“In the present, the government has also unleashed undemocratic repression against activists of the Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, with 9 activists getting arrested and abducted by the police and slapped with UAPA. In Mali Parbat, similar land struggle is going on the protect the local Mali as Adivasis fend off state repression at the service of big corporations seeking to grab their lands…” CASR Vehemently Condemns the Brutal Repression on the Adivasi Slum Dwellers of Salia Sahi by the Odisha Police_ Press Statement;
On 22nd November 2023, almost 20,000 slum dwellers of Salia Sahi Slum in Bhubaneswar, Odisha marched to the State Legislative Assembly raising various demands with regards to their land rights in Salia Sahi Slum. Various slum movement activists of Odisha were also part of this march. The protest march by the slum dwellers was ruthlessly crushed by the Odisha police. They detained thousands of those protesters, which also included Jayadev Nayak, the President of Salia Sahi Anchalik Committee, Pramila, Odisha State Secretary of CPI(ML) Red Star, and many other activists of Basti Surakshya Mancha.
They raised demands for the implementation of Forest Rights Act, 2006, which says that the Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers should be given the right to land, livelihood, habitation and other socio-cultural needs. 75% of Salia Sahi slum dwellers are Adivasis and they come under the ambit of “traditional forest dwellers”, of the said act. Also, they opposed the BJD government’s plan to encroach their lands to implement their pro-corporate agendas in the name of road construction and “development”.
It’s also necessary to note that the BJD government has provided land rights to many slum dwellers of Bhubaneswar, under the pressure of the slum movement. But still, Salia Sahi was excluded from that. That’s why, Salia Sahi slum dwellers came to the streets as a result of the intolerable oppression they have been facing for several years due to lack of land rights. In Odisha and in rest of India, lang struggle has become a key factor for Adivasis, with the conflict in Manipur initiating after a decision was passed to give non-hill-dwelling tribes the right to purchase this land along the the residents. In the present, the government has also unleashed undemocratic repression against activists of the Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, with 9 activists getting arrested and abducted by the police and slapped with UAPA.
In Mali Parbat, similar land struggle is going on the protect the local Mali as Adivasis fend off state repression at the service of big corporations seeking to grab their lands. In Sijimali, Odisha, the people gave a resounding response during the public hearing for the Sijimali bauxite block and Vedanta Limited. Outside Odisha, Adivasis in Kaimur, Bihar, of the Kaimur Mukti Morcha, are continuously facing unlawful arrests and detentions as they seek to defend their lands from being grabbed and turned into a tiger reserve and a tourist attraction.
In Damkondawahi, Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, an extension of the Surjagarh movement, repression was unleashed on the leading activists of the Damkondawahi Bachao Sangharsh Samiti in the form of arrests just this week, in a bid to cripple their 250+ day protest against six mining leases given in the region, particularly to Lloyd Metals. From Manipur and Bihar to Jharkhand, Odisha, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, the people are entrenched in a bitter struggle against the corporate-state nexus to protect their lands from being grabbed through brute force and state repression. The Salia Sahi movement is also facing the similar forms of state repression.
CASR severely condemns this brutal repression of the adivasi slum dwellers of Salia Sahi, who were struggling for their land rights. CASR demands the immediate release of all detained persons and a stop to the attempts at land-grab by the government.
Campaign Against State Repression (CASR)
Constituents: (AIRSO, AISA, AISF, APCR, BASF, BSM, Bhim Army, Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, bsCEM, CEM, CRPP, CTF, Disha, DISSC, DSU, DTF, Forum Against Repression Telangana, Fraternity, IAPL, Innocence Network, Karnataka Janashakti, LAA, Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan, Mazdoor Patrika, Morcha Patrika, NAPM, NBS, Nishant Natya Manch, Nowruz, NTUI, People’s Watch, Rihai Manch, Samajwadi Janparishad, Smajwadi Lok Manch, Bahujan Samjavadi Manch, SFI, United Against Hate, United Peace Alliance, WSS, Y4S)