Posts by Arvind Shivakumar

Arvind Shivakumar is a Tech enthusiast interested in bridging the digital divided in India

Unfiltered Account of Arrest of Activists in Mahan

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VIVEK GOYAL (tehsil. Waidhan, dst. Singrauli, MadhyaPradesh)

“Hello friends! My name is Vivek and I am speaking from Waidhan, Singrauli district. Today in our own country it has become a crime to fight for one’s rights. For the past 3 years Mahan Sangharsh Samiti and Greenpeace has been fighting for their forest rights in the forest region of Mahan.

At midnight on July 30, 2014 police again raided the Greenpeace guesthouse and arrested two activists- Rahul Gupta and Akshay Gupta. They also searched all the rooms in the guesthouse. When I spoke to them they said that these kinds of activities must be halted immediately because it is against the government. I felt as if I had gone back in time – two months back. Everything was happening just as it had happened before. The only thing that had changed was the date. I question, why all this is happening. Is it a crime today to save forests? Is it a crime to save our homes?

We met our colleagues after about 10 hours. Till then the police had not told us the charges for which they were arrested. In the evening around 3:30 we found out that they had registered cases under IPC Sections 353, 186, 294, 507 and 34 against them. These incidents call democracy into question and cause harm to our fundamental rights. I oppose this strongly and demand that our colleagues be released quickly.

Right now, all our colleagues are in jail and are awaiting justice in what’s referred to as a temple of democracy!”

First Hand Account of Arrest of Greenpeace activist at Waidhan, Madhya Pradesh – 1

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- Sushmita Chatterjee. Volunteer, Waidhan, Madhya Pradesh

“Hi! This is Sushmita Chatterjee from Greenpeace Pune. I have been working for this past one year as a fundraiser and I have been sent to Mahan for the past one week. I am here as a volunteer and since the very first day that I am here I have been seeing that a lot of issues are coming up regarding the upcoming Gram Sabha. Every day whenever Greenpeace is trying to go and talk to the people-the villagers, some or the other situation comes up by the people, by the company people or the police and they are trying their best to isolate us from the villagers. Yesterday the police came to the village and tried seizing the mobile boosters and solar panels saying that there were threats and it is military frequencies that we were activating there. So after such false allegations and harassing us for the entire day we finally come back to the guest house and by midnight the police comes to our guest house very quietly. A bunch of some 11 policemen were there including two lady police. They come and they search the entire house without a search warrant. As we all know this has happened before with Akshay. Akshay, Rahul Gupta- he is a volunteer and Vivek Goyal another colleague of mine, the three of them were taken downstairs and a lot of interrogation goes on. A lot of abuses were heard as well by the policemen to our colleagues and we kept a watch through the window from our room. Finally Akshey and Rahul were arrested by 1-1:30 am. It was not legal of them to come without a search warrant or an arrest warrant that too at midnight. Last time when Akshay got arrested it was around 12 again that he got arrested and the report says that he was arrested morning 7 am which is false. I am very scared what all false allegations they are going to put up this time. I am very scared very worried for them. We don’t know, we still don’t know what charges they are going to fake. We’re trying our best here. And each and every day I am just losing more and more trust on this system, on these people and how they are isolating us from the entire villages.”

 

First Hand Account of Arrest of Greenpeace activist at Waidhan, Madhya Pradesh – 2

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- Krishika Raina, Volunteer, Waidhan, Madhya Pradesh

Hi! I am Krishika Raina. I work with Greenpeace India Pune office. I am in Waidhan, Singrauli, MP as a Greenpeace volunteer. This is my first visit here and it has been a wonderful experience to know in detail about the work going on here. But yesterday, 29th July, 2014 was an exceptional day. I witnessed the arrest of Greenpeace activists. I had read about the previous arrests which happened in May but actually witnessing it was really scary. Even though we were anticipating the arrest it was still unnerving when it actually happened. We were given proper briefing and instructions for any situation that would happen but still we were not prepared well enough. I was asleep and suddenly, I was woken up by the commotion that was happening in the living room. When I went to check, I saw 10-12 policemen including two policewomen entering and inspecting the guesthouse at around 12 midnight. We had heard rumours that the entire team would be arrested so it was scary to actually face it. This was my first police inquiry of sorts. But only Akshay and Rahul were taken arrested. At that moment I had mixed feelings. I was kind of relieved that not everyone was taken. I was sad that two of my teammates were taken. But the feeling that dominated all was that of anger. That they were arrested on false charges and I could do nothing about it. I am using this medium, not only to talk about people being arrested for false charges but also to make people realise that it is high time to do something about it, not just to save our forests but also to protect the basic rights of the forest dwellers which are not being given to them by the administration. I also feel proud to be here and to be part of the battle and witness the struggles the people living here go through. To just so that we all can survive. I will definitely go back and mobilise more and more people about this. Thank you! Zindabad!

Brokers taking Mahan Coal Ltd. CEO Ramakant Tiwari’s name to give life threats to villagers

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SETLAL YADAV (Village Amelia, Post Karsualal, Tehsil Mada, Dist- Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh)

“Yesterday, Shivprasad Yadav threatened to kill me. Today another one, Bhola Singh stopped me in front of Dasrath Yadav’s house (Lalchand Sahu was present there) and told, ‘Your life is in danger, why didn’t you give your signature to Ramakant Tiwari?’ I told him that’s because I want to save my land and the forest. Yet again, I got death threat from him. I request the listeners of Radio Sangharsh to take this issue to administration and help save the lives of people like me under threat.”

* fyi-1. Ramakant Tiwari – CEO of Mahan Coal Ltd. (MCL)
* fyi-2. Bhola Singh and Shivprasad Yadav are known in the villages as brokers of the ‘company’

Now, call/mail to report this to the District Magistrate M Salvendran and demand an action against people giving threats to the villagers for not giving their lands to MCL. Phone : 09425821181, 07805234541, 07805244110. email : dmsingrauli@mp.gov.in

Bandhaura Police Station – exemplifies undemocratic process!

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Want to file a complaint to the Police? Ask for Essar Security Guards’ permission.

Essar’s thermal power plant project in Singrauli evoked resistance from the people who want to save their forest and livelihood. Thousands of people got displaced and there are plans to displace more. All the people who didn’t get anything that were promised to them before they had been displaced, want to file complaints at the police station. Now, the Bandhaura Police Station (tehsil – Waidhan) is inside the Essar Company compound! Its easy to understand who do the police listen to in this case. If any villager wants to go to the Police Station, s/he has to take permission from Essar’s security guards – otherwise, the police station is inaccessible for people. Vivek (reporting this) asks what kind of ‘democracy’ is this where people don’t even have independence to meet the police without a company’s interference?

You can contact Vivek at 8966002527

“Our fight gets stronger now!” – Mahan Sangharsh Samiti

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Undefeated and fearless Mahan Sangharsh Samiti (MSS)’s meets in Bandhaura, since the Govt gave stage-2 clearance to Essar for mining coal there. The people in the meeting, together, emphasized two points : 1. Now on, they will not accept the ministry’s decisions (as Govt broke its own Forest Rights Act for corporate benefit, betraying the people in Mahan); 2. MSS will keep on fighting till they save Mahan forest and the people’s livelihood there. Some company agents tried to disrupt the meeting, but seeing the strong opposition from all the villagers present, they did a disappearing act! – Vivek Goyal reporting from Bandhaura village, Singrauli.

Forest Rights Act & Land Acquisition Act being violated in Singrauli, MP

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Virendra Singh from Village Amelia,Tehsil Mada,Dist.- Singrauli,MP is speaking about how Forest Rights Act 2006 and Land Acquisition Act 2011 is being violated in his village. He says Essar Power wants to ruin their forest and livelihood  with the help of government. He is demanding the implementation of Forest Rights Act and land acquisition Act in his village.

For more details contact Virendra Singh - 8120487266

Lands are Being Forcefully Acquired by Companies

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Kanti Khaiwar from (Village Amelia, Tehsil Mada, Dist.Singrauli-MP) is speaking about how the companies in their region wants to forcefully acquire their land and  forest. Generations will be affected by the companies action. She doesn’t want to give her forest and land & demands that her right be protected.

