BAIJU SINGH GOND (Amelia village, Karsualal post, Tehsil Mahda, Madhya Pradesh) - interview by HIRAMANI SINGH
“The company people come to us and say, “Drink liquor, eat chicken and switch to our side in the Gram Sabha.” We don’t want to side with them in the Gram Sabha. We want to save our jungle and our land. We want a separate Gram Sabha.”
People from company coming to villages in group of four and distribute liquor and chicken to some, clothes and saris to others – this cannot continue. I appeal to the listeners of Radio Sangharsh to spread this message.”
For more detail on this call, contact Hiramani at 8359899684
KAMLAJI SINGH (Amelia village, Karsua post, Singrauli district, Madhya Pradesh)
“We are residents of this village for generations. Our jungles and lands are forcefully being taken away from us. Our various sources of livelihoods are being snatched by the company.
Friends of the revolution, I request you to help us receive the community forest rights that we can claim under the declaration of the Forest Rights Act of 2006. Please help us get our rights. Thank you!
Ram Vichare Jaiswal (from Amelia village, Singrauli district, Madhya Pradesh)
“Coal mines have come to our Amelia village. The officials of these coal mining companies trouble us coming to our house and repeatedly harassing us by telling we must ensure that they win the Gram Sabha. They knock on our doors at in times like 11pm and 1 am at night. Friends! Please help us. Thank you!”
Call Ram Vichare to know more details on the company harassing villagers – 9752527157
Vijay Shankar Singh (from Amelia village, Karsualal post, Thana Tehsil Mahda, Singrauli district, MP)
“I want to give this message through Radio Sangharsh that the Gram Sabha that was held on March 6, 2013 in a wrong and forged manner, be declared invalid. A new Gram Sabha should be held again in the presence of district judge or such higher administrators, so that we villagers can independently and peacefully put forth our matters. It needs to be ensured that there is no pressure on the villagers during this.
I appeal to all my friends of Radio Sangharsh that the forged Gram Sabha be declared invalid and those who carried out the forgeries be handed out strict punishments. Thank you. Zindabad!”
Call Vijay to know more about the last gram saha and the situation now, 8435637872
BRIJESH KUMAR PANIKA (Amelia village, post Karsua, Singrauli district, Madhya Pradesh)
“People from the company come to us in groups of 3-4, and they tell us to participate in the gram sabha. They tell us that they will give us money, clothes and later, when the coal mines open, they will give us jobs.
I do not want to go to their side! There is no benefit for me by taking their side. I do not want to give them my jungle and land to them. I do not want to give them the source of my daily bread. I do not want to work with them. I want to subsist on my jungle and land. I appeal to Radio Sangharsh listeners to help solve my problem.”
HIRAMANI SINGH GOND (village Amelia, Post Karsua, Thana Mahda, District Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh)-
“The company people told in the village yesterday that that they would distribute saris (worth Rs. 1000 each) to the women and in return they want us to vote for them in the Gram Sabha. They asked us to use the company for our benefit. I appeal to Radio Sangharsh listeners to listen to my Gram Sabha related problem. To win the Gram Sabha they are giving away saris and cash. Today also, they told a widow to collect her widow’s pension and she refused to accept it. Friends- Zindabad! “
Call Hiramani to know more details on this at 9753148162
“Before the gramsabha, the Company is harassing us poor villagers. They are distributing liquor and showing money to the people for getting them on company’s side in the upcoming Gramsabha. But, I won’t go to their side! I appeal to the listeners of Radio Sangharsh, help us during these troubled times.”
Call Nandau at +919753939429 to know more about such glorious efforts by the ‘company’.
BHOLA YADAV (Amelia village, Singrauli, MP) interviewd by Virendra Singh on how he was ill treated at the village health camp by Mahan Coal Ltd.
“I went to the health camp today. I got checked by the doctor and told him I had a headache. He gave me a syrup and medicines for the headache, and kept the prescription with him. So I told him to give me the prescription but he said that the prescription is filed there itself. I asked him to answer me if the prescription stays with the patient or the doctor. He told me – ‘No! The prescription stays in the office’. So, I said – ‘okay! No problem, Sir! Thank you’.
On the other hand, I also wanted someone in my family to get operated on for appendicitis. I spoke to Vijay Yadav sir to try and get some support from the company and he said – ‘First help me win the Gram Sabha and then your task will be successful’. When we have illnesses now we are told that we should help them win the Gram Sabha and only then will they listen to us. But this is against the law.
“I am Priya Pillai, a Mahan Sangharsh Samiti worker speaking from Singrauli district’s Mahan area. You might be surprised to know that fictitious letters are being circulated in my name among people and the media. I am not connected in any way with these letters. These false letters are notifying the people and the administration that if the Rakhi festival celebration is not successful, then violence should be employed. This is while Greenpeace and Mahan Sangharsh Samiti don’t believe in violence of any kind. It’s evident from these kinds of incidents that the company is running scared and have stopped down to dirty tactics which is deplorable. We have filed a case in the police station against this and demand that the people involved in this be punished in the strictest manner possible. Zindabad!”
“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!”
“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.”
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!
“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 : firstname.lastname@example.org
Jagnaryan Shah (Village Amelia, Post Karsualal, Tehsil Mada, Dist- Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh).
From 17 July 2014, the Company and Government are jointly distributing notice regarding the Mahua trees in the forest. In the name of this notice, Govt officials – Patwari, RI and Forest Munshi are luring the people. This notice says, ‘you collect produces from Mahua trees which are now under the area allocated to Mahan Coal Ltd. So, we declare xyz number of Mahua trees in your name as compensation.’ Tehsildar had sent this notice to us stating anyone having objections regarding this would need to raise so by 26 July.
