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Let us live as Citizens with Dignity: CMAS leader Nachika Linga


Monday June 09, 2014


"In a letter written to an Odia fortnightly newspaper "Janatantra", Nachika Linga, the tribal leader of Odisha who happens to be the President of Chasi Mulia Adivasi sangh (CMAS) and titled by his ideological guru as "the modern Spartacus", raises questions about the true nature and spirit of democracy in India while bringing to notice how the tribal people are grossly suffering due to atrocities by Police and armed forces.”


Nachika Linga



Kadraka Teli alias Rajendra, a member of Chashi Mulia Adibasi Sangh  and resident of village Badamathul of  Kumbhagonda  Panchayat  of  Bandhuaon block, was picked from his farm hamlet by BSF and SOG personnel  and  taken to Mathul forest, where he was killed by them. Rajendra, being a member of CMAS, was fighting against the Jhanjabati dam - meant to supply water of river Jhanjabati to the rich peasants of Andhra Pradesh and bring disaster to the farmers of CMAS.

It is because of his opposition to the dam project that Rajendra was targeted by the Border Security Force (BSF) and Special Operation Group (SOG) personnel, who in the early hours of August 19, Sunday, picked him from his farm hamlet alleging that he was a Maoist Commander and showing that a gun, soap case bomb, bullets and literature were recovered from his house.


Such allegations against Kadraka were false. He was a poor farmer was the only truth. Had he been a Maoist Commander, he wouldn’t have lived in the village with his wife Ratnalu and family. So the encounter of Rajendra was a fake one and should be investigated by the Crime Branch and the report be made public.

Is it democracy?

In Narayanpatna, police is ‘killing poor innocent people in encounters like this. Why government is torturing farmers of Podapadar who are going to their fields for farm work? Police personnel are harassing them. In such situation and circumstances the problems of Narayanpatna will never be solved. On 18 August 2012, Bandhu Nachika was arrested by the police while working in his field. His son Nachika Lingaya and others named Miniaka Lasunu, Miniaka Shani, Miniaka Musuri were also taken to Basnaput BSF camp and were badly beaten and tortured. Is it democracy?

Is every farmer a criminal?

In the name of combing operation, BSF and SOG personnel set free cows, goats and other cattle from the sheds to graze the standing crops in the fields. Is it police administration? In a saddest incident, an ailing man on way to hospital was arrested and beaten. Is it justice? Further, police snatched away the bicycles of Lada Mandingi, Sada Mandingi, Mintu Mandingi, Indar Mandingi and Ranjan Mandingi of Pachingi village while they were returning to their village from Narayanpatna High School. Barasa, who was going to Narayanpatna to sell firewood, was not even spared by the BSF and SOG personnel. Is every farmer a criminal?

Why innocents are tortured?

Kandapoli Sadhav, Bhantasilang Suresh, Bhantasilang Loknath, Lalu Obeka, Asala Bhadareddy are poor farmers, who too were beaten up by the police. What kind of democracy runs in the country? The BSF and SOG deployed by the government are torturing the farmers of Narayanpatna. The farmers are going to their fields to do farm related works hiding themselves and avoiding the gaze of these armed personnel. Farmers use to invest for purchasing seed, cultivate to feed themselves and to buy clothes by selling the surplus. They toil very hard not only for themselves but they also supply food to others. It is very sad that, they are being falsely stamped as Maoists and arrