son of the tribal community and any decision that will be taken will be taken in consultation with them.
At a condolence meeting, organized by the villagers at Lanjiberna was attended by local area MLA Mr. Gregory Minz, Ragunathpali MLA Mr. Halu Mundari, Pravin Patel Director, Tribal Welfare Society, and many local officials and members from the Sundergarh District Branch of TWS, Paskal Barla, Bandhna Toppo, Reeva Panna, Jubloon, Bhimsen Kujur, Family of the deceased Sushil Lakra and activists from Khandadhar and other areas also took part and assured villagers to work with them in their struggle for justice. Latter a memorial was created by erecting a stone at a place with full rituals of the Oraon tribe. Police party in large numbers were also on lookers to what was going on.