So, today being 26th July, 575 villagers gathered at the Community Hall to submit memorandum of their opposition to this notice to the Govt officials. The 575 of us strongly opposed the notice and said, ‘because the Community Forest Rights hasn’t yet been implemented for people in Mahan; we don’t accept any such notices before that!’
I request the listeners of Radio Sangharsh to keep on supporting our fight, take it to different levels and save Mahan forest together.”
Call Jagnarayan at 9009075918 to know more about the public protest against this notice.
“On 21st July 2014, District Magistrate (Collector) of Singrauli invited Mahan Sangharsh Samiti (MSS) and Mahan Vikas Manch to discuss what the villagers want regarding the forest and mining. Collector told the villagers that they could get ‘mouza’ somewhere in the forest area and compensation. But, we from MSS cleared our stand on forest and rights. We told the collector that until in a Gramsabha we get our Community Forest Rights implemented under the Forest Rights Act 2006; we won’t let any company work in the forest, we don’t want any compensation against the forest.
Collector finally said that we could only come to a decision on this through a Gramsabha. In the Gramsabha, whichever side (forest or mining) the majority of villagers would take, would determine the future of Mahan.”
Call Hardayal at 08359820620 to know more about the meeting with District Magistrate.
“On 13 July 2014, Ramji Yadav, a company broker, abused and threatened all the villagers who are trying to save their homes and the forest. Ramji said that he would bring explosives through the ‘company’ and detonate them in the village and all the villagers would die!
Some villagers are afraid after this incident. I request the listeners of Radio Sangharsh to take my demand to the administration for a strong legal action against Ramji Yadav.”
Call SDoP Singrauli (Sub Divisional officer of Police) Mr. Parihar – 09479998884 and demand an action against Ramji and an apology to the villagers!
Call the District Magistrate and and notify this! M. Salvendran – Phone : 09425821181, 07805234541, 07805244110. email : email@example.com
Call Hardayal to know more about the incident – 08359820620
“On 13 July 2014, Ramji Yadav, a company broker, abused and threatened all the villagers who are trying to save their homes and the forest. Ramji declared that he would detonate explosives in the village so that all the villagers die.
This incident took place in-front of Shankarlal Shah S/O Lakheswarlal Shah’s house. The villagers are panicked. I request the listeners of Radio Sangharsh to take my demand to the administration for a strong legal action against Ramji Yadav.”
Call SDoP Singrauli (Sub Divisional officer of Police) Mr. Parihar – 09479998884 and demand an action against such threats to the community!
Call the District Magistrate and demand an action against Ramji and an apology to the villagers. M. Salvendran – Phone : 09425821181, 07805234541, 07805244110. email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Chandrika Prasad to know more about the incident – 08878014585
“On 13 July 2014, Ramji Yadav, a broker of Mahan Coal Ltd., abused and threatened all the villagers who are trying to save their homes and the forest. Ramji declared that he would bring explosives through Mahan Coal Ltd and detonate them in every corner of the village so that all the villagers die.
This whole incident took place in-front of Shankarlal Shah S/O Lakheswarlal Shah’s house. The villagers are panicked for obvious reasons. I request the listeners of Radio Sangharsh to take my demand to the administration for a strong legal action against Ramji Yadav.”
Call the District Magistrate and demand an action against Ramji and an apology to the villagers. M. Salvendran – Phone : 09425821181, 07805234541, 07805244110. email : email@example.com
D Kalyan Chakravarti (Supdt. of Police) :07805 (234601)
Call Ramji and tell him that you know what he is doing and he’s reported – 9617768677
Call Jagnarayan to know more about the incident – 07566904239
ANITA KUSHWAHA – vil. Budher, post Jamghadi, Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh:
“On July 1st, we villagers went to protest against the company’s surreptitious works in the forest. A company broker and Forest Beat Guard- Dinesh Ratnakar tried throwing stones at us; but the labors working there took the stones from their hands. Dinesh Ratnakar threatened us saying, ‘this is my forest and I allow company to work here. Anyone coming to stop the work here would be a criminal, and I can kill that person!’He also tried to take the men and women to Bandhaura police station.
We told Dinesh that protecting our forest is our right and we won’t let any company take it!
The women with me, whom the Beat Guard tried to physically assault were Basanti, Ramkali, Shivkumari, Samdhariya-ji. I request all of you listeners and friends of Radio Sangharsh, help stop atrocities on women in Mahan. ”
Call the Forest Beat Guard – Dinest Ratnakar @ 7509318977. Give him a piece of mind on how to treat women and what the law can do to the violators!
National Women’s Commission Complaints Cell:011-23219750,011-23213419,011-23236153
Call the Women Protection Cell at 9425841437 and mail – firstname.lastname@example.org Demand an action on this Government employee assaulting women.
Report this to District Magistrate – M. Salvendran, phone – 07805 (234541), 07805(244110), email@example.com
Talk to Anita and know more about the incident – 8718939145
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
Officers from Mahan Coal Ltd. are exploiting and persuading the villagers to get hold of their lands in Amelia (dst. Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh). They are tempting the people with promises of jobs, school, hospital etc, none of which is right and we can see what kind of pathetic living conditions the already-displaced people are thrown into! Virendra (reporting) says that the villagers are innocent and they don’t understand the cunning tactics of company. He is demanding legal actions on MCL for exploiting the villagers.
For more details contact Virendra Singh – 8120487266
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...