Story of the displaced in Singrauli – their horrible living conditions

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Babulal Singh is a displaced. He says that the Company displaced people from his village Khairahi and sent to Naguan.  In Naguan, they are left with impossible living conditions. People don’t get any basic facility like education, electricity, water, hospital etc. They go to Waidhan (that’s 33 km away) for medicines. Even after this, the Company is trying to displace them again. – Madhyapradesh.

Empowering women is the foremost necessity

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Chamanlal, working for empowering women from his community for 10 years, tells us about the current state of women in Jharkhand. Providing equal opportunity to women is a necessity for every aspect of societal development. Our society couldn’t do this yet. Rampant male dominancy cause women suffer from – lack of opportunity to study, not having names in legal land documents, domestic violence, dowry, foeticide, gender discrimination and poverty. This needs to be stopped. The first step, Chamanlal suggests, is to make widespread celebration of International Women’s Day, spread awareness by reaching to them with information about women’s rights, legal help & procedures to stop any atrocity they face in any form.

Chamanlal is from Navadi region in Bokaro district, Jharkhand.

Mahan Sangharsh Samiti Stand’s In Protest – Reports Akshey Gupta

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Akshay Gupta, from Singrauli, talks about a protest done by members of MSS & Greenpeace on 22nd January 2014 against Essar HQ in Mumbai. They put up a huge 72-feet banner which read ‘We Kill Forests. Essar.’ It also had images of Veerappa Moily  & PM, Manmohan Singh. There was also a similar protest in London. This was an appeal to stop the mining of coal in Mahan forest. Lots of people’s livelihood depends on this forest. It’s against the law to continue with mining without adhering to the Forests Rights Act.

Krupa Nath, one of the members of MSS said, “It is a historic day for all of us here. Essar is encroaching upon our homes in Mahan forest and its corporate bigwigs want to rob us of our livelihood in order to make quick money for themselves. We have travelled 2,000 kilometres to their head office in Mumbai to send them a strong message that our voices cannot be silenced.”

He talks about the protest being successful. The company was forced to listen to their demands.

 

Govt’s neglect to Birhor Tribe

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J.M. Rangeela (District Bokaro, Jharkhand) is reporting about the bad condition of the houses and Govt neglect towards the Birhor tribal community living in village Dongri, Bihar (Block Gomia, District Bokaro, Jharkhand). There are 89 people from 21 families are living there. Their homes are in very shabby condition which can collapse any time. Governments is said have spent lakhs for improving tribal people’s lives, but here, there is no sign of welfare currently. Government built their house in 1989-90 but now their homes are in such bad conditions that they can collapse anytime. They are also not getting full ration, at least 2 Kgs less rice than what they are supposed to get from Govt. Lakhan Mahato, President of Kishan Sabha and secretory Vijay Mahato have informed the block offices about these issues, but government official looks busy in other work nobody seems to have any concerns or time for the Birhor people. The people are demanding that the Govt need to build new houses for the Birhor tribe and support other rightful facilities for them.

You can contact J.M Rangeela for more details– 8877185940

Patwari sells People’s Lands without their Permission to Company

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Women protested against coal mining company’s people when the company’s people came to map people’s agricultural lands in village Budher (Singrauli, M.P) without any prior notice.  Anita Kushwaha (from Budher) with others, told the company people that they won’t let company measure their lands and forests. Shukla (a Company Person) replied, that these lands have been sold by Patwari Rambhajan Saket to company so this land doesn’t belongs to villagers anymore. Anita asks, “how can patwari sell people’s lands without their permission?”

Women told company’s people that they will not allow the company’s people to map their lands in any condition, but company’s people forcefully started mapping. Ramratan’s wife tried to stop them. They even threatened to arrest the women. Deepchand from Amelia asked them, “how can the company work while Code of Conduct applied in this area?’. When the company people answered that for Govt work, code of conduct was not applicable, Deepchand demanded that the patwaari must show his land register & credit book for this village. Conveniently,they told Deepchand that they couldn’t give it because code of conduct was applied in this area.

For further details, please call Anita – 08718939145
Call the District Magistrate M. Selvendran and demand an end to this corruption at – 09425821181

“Prakriti humse naraaz hain…”

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V.K Verma from Giridi (Jharkhand) recites a poem on the importance of protecting nature and how our neglect to nature creates disasters and destruction.

प्रकृति हमसे नाराज है

देख कर भी उत्तराखंड जैसी तबाही,
इसका शिकार हुए लोग जब दी गयी इसकी गवाही,
पर फिर बात क्यों नहीं आयी समझ में हमारी,
कि जैसा स्तिथि कल था वो नहीं आज है,
क्योंकि ऐसा लगता है,
जैसे प्रकृति हमसे नाराज़ है,
प्रकृति हमसे नाराज है,
क्यों नहीं सोचते है लोग,
इसके समाधान के बारे में,
पता नहीं कैसा हमारा समाज है,
हमें पता है जब,
जैसी स्तिथि कल था वो नहीं आज है,
क्योंकि
प्रकृति हमसे नाराज़ है,
प्रकृति हमसे नाराज़ है,
देख रहे है सामने हम भयंकर सूखा,
ये अहसाह तब होगा,
जब पूरा परिवार सोयेगा भूखा,
फिर भी लोग अनजान बने हुए है,
जैसे कोई राग है,
जैसे कोइ राग है,
तनिक भी नहीं सोचते है,
अपने बारे में,
कि कैसा हमारा साम्राज्य है,
और भी पता नहीं क्या हो सकता है
क्या नहीं हो सकता है,
जब प्रकृति ही हमसे नाराज है,
प्रकृति ही हमसे नाराज है,
चलो चल कर प्रकृति को मानाने का प्रयास करें,
उसके दुःख दर्द और गमो का एहसास करें,
हमें पता है जब
कि पेड़ पौधे लगन और उसकी रक्षा करना ही
प्रकृति को मानाने के आगाज है,
पर भी हमें क्यों समझ में नहीं आता
कि जैसी स्तिथि कल था वो नहीं आज है,
चलो चल कर मनाएं
जब हमारी प्रकृति हमसे नाराज है
प्रकृति हमसे नाराज है
इससे आगे मई क्या कहूं
मेरे पास नहीं अल्फाज़ है
नहीं अल्फाज़ है,

Reliance Power hasn’t paid Ramadin his wages

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Ramadin Yadav from village Amelia was working under contract at Reliance Power. For the last four months, he didn’t get his wages from the company. He is requesting the District magistrate for justice.

For more details, contact Ramadin at 09575844833

Van Bachao Andolan’ in Jharkhand

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Because of human’s exploitation of the nature, we are now facing various environmental problem and natural calamities. To keep nature restored, five common men became symbol of change by running a unique awareness campaign, “Van Bachao Andolan”, in district Bokaro, Jharkhand, for the past one and half years. Coming from different professions, these ‘pandavas’, on every Sunday, choosing one village each week, organize an awareness camp, where they make villagers understand the importance of nature & forest, then initiate building a “Van Bachao Committee” in the village to secure the ‘Jal – Jungle – Jameen’. So far, they have reached more than 12 villages.

One of them, Chandramohan Mahto told to Radio Sangharsh that the villagers understand the issue and support them. Wherever they had organised sessions, people stopped cutting trees in the forests. But, this initiative is not getting any support from forest department and district administration.

For more information you can contact J.M. Rangeela (reporting the story) – +91 8002242808
To support Van Bachao Andolan, you can call the DC – Umashankar Prasad Singh -9431160001 and DFO – + 91 9431142829.

 

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I will not give the forest to companies – Devidayal

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Devidayal Saket (Pokhriyatola, Vil. Amelia, Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh) is fighting for saving the Mahan forest and his livelihood over three year now. He says that he will not give the forest to companies for coal mining. Mahan forest has rich biodiversity with many animals. People live off medicinal plants, herbs, vegetables, fruits from it. They sell tendu, mushroom etc.found in the forest. For more information, call interviewer Virendra Singh (Mahan Sangharsh Samiti) – 8120487266

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