27, Jun 2018 | CJP Team
The battle against POSCO, one of the most effective resistances the country has witnessed in the recent past is not over yet. The South Korean corporate giant has retreated from the region but the state doesn’t seem to have ended its war against the Adivasis who fought for their land.
POSCO, the biggest foreign direct investment in India was signed in 2005. The Odisha Government acquired 4,000 acres of land for the proposed POSCO project, which included 300 acres of Adivasi land. An area rich in biodiversity where the villagers cultivate paddy and betel leaves among other crops. This violated the Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006 under which no forest land could be taken away until the rights of the people in the designated area are recognised.
Under the banner of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, the Adivasis fought a 12 year-long victorious battle. Throughout this period, the villagers were charged under several fabricated and false cases. Many villagers are not even aware of the cases against them. There is also a clear lack of resources for the villagers to fight these cases in the court. In the three affected villages, there are about 500 cases lodged and over 2500 villagers accused. However there is only one advocate to look into all these cases.
Citizens for Justice and Peace plays a vital role in battling these cases with its experience in fighting legal cases in the court. CJP helps in building a legal resource team in the region and strategise interventions at different levels of the judiciary. To deal with the complexities of 300 plus odd cases, the intervention of a legal rights group becomes crucial for the indigenous people to get these false prosecutions off their back.
CJP aims to sustain and support this valiant struggle of the Adivasis so that the criminalization of their protest does not continue and is not repeated and to ensure that the rich biodiversity of the coastal region is protected.