I am Jagnarayan Shah from Village Amelia, Post Karsualal, Tehsil Mada, Districit Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh, and I have been an active member of Mahan Sabgharsh Samiti. Since past four years, Mahan Sangharsh Samiti’s has been fighting to save our jal, jagal, jameen to secure the livelihood. Our constant fight to save our pristine forest has resulted in the de-allocation of the Mahan coal block. MSS has been fighting for over four years to implement the Community Forest Right. Finally the incessant hard work had paid off and Independence day, the Community Forest Right has been passed in Gramshabha with full majority. Henceforth, before using the natural resources for commercial use a prior permission needs to be taken with Gram Sabha. It is an important victory for us and we hope that MSS will continue to work to save our forest and right.
Greetings I am Vivek Goyal, I welcome you to Radio Sangharsh. It seems the whole world is confused about fundamental rights. Democracy is shrinking in India and we saw a great example of it at Delhi international airport on 11 January when the government stopped Greenpeace India senior activist Priya Pillai to fly to London. Let’s listen what Priya says on it.
When I reached the airport, immigration officers stopped me and said you can’t leave country because your name is in the government database. I was going to London because Essar Energy is registered in London. It is same the company which got the second stage clearance for coal mining on basis of forged Gramsabha in Mahan, Madhya Pradesh. I was about to meet members of the parliament in London and talk about these human rights violation. It is a clear violation of human rights especially those who live in Mahan region. I oppose this move. We will continue this fight in any situation, whether the government or any corporate tries to stop us.
So Priya Pillai said it is act of human rights violation. Her passport was stamped with the word “offload” which will be problematic for her in future.
“‘Jangal ham chodab nahi, zameen ham chodab nahi, mahur mati hum chodab nahi.’ We will not leave our forest. Until we are given our community forest right, we will not entertain any other conditions from anyone. Friends, we demand that we get our Community Forest Rights under Forest Rights Act. 2006. Those, who are trying to destroy our forest, should stop now and realize that they are doing wrong. and rather know how to save it.”
You can contact Kamla Singh to know more about the villagers’ struggle in Mahan 8359899684
I am Kripanath Yadav, from village Amelia, post Karsualal, Thana and Tehsil Mahda, Singrauli district, Madhya Pradesh. I am an activist of Mahan Sangharsh Samiti. On September 26, 2014, India’s highest court cancelled all coal block allocations, of which Mahan was also one. For four years now, all of us who are part of Mahan Sangharsh Samiti have been asserting that the allocation of this coal block is invalid and today this has been confirmed. This is a big victory for us. Mahan Sangharsh Samiti, Singrauli congratulates the Supreme Court judge and also convey our gratitude to honorable Prashant Bhushan because he took on the fight for our freedom and won Mahan for us, fluttering a green flag over it. On this occasion, we heartily welcome Prashant Bhushan and R. M.Lodha. Zindabad!
Friends zindabad! My name is Hari Dayal Singh Gond speaking, from Amelia village, post Karsualal. I am a member of Mahan Sangharsh Samiti and I am the head of the Forest Rights Committee. After hearing the Supreme Court verdict, I felt that something good has happened in our life. I completely believe that the truth always wins. The truth can get pressured but it can never be defeated. I am extremely happy and I wish that if in the future the government wants to organize new auctions for the cancelled coal blocks, they must implement the forest rights act is before the same. If that doesn’t happen, our fight will again continue. Zindabad!
SITARAM SHAH (Village-Amelia, Post karsualal, Teshil Mada, Dist- Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh):
“On 20 Sept 2014, Mahan Sangharsh Samiti member Sitalal Shah, Ramlakhan, Ramkumar and Shankar participated in People’s Climate March which was organized by organization 350 India. My objective of coming here was to tell urban people and make them relate to our pain and struggle. Climate Change is directly related with my struggle. Deforestation and GHGs from burning of coal are the main reasons of Climate Change. I appeal to Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he should also attend the UN climate submit along with Environment Minister Prakash Javdekar in New York. We should stop deforestation and start working on saving forests because Climate Change affects millions and many countries. We have already seen climate change effects in Kashmir.
