| Picket in Birmingham, England on 10th July 09 to stop state terror in Lalgarh (Bengal)
On 18 June 2009, in a massive operation, the central government of India rushed 6 companies of Border Security Force (BSF) and 4 teams of CoBra special security force to Lalgarh, in West Midnapore region of the West Bengal state of India, in a massive operation against the local tribal populations. Why? Because they protested against the state facilitated corporate land-grab for one of the notorious Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
Since the mid nineties when the Indian government launched its economic liberalization programme following �globalization�, it has seized thousands of acres of land uprooting tribals, dalits, small farmers and landless farm workers (by one estimate affecting approximately 250 million) and handed it over to the transnational corporations - Indian and foreign. The Indian state created SEZs where industries are exempted from labour and environmental laws, bestowed complete tax exemption and are constitutionally to be treated as foreign territories on Indian soil, come fully equipped with the special courts to serve purposes of the corporations.
Campaign Against Land Grab and Forced Displacement of People & Indian Workers Association (GB) Call PICKET STOP STATE TERROR IN LALGARH
FRIDAY 10 July 2009 at 4.00 pm
1 The Spencers, 20 Augusta St, Jewellery Quater, Hockley Birmingham, B18 6JL
Discontent among the largely neglected tribal population started mounting since the state government of West Bengal seized 5000 acres of land for an SEZ in Salboni, West Midnapore district which includes Lalgarh, to be handed over to Jindal Steel Works, a leading Indian multinational steel company with interests in India and outside, including Bolivia. On 2nd November last year when the Chief Minister of West Bengal and the central minister for mining were returning from the inauguration of the Jindal Steel Works in the SEZ, a landmine explosion occurred targeting the ministerial convoy.
Instead of investigating the mine blast, on 5 November 2008 the state government began a massive police operation against the people of the region - arresting them indiscriminately, torturing, raping and killing many. None of this is unusual. Tribals have mostly been ignored by the policy makers, kept safely hidden from the public discourse to be exploited or persecuted when they try to stand up against their exploitation.
What is different is that this time the people of Lalgarh said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. They gathered at the police station where three school boys had been detained and demanded:
1. Unconditional apology from the superintendent of police for the indiscriminate arrests, torture, rape and illegal detention of the people.
2. Apology from the policemen involved in the operations.
3. Compensation for those injured and families of the dead.
4. All negotiations be held in public and not behind closed doors.
Their demands have met with support from a wide area to the point where 1000 sq. acres has been bounded off and the area is expanding. The Indian state has labelled this is an attempt to create a �liberated zone� and has lately sent a massive special security force to suppress the people.
YOU DECIDE � ARE THE DEMANDS OF THE PEOPLE OF LALGARH JUST?
In South Asia people have spoken. Some are with the state or fence-sitting - supporting the state with their silence, and others with the people of Lalgarh supporting their struggle for economic and social justice.
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