The government – both at the Centre and the state (Odisha) – has reduced adivasis into mere exhibition items in attempts to lure domestic and foreign tourists. On one hand, the government while inviting multinational capitalists to plunder natural and mineral resources in the adivasi heartland is trying to repress voices of resistance by unleashing Operation Green Hunt on adivasis and the common mass at gun-point, and on the other, it is intensifying its efforts to turn innocent adivasis into exhibition items. Although the government claims to have amended the so-called laws in February 2012 to put certain checks on tourists visiting adivasi areas, it has turned out to be a blatant lie. In the same breath as the power centres in Delhi and Shahid Nagar are implementing the much-debated industrialization and displacement laws at gun-point, they are sending tourists to adivasi areas to click naked pictures of the adivasis, and turning these areas into tourism-friendly commodities. In Ganjam and Kandhamal, such inhuman activities are going on through unwritten permission by the district SPs in corrupt connivance with the said power centres. The same government that is sending police forces to these areas to ablaze forests, to burn down heaps of dry turmeric leaves, and to destroy people’s properties and lives is sending foreign tourists to click barren hills and bare bodies of adivasis: this is an insult to the people.
Because of all these, we have arrested two Italian tourists (one of them is a tourism trader licensed by the state government):
- Bosusco Paolo, B, Pralesio 10, Condove (to), Italy
- Clavdio Colangelo, via Di Frascati, 215, 00040 Rocca Di Papa, Italy
By doing so, we are exposing the real face of the government bereft any shred of humanism that has taken adivasi areas as some tourism commodity, as though these places are habitats of apes and chimpanzees. We are requesting the common mass to raise voice against turning adivasi areas into tourism commodities. Having arrested these two Italian culprits, we are also releasing two Odia slaves of theirs—Santosh and Kartik.
If the government is serious about freeing these two visitors, central and state governments should as primary condition stop all repression and combing operations in Odisha by 18 March 2012, and come forward to discuss our demands with us. If this is not done, we cannot take this government into confidence; and we will not be responsible for the loss of lives of the two visitors, rather the government that is unleashing terror without heeding to our demands and the state machinery that is running an illegal tourism trade will be.
- Adivasis are not commodities of tourism and adivasi areas are not recreation spots for tourists. Announce this clearly and arrest those who violate it.
- Stop repression in the name of Operation Green Hunt. Recall all police camps from remote areas, except from thanas. Create conducive space for dialogues with revolutionaries over people’s problems.
- Repeal the ban on the CPI (Maoist) and other mass organizations in Odisha.
- Arrest and try under murder and rape cases SPs and other police employees involved in fake encounters and custodial deaths of Lalit Dehuri, Junesh Badaraita, Pradeep Majhi, and others and in the gang rape case of Arati Majhi. Withdraw all charges against Arati Majhi and release her.
- Release Ashutosh, Kamalakanta Sethi, Sujata, Kishor Jena, Pratap, Manjulata, and all those arrested in connection to the attack on the Nayagarh Armoury.
- Stop slapping fresh false cases against and detaining in jail those who are acquitted by courts. In this context, release unconditionally Subhashree Das and Lalit from Rayagada along with all others re-arrested or detained.
- Release Shatrughna Biswal, Uttam, Shekhar, Sudarshan Mandal, Ramesh Nayak, Lata, Bijal, Ratna along with all other innocent people from Rayagada, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Ganjam, Nayagarh, Sambalpur, Mayurbhanj, Kendujhar, and other districts who have been put behind bars in the name of being Maoists.
- Do not repeal ‘adivasi status’ for Jhodia, Kanda Dora, Acha Kui, Gauda Kui, Kumbhar Kui, Saora, Odia Kandha, Khaira, and other adivasi communities, and recognize the ‘adivasi status’ of many other such communities.
- Provide access to drinking water in villages in all parts of Odisha, irrigation to farm lands, free health care in all Panchayats, and free education facilities up to high school.
- Stop police repression on all anti-displacement mass movements such as anti-POSCO, anti-Vedanta, and the Kalinganagar movements. Release all anti-displacement leaders and activists such as Abhay Sahu, Narayan Reddy, and others.
- Release Gananath Patra, the former Chairman of Daringbadi and Sonepur Sarpanch Swami, brother of Nachika Linga, and the two school students along with other leaders of mass movements and anti-repression movements who have been arrested by the vengeful police forces. Stop slapping cases endlessly against people associated with Mandrabaju, Nedingpadar, Gudari, and Narayanpatna land-rights movements. Release those who have been implicated in similar cases and are in jail after withdrawing all the cases.
- Institute independent enquiries into state-sponsored dramas of issuing false statements under pressure and threatening during surrenders, and creating a covert campaign against the Revolution. Institute enquiry by independent bodies and take due action against the Kendujhar police for detaining Sangeet Pradhan for years after he surrendered and suffered a fracture in his hand due to police torture.
- Meet all the unfulfilled demands placed during the arrest of the Malkangiri Collector by the Maoists.
We appeal to the common people to support and rally for these just and democratic demands and force the government to come for dialogues.
SUNIL, Secretary, CPI (Maoists)
Odisha State Organizing Committee