ODISHA, As per the Indian constitution, everyone should be treated equally before the law and there is no restriction and discrimination in the name of caste, gender, race, religion, region and identity. Despite the constitutional provisions, there is an issue of highly discrimination, exclusion, isolation, humiliation and oppression.
Bhatapani and Dumerpani village between the border of Kalahandi and Nabarangpur district falls under the Gotomunda Gram Panchayat in Koksara Tahasil of Kalahandi district. Since 1999, forty-two families are living in this surrounding, a reserved forest area of Sahajkhol of Kalahandi district which is under Behera forest bite. Families living here do the harvesting as their main livelihood. Every year they do the farming in these forest areas and collects forest materials for their livelihood. Mostly majority masses are belonging to the Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste who are migrated to this place from Ramsa, Ekama and Chargaon of Falia Gram Panchayat and Topaguda of Dhamnaguda Gram Panchayat under Jharigaon Tahasil of Nabarangpu district for their better livelihood.
When they migrated, the forest department did not take any action against them but in 2011 eight persons were arrested and sent to prison in Dharamgarh Jail for occupying forest land and cut down forest trees. They were kept in jail for fifteen days. After being released all members moved back and vowed to never return.
However, Manas Sahu and Hemanta Majhi who are from Kalahandi residents of Gotomunda village went there and request them to move back to forest areas and assured their safety.
Manas Sahu and Hemanta Majhi later convinced them with false promises and hope of establishing a Jogi math temple of Alekh Mahima”. They asked these families to clear 5 acres of first land s that a road can be constructed for the locals.
These families agreed to the agreement and worked without wages. They were provided one-time meals and worked like bondage labour for a long time.
Hemanta Majhi and Manas Sahu got Lakhs of rupees and became local forest Mafia but these families got only pain, hunger and bondage labour.
But when these families asked for their wages, they once again assured that the government have not sectioned any bill and they will be paid after the sanction.
Every year they forcefully collected their required donation from tribals but this year they paid only a few thousand so Mr Hemanta Majhi, Manas Sahu, Bailar Singh and Partha Majhi were angry with them. On it. 30th June Wednesday afternoon they went that place with Behera forest bite’s staff and a hundred to above local goons who were drunk, and sudden they brutally beaten to all people with all women’s, burnt their houses and demolished and took their all-luxurious things like golds and money and thrown their all ration, all fertilizers in the mud and forest side and vacated their places and killed to some sheep, goats and took all hens and they kept poison inside the well. They threw an ass towards one child about six years name Santosh Bhatra injured on his leg so he ran away towards the deep forest side with bleeding stage and did not come back, whole night he stayed alone inside the forest without food. All the members of his villages searched but did not find out so after twenty-four hours he came backed to his home. These noises and quarrelled was continuously held three hours after went to Dumerpani and did the same incidents with them.
Now they are dwelling under the polyethene tent house which is an unsafe, very pathetic situation because of open forest which is insecure condition and in this situation snakes and wild animals may become which is very harmful to their life and without any basic rights which are very difficult to survive. As humanity both the administration of Kalahandi and Nabarangpur districts are responsible to overlook it and the Kalahandi administration should be taken serious action against it but never want to look, unfortunately, Kalahandi Administration is so silent and thinking that it is the responsibility of the Nabarangpur Administration. Now Nabarangpur administration has assured on the paper pen that very soon we will rectify your issues. This issue is very sensitive even also Odisha government is so silent, Adibasi leader Ramesh Majhi, Minister Prakash Majhi, Balabhadra Majhi, opposition leader Pradipta Kumar Naik and other leaders are so shamelessly silent on this issue for the vote bank. And our leaders are being tokenized only for power positions but not for the welfare of the masses.
Tribals are the owner of the forest so they are living in this forest to protect and there is a forest act 2006 which ensure that Scheduled Tribes community those who are dwelling in the forest that they have the right to hold and live in the forest land for common occupation for habitation or self-cultivation for their livelihood. They have the right to ownership of that forest, access to collect forest products, use and dispose of minor forest produce and rights to uses or entitlements such as fish and other products of water bodies, grazing and traditional seasonal resource access of nomadic or pastoralist communities, rights for the conversion of Pattas or leases or grants issued by any local authority or any State Government on forest lands to titles, rights to protect, regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource which they have been traditionally protecting and conserving for sustainable use but the government is not implementing. Goons are not the authority or judiciary so who gave that power to decide that who will include and who will exclude. They have violated all the law and order and human rights and now innocents are demanding that the police department should be immediately taken serious action against all accused with involved forest staff. They have lodged a complaint in Ampani Police station even also the authorities have not investigated the incident or never want to take it seriously because goons’ leader Hemanta Majhi is the President of Koksara Tahasil’s Youth Biju Janata Dal and closest of Ex-Minister Puspendra Singh Deo so Odisha Home minister Dibya Shankar Mishra protecting them. Odisha government always pressurized both district’s administration and Police department to hijacked that issue so they are so silent but both government and administration should be rational and fair for the welfare of the public to provide justice but unfortunately, they are promoting injustice. The accused party’s masses are always trying to the false allegation on masses and lodging false cases on activist those who are fighting for social justice. The government should be allocated their occupied land and provide original land records documents, compensation, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana to all families, drinking water, electricity, school, medical Centre and Anganwadi centre which is basic for masses. The government or administration responsibility is not only developed to urban areas but also remote areas and as possible provide and implement each and every policy not in paper pen. Now some social activists and scholars are trying for their efforts towards social justice. Gangsters and mafia are highly living in this area and always illegally occupying forest land, export forest woods and harvesting weeds.
Author: Pradhani Bag PhD. Research Scholar in Centre for Society & Development, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, President Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association CUG & Social Activist
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