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India: At least 12 killed in Orissa when police open fire on tribal people protesting construction of Tata Steel plant

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2 January 2006

[DOC] Police Firing at Kalinganagar [India]

Author: People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Orissa [India]

By not conferring the tenancy rights upon the local people over the land, which has been in their possession at the time of Estate abolition in 1951, successive governments have deprived the people of their legal rights over land and livelihood...The massive deployment of forces to oversee mere land-leveling by a private company is not only unwarranted, it reveals a deep-seated bias of the govt. against the local people, predominantly tribal people...The way the incident of 2nd January was handled clearly reveals that the question of law and order was a ruse used by the govt. to teach a lesson to the agitators...PUCL...urges the people to question how the Tatas, Birlas, Jindals, Vedanta, and POSCO – whose only objective is to make profit by exploiting the mineral resources of the state – could be considered as insiders, and the tribal people, who have been living there for more than a century, and survive by tilling the land, could be called outsiders...Seeing the balance of force, it’s difficult to believe that an unprepared mass (none of them was carrying fire-arms, unlike the police), that included women and children, would dare to attack such a heavy deployment of trained policemen...PUCL believes that the allegation of the tribals having attacked first and the police having fired in self-defense is an afterthought intended to justify cold-blooded murder on their part...PUCL demands an inquiry by the NHRC into the allegation of mutilation of the dead bodies...PUCL team finds that the government’s own guidelines [on displacement & relocation] have been grossly violated on every front...[refers to Tata Iron and Steel (TISCO) (part of Tata Group), JINDAL, Nilachal Ispat Nigam, Mideast (MESCO), Zindal, VISA Industries, Maharashtra Seamless, Uttam Galva, Orion, Mithal, Rohit Ferrotech, Dinabandhu, Maithan Ispat]

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5 January 2006

India: Massacre of tribe in Orissa

Author: Survival International

At least twelve tribal people died after police opened fire on a crowd at Kalinganaga in the Indian state of Orissa on Monday. The people, mainly from the Ho tribe, were protesting against controversial plans to build a steel plant on their land... Bulldozers started construction of a wall at the site on Monday morning, in the presence of local officials, representatives of the company Tata Steel [part of Tata Group], and hundreds of armed police.

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11 January 2006

Sonia [Ghandi, Indian Congress president] visits bereaved tribal families in Orissa

Author: NewKerala.com

Congress president Sonia Gandhi Wednesday met the families of those killed in police firing in Orissa's Jajpur district...The situation has been getting progressively worse...with thousands of tribals staging a sit-in and blocking the Daitari-Paradip express highway near the site of the Tata Steel plant.

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11 January 2006

[Tata comments about Kalinga Nagar incident: company says no officer of Tata Steel was present, nor was there any other involvement from the company]

Author: Jamshed J Irani, Director, Tata Sons

Kalinga Nagar project: Land offered to Tata Steel by the state had been acquired by the latter some 10 years ago, but the 750-odd villagers had not been rehabilitated or removed. Upon finalisation of the MoU between Tata Steel and the state , the latter began negotiations/operations with the inhabitants. Last week’s unfortunate event was a consequence of the government’s actions in trying to get the land vacated. No officer of Tata Steel was present, nor was there any other involvement from the company, which resulted in police firing, etc.

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