“I am hearing news from radio and newspaper that the central and state government are going to make some changes in some laws like consent of GramSabha, Forest Right Act etc. The reports say that the consent of Gramsabhas would not be required! But if this mandate of taking consent of Gramsabha is cancelled, then there would be bad impact on tribal and non tribals. People would lose their rights and there won’t be any value of villagers as a result. I am requesting the government that the Consent of GramSabha and Forest Right Act should not be cancelled or diluted. It does not matter that how old the law is, if people of this country think that it is right then it is right.”
You can contact Jayprakash at 7389779955
“We have been dependent on the jungle since generations. Therefore, the right to the forests first belongs to the people who live here. I have heard that the government is trying to bring in a new law. According to the new law they wish, to set up a coal mine or an commercial industry, it will not be necessary to get the consent of the villagers. If this law is brought in, it is a violation of our fundamental rights as well as the rights of the people living in the forests. I will not obey this law because it will destroy the livelihoods of the people who depend on the forests and we will all be displaced from our homes. So, this law has to be stopped immediately. I appeal to my friends around the country that this law which the government is trying to impose is wrong because the coal reserves of the country will be destroyed completely because of this.”
You can call Anita at 8718939145 for more details.
JAG NARAYAN SHAH (Amelia village, Thana and Tehsil Mahda, Singrauli district, Madhya Pradesh) :
“I am a Mahan Sangharsh Samiti activist. I am an independent citizen of India. I have heard though newspapers and news that the attempt by the government to dilute the Forest Rights Act and not give the Gram Sabha any importance is being discussed. If it happens, it won’t be necessary to enforce forests rights laws and to obtain consent in the Gram Sabha before allocating coal blocks. This is a violation of the rights of all the people in India! The laws guarantee rights under the Constitution to every person because of which the citizens of the country are able to progress. I want to state that since generations for us the source of livelihood are the forests of Mahan, in which the forest produce is non-taxable. The people for whom the forests are a source of livelihood they have the first right to the forests. It would not be right to carry out any activity in the forests without their consent and it would also be a violation of their rights. To interfere with this, would be a violation of people’s rights.
Before the elections, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that good days are here. But it seems from reports in the newspapers that people who live in forest areas, who have their livelihoods there, it seems like their lives are in danger. This is a violation of the rights of Indian citizens. If rights are violated in this manner, then we will fight to save our rights and our livelihoods ourselves and I appeal to the friends listening to Radio Sangharsh, to try hard to save the livelihoods and daily bread of fellow Indian citizens. Thank you!”
You can reach Jag Narayan for more details at 8359899684
VIRENDRA KR. SINGH (citizen journalist, Singrauli, MP) reporting from Gudhrikholi hamlet, Suhira village -
“Right now all of us, members of Mahan Sangharsh Samiti are in Suhira village, tolah Gudhrikholi. We are discussing the implementation of the Forest Rights Act of 2006 with the people of Gudhrikholi and are demanding that our request be fulfilled.
Besides this, there’s a primary school that’s herei. The teachers are never on time in that school. Till now, there are no teachers present. The children have nothing to do and are roaming around school. According to what the villagers say the school doesn’t even provide proper mid-day meal to children. Please appeal to the district official to improve the situation and make teachers available at the right time. Thank you!
Call Virendra at 8120487266 for more details on the primary school in Gudhrikholi.
Demand positive action from Sri Ramnat Singh [Divisional (Rewa) Joint Director & District Education Officer, M.P.]- Ph.- 07805-234716, Mb-9425927763
Report irregularities in Mid Day Meals to the Govt.
Mr Vijay Vaidh (Project Manager,Mid-day Meal)- 011-23765620 (Ext. 227)
RAMANUJ PANIKA (Amelia village, post Karsua, Thana Mahda, District Singrauli.
