Director General of Poliice, Odisha was urged to withdraw police force from Belabahali village of Keonjhar district and false cases registered against hundreds of the villagers.
On , around 60 representatives of 28 Social Action Groups staged dharana in front of Director General of Poliice, Odisha, Cuttack and presented a memorandum (attached for reference) urging him to withdraw police force from Belabahali village of Keonjhar district and false cases registered against hundreds of the villagers and release the people who are in Keonjhar jail. The members of the Delegation who met Sri Sanjib Marik, DG, Police were Sri Debesh Das, Pradip Pradhan, Ashok Mallik, Raju Singh, Sudhir Mohanty and other three members.
On 18.7.15, being perturbed over repeated news about police atrocity in Belabahali Gram Panchayat and enemas’ arrest of hundreds of the people in mid-night of 7th July 2015, a 15-member Fact-finding Team of Civil Society Groups had visited to Belabahali village to ascertain the fact about the incident and magnitude of police atrocity and reason of it. The Team members were Pradip Pradhan, RTI Activist, Sri Khirod Rout, advocate, Sri Sudhir Mohaty, advocate, Sri Raju Singh, Sri Ashok Mallik, Dalit Leader, Social activists like Pratap sahu, Sachikant Pradhan, Menaka Kinnar, Khirod Routray, Sanjay Sahu etc.
While interacting with the people after physical inspection of the area, the Team found that the people of Belabahali had been opposing proposed diversion and expansion of the road and construction of new bridge on 215 National Highway over Kushei river by National Highway Authority of India and the State Government on the pretext that it would create water-logging and flood in the area and damage 2000 hectares of agriculture land which would have negative impact on their economy. While opposing the proposed plan of NHAI, They have also been suggesting to the State Government for expansion road of 215 NH as it exists and construction of the bridge on Kushei River before entry into the village which will be cost effective, less land acquisition and flood free. In support of their demand, they have also been blocking the construction work on peaceful way.
But 7th at around , without any intimation, the police suddenly started its operation of seizing the village and blocking all the roads to Belabahali village and started beating up mercilessly the children, women, older persons who were going to river for bath and open defecation. The Police also arrested many people mostly woman enemas’ and forwarded them to jail. Many older persons have been seriously injured due to police atrocity.
The Team Members also noticed that the huge police force had been deployed around the village to arrest the villagers at any time. Out of fear and evade arrest, the villagers could not go to agriculture field for cultivation. The children could not go to the school. The students could not go to apply form for admission and entrance test for job. The people who have suffered injury are not allowed for treatment. As reported by the villagers, 63 woman and older woman and 36 male have been put in jail. The police have filed false cases against 1000 of villagers.
The Team members felt that the villagers have been traumatised and their socio-economic condition getting deteriorated day by day. The daily wage labourers ad dalit people are also seen suffering due to police seizing the village, as they could not go outside for work. Their condition is very critical and their family members are getting starved.
The Demands of the Civil Society Groups are as follows.
A. Take steps to get released all the innocent people from the Keonjhar jail and withdraw all the false cases registered against them.
B. Withdraw all the FIRs filed against the villagers as an attempt to suppress the public opposition to the proposed plan for expansion and diversion of the road of 215 NH.
C. Recommend to Chief Minister for Judicial inquiry into the police atrocity on the innocent villagers of Belbaahali village .
D. Withdraw all the police force deployed around the village
Pradip Pradhan, M-9937843482, Date-20.7.15