At A Critical Stage, By Debaranjan Sarangi, 15 March, 2007, published by Countercurrents.org.
The situation in Bastar is at a critical stage, with clashes on 27-28 Feb trying to force land acquisition for Tata’s steel plant. The “manufactured civil war” pursued by Salwa Judum continues with at least 80,000 tribal refugees in what are virtually concentration camps.
The steel plant is planned on 2,000+ hectares of tribal land belonging to 10 villages in Lohandiguda block, near the amazing Chitrakot waterfall on Indravati river. The agreement for the plant was signed between the Chhattisgarh Govt & Tata in June 2005 – precisely the month when Salwa Judum was formed – labelled a “people’s movement against the Naxalites” but actually a police sponsored terror militia forcing the evacuation of one tribal village after another, with refugees pressurized to join Salwa Judum.
On 27 Feb police in the 10 villages to try & force thro land acquisition arrested a number of tribal leaders and were pelted with stones. The next day (28th) a leading non-tribal activist who had come to support the people was hounded out of Bastar. He was slapped in front of the hotel manager where he had stayed in Jagdalpur, who was warned the hotel would be burnt if he put him up again, and all Jagdalpur’s hotelowners have been told not to accept any guests who may be opposing Tata. This activist was then hounded by violent mobs threatening to burn him alive, and also police accusing him of running someone over. There is an ONLINE PETITION TO APPEAL TO CANCEL THE PROJECT. Please sign. This is at Gopetition.com – the petition is called “Protect the property rights of poor tribals” … (full text).