“The company is causing a panic situation in our village because of the upcoming Gram Sabha. What do we do? They tell us to participate in the Gram Sabha and vote in favour of them. But, we don’t want to go to their their side, because we need to save our homes and jungle. The local administration is also involved in it and intimidating people so that the Gramsabha could be in favor of company.”
Call Ramanuj for more details on this situation 9753939429
“The work that Mahan Sangharsh Samiti is doing is laudable and I thank Greenpeace for the guidance they gave prior to that. I am with the movement in Singrauli to save the forest in body, mind and spirit. My wish is for the residents of Singrauli to progress. Singrauli has become a coal center and the government of Shivraj Singh has cheated us because when Singrauli had been made a district, they had assured us that your land will not giveaway your lands in cheap rates. But this time in Surya Bhavan when we questioned them, they said besides the company who will care about your land?
Call Bhagwan for more details 7746871173
VIRENDRA KR. SINGH (Citizen Journalist) from SINGRAULI, MADHYA PRADESH:
“More than hundred men and women of Mahan Sangharsh Samiti (MSS) protested and stopped Mahan Coal Ltd (MCL) from numbering trees in the forest. This happened on 23rd June. MSS members told MCL not to come back for numbering trees till the rights of the villagers are enforced.”
Call Virendra @9669653827 to know details on this.
“ I don’t agree to the recent IB report’s statement that Greenpeace is a threat to national economy. I also refute the allegation and that from foreign countries, Greenpeace pours money on the people in grassroots here to arrange protests! Greenpeace works to save the environment and demand protection of people’s rights – both of which are crucial for the planet. I believe that every village in every country needs a Greenpeace!
Mahan Coal Mines wants to start mining in Amelia village. The joint pressure from local administration, law enforcers and the company are making a mockery of every human rights and law possible! That’s why Mahan Sangharsh Samiti and Greenpeace are working together for justice. MSS is working peacefully and legally for implementation of Indian Govt’s 2006-07 Forest Rights Act and Community Forest Right in Mahan. Our constitution gives us this right and fighting for rights can’t be anti-national! Zindabad” – Kripanath is from Amelia village, Dst. Singrauli, M.P.
Akshay’s message to all the people in Mahan regarding the IB report:
Mahan Sangharsh Samiti and Greenpeace, with all of you together, have been fighting to ensure the community forest rights of people dependent on Mahan forest. A few days ago, a govt agency charged Greenpeace with wrong allegations. We are never against development, nor do we take money from foreign countries. Yes, we talk about development with renewable energies, we are funded by Indian supporters. We make the villagers aware of their own rights over the forest. We do talk about a development that is for everyone. Development is not just for the big companies. It should empower everyone with all of their constitutional rights. In the same manner, we demand implementation of the rights of all the people living in Mahan. To undo the forgery of signatures in Gramsabha by govt officials, we demand a fresh Gramsabha conducted in constitutional manner. We demand that you should be given the right to choose what you want! Our rights can’t be killed with the excuse of development in the favor of a company or the country. The allegation they gave on us is we get money from foreign countries to halt development in India. We refute this allegation. To save your forest and to give a safe future to generations to come, more than 3 lakh Indians supports Greenpeace financially. These are the people who are always standing with you in your fight to save Mahan forest. Greenpeace campaigns in many countries and every country it is funded by the very country’s own citizens. We never accept any money from any govt or political party. You must be wondering how our govt agency’s allegations are this unfounded – I would reassure you that, these allegations are signs that our strength of the struggle in our villages have now reached every corner of the county. This is sign that the people who want to snatch our forest are afraid of us now. So they are doing these to suppress our voices. This is the time we need to chant so loud that everyone who wants to snatch our rights and our forest from us, can hear it! – “Jangal hamare aapka, nahin kisike baap ka! Abhi toh ye angraai hain, aage aur ladhai hain”
Jagnarayan Shah, a member of Mahan Sangharsh Samiti with hope of justice from the new government, conveys this message to the Prime Minister, Union Tribal Minister and the Tribal welfare department :
“ I am a resident of Mahaan forest area. The forest is the only source of livelihood of the people residing here. It gives us Mahua, Tendu, Chironji, wood for cooking and supporting village huts, different herbs, medicines etc. making the villagers self-sufficient and with all the resources required for living. But Essar, Hindalco, Mahan Coal Limited and other corporations are trying to snatch it from the people. Bribed local administrators are thrashing villager’s rights everyday. Here, the Community Forest Rights hasn’t been implemented. Social workers and other villagers who try to protect these people’s rights are thrown to jail on the basis fake cases.
