Cancel Jindal Project in Dhinkia, Odisha and Release Prisoners
Cancel Jindal Project in Dhinkia, Odisha and Release Prisoners
Why this petition matters
Hon’ble Draupadi Murmu,
President of India.
We, the following human rights activists, artists, writers, people’s movements, academicians, cultural personalities, and social organizations, would like to bring to your kind notice the oppression let loose by the Government of Odisha on the people of Dhinkia of Odisha since the last 17 years. This is by holding the sword of displacement almost continually over their heads, by harassing them for protesting, by denying them right to peaceful existence and untroubled perusal of their lives which any govt. is duty bound to ensure to citizens. The Odisha Govt. is blatantly violating their democratic and human rights, including making large scale arrests. There is incarceration of local activists in jail on trumped up charges, restrictions on the right of village people to peacefully protest against their threatened displacement while allowing free movement of and threats to local people by goons of companies. The following are a few key points which are elaborated with the facts.
POSCO: In 2005, the South Korean steel-making company POSCO was allowed by the State Govt. (BJD) & Central Government (UPA) - despite the unwillingness of the villagers of Dhinkia and nearby locality - to establish its project by taking over their lands. 200 FIRs and false cases were framed against hundreds of villagers of Dhinkia for the anti POSCO movement. 5 precious lives were lost. The protest lasted more than 8 years and ultimately POSCO backed out. People hoped this would bring back long awaited harmony in that area. Even in the aftermath, the local people remained deeply traumatized, leading even to suicides.
NEXT: The State Government (BJD) allowed another project from a company named Jindal Steel Works (JSW) in 2019. There was even more aggression against the unwillingness of the local people. The worst police action, which the entire world witnessed, was on 14th January 2022. It was broadcast and published in all forms of news all over the world. The visuals were so disturbing that it baffled the entire country. Moreover, the Governments, both the State (BJD) and the Central (BJP/NDA), ignored the anomalies in the Report provided by JSW to the Environmental Ministry and the Ministry approved the Environmental Clearance ignoring those anomalies. In the process of acquiring the land, so far almost 100 police cases have been registered since 2020, 50-60 people arrested and few released later on bail, though the leader of the Jindal-POSCO Pratirodh Committee (JPPC) Mr. Debendra Swain has been kept in prison since Jan. 14th 2022 along with some other protestors. Needless to say that the present invasion on the resources of the local communities is also a blatant violation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), since this law recognizes the rights of the local communities and other forest dwellers.
OUR APPEAL: In this context, we appeal to you to intervene so that the protests of Dhinkia villagers to save their Land, Lives & Livelihoods are considered legitimate and to ensure that the Governments (both Union & State) act immediately. We therefore request you to take the following steps immediately for the welfare of the local people, environment and precious human rights of the local villagers.
1. Cancel the proposed JSW project at Dhinkia.
2. Stop police brutality against the villagers of Dhinkia and targeting of the protestors by all means.
3. Cancel the Forest Clearance given to JSW and return the Forest land to villagers as per Law.
4. Cancel the Environmental Clearance granted in favor of the proposed project.
5. Settle the forest rights of the people in an unbiased manner without hostile environment as per Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006.
6. Provide the legitimate land records to the landless people of Dhinkia.
7. Take strict action against the police officials involved in police brutalities that caused physical & mental trauma to thousands of villagers including children, women and elders.
8. Quash all the false & fabricated cases registered against the villagers starting from protests against POSCO to JSW which are roughly around 300.
9. Release all the protesters including their leader Mr. Debendra Swain from prison.
1. Anand Patwardhan, Film Maker
2. K. Satchidanandan Poet, Writer, Former Secretary, Kendra Sahitya Akademi.
3.. Dr. John Dayal, Journalist, Author & Researcher
4. Binu Mathew, Editor, Countercurrents.org
5. Amudhan RP, Film Maker
6. P. Baburaj, Film Maker
7. Kavita Srivastava, People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)
8. Sunlam, President, Madhya Pradesh Kisan Sangarsh Samiti (MPKSS)
9.Antonella Visintin, Member of Oikotree movement and Glam commission of the Protestant Federation
10. Malini Subramaniam, Independent Journalist
11. Meena Menon, Journalist
12. Meera Sanghamitra
13. National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM)
14. Vijayan M.J, Delhi Solidarity Group
15. Susmit Bose, Musician
16. William Stanley, Oikotree Movement
17. Rev. Dr. Susan E. Davies, United States of America
18. Annie Raja
19. Brinelle Dsouza, Academic and Activist
20. Maj Gen Dr. Sudhir Vombadkare, (Retd)
21. Pervin Jehangir
22. Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Recipient of Goldman Environmental Prize for Asia, Bhubaneswar
23. Srikanta Mohanty, Secretary CPIML, Odisha State Committee
24. Shalini Gera, Advocate, High Court of Chhattisgarh
25. Sonu P. Yadav
26. Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh, Pune.
27. Prakash C.Jha, Independent Researcher
28. K.Padma, Advocate, Visakhapatnam, Andhrapradesh
29. Tara Murali, Architect, Chennai
30. Dr. PM Tony, Director, Social Research and Training Centre, ATC, Namkum, Ranchi
31. Dr. Ram Puniyani, National Solidarity Forum
32. Justice Coalition of Religious - West India
33. Jan Swasthya Abhiyan – Mumbai
34. Aruna Rodrigues, Sunray Harvesters
35. Dr.Suhas Kolhekar,(Maharashtra), National Alliance of People's Movements
37. Dr.Gabriele Dietrich, Pennurimai Iyakkam,T.N. and NAPM
38. Sathish Reginald Samuel, Secretary, ECODAWM
39. Ranjan Solomon
40. Leo Saldanha, Environment Support Group
41. Bijaya k Panda, National Convenor, Bharat Jan Andolan
42. Sadananda Sahu, Advocate and Trade Union Leader, Raurkela, Odisha
43. Dr. B Karthik Navayan, Advocate, High Court for the state of Telangana
44. Lelin Kumar, Writer and Journalist of Janabadi News Weekly .
45. Manu, Researcher
46. Advocate Ansar Indori (National Secratary,NCHRO)
47. Madhumita Dutta, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University, USA
48. Nadita Narain, Delhi University
49. Nisha Biswas, Kolkata
50. Madhuri,Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan
51. Pradip Sahu,CSD , Odisha
52. Biswapriya Kanungo,Adv Odisha
53. Pradip Pradhan, Convenor RTI Odisha State Committee
54. Arundhati Dhuru, National Alliance of People's Movements
55. Dr. Sandeep Pandey, General Secretary, Socialist Party (India)
56. Prof. Anjali Monteiro (Retd.), Film Maker, Researcher, Educator
57. Prof. K.P. Jayashankar (Retd.), Film Maker, Researcher, Educator
58. K.P. Sasi
59. Antony Raju, Bangalore
60. Lalit Vachani, Filmmaker, University of Göttingen
61. Binoy Viswam, Former Forest Minister, Government of Kerala
62. Mani Shankar Aiyar, Former Cabinet Minister
63. Dr Walter Fernandes, Director, North Eastern Social Research Centre
64. Advocate Ansar Indori, NCHRO, New Delhi
65. Sailen Bhattacharya, General Secretary, ECL COLLIERY SHRAMIK UNION
66. Neelima Sharma (Theatre)
67. Shamsul Islam, Author
68. Central Executive Committee, AIKMS.