We are fighting non-violently to save our forest and we will keep on fighting for it because if it is wiped deforested, we will lose everything.
I appeal to the new Government to make these companies evacuate the forest so that we could live peacefully, ‘jisse hum sabke acche din baney rahen’. And I don’t only hope but believe it strongly that you (the government), keeping in view- the livelihood of the Mahan people, will make the companies leave Mahan. Zindabad!”
Help to bring Acche Din for Mahan, Call to Mr. Jual Oram ( Minister Of Tribal Affairs) 23388482(O), 23381499(O),23070577(FAX), 24625800(FAX)
Dr.Rameshwar Oraon Chairperson (National Commission for Scchedule Tribe) 24635721, 2462462(Fax) 09868180394(R) 011-26119495(R)
Tell this to Your Prime Minister Narendra Modi http://pmindia.nic.in/interact_with_pm.php
Inspiring share from Akshay Gupta about his arrest (along with 3 other activists Vineet, Vijay Shankar and Bechanlal) and the violations of law by the police in Singrauli! Police arrested the four activists without any warrant, didn’t tell what was the reason for the arrest and where they were being taken to! In the morning, Mahendra Singh (Officer in Charge Bandhaura police station) asked Akshay to sign false confessions and when Akshay declined to do so, the police beat him up. Two company people – Vijay Yadav and Arvind Tiwari sat the whole night with the police to file false charges against the activists. Now three activists got bail. Bechanlal didn’t get bail because police hadn’t sent his diary to Jabalpur high court. Akshay says that he doesn’t mind going to the jail again. He says that the time has come to raise the voices of peaceful protest louder, everywhere! “Ladenge, Jitenge”
Jayparakash Kushwaha finds similarities between MOEF minister Veerappa moily with Dhritrastra (a mythological character) in Mahabharata. Dhritarashtra, to make his son Duryodhan the king, sacrificed all his subjects in war. Jayprakash says that Moily is the king of the forest and environment and as a king, his duty is to save his kingdom. But this heartless king (instead of protecting) is killing the rich Mahan forest, the wild animals and people by giving permission to Essar for coal mining. Jayprakash is from vil- Budher, post – Jamghadi, tehsil- sarai, dst- Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh. To know more, contact Jayprakash @ 7389779955
Vivek Goyal (Waidhan, MP) updates us on a recent development in Mahan fight. Mahan Sangharsh Samiti has been fighting for saving Mahan forest and implementation of Forest Right Act 2006 in his area for 3 years now. This is in a crucial phase right now because Environment Minister Veerappa Moily has given second stage clearance to Essar Power; on the other hand Mahan Sangharsh Samiti and the villagers are strongly opposing it. This clearance has been given on the basis of a supposed Gramsabha on 6 March 2013. Around 1125 signatures from this Gramsabha were found forged. Recently newspapers report – District Magistrate M. Salvendran agreed that there were fraud signatures and he said that a fresh gram Sabha would be organized again. Vivek says that Mahan Sangharsh Samiti would do their best in this gramsabha to save Mahan forest and people’s livelihood.
Call Vivek to know more @ 7838034549
Radio Sangharsh is Greenpeace India’s decentralized project that helps the larger world discover stories from the dense forests. By digitizing the voices from grassroots, we hope to facilitate sharing of grassroots people’s life with the environment to the rest of the world. Combining technology with powerful social expressions, Radio Sangharsh aims to create a platform that will provoke and enlarge the debate around the right of indigenous people on forests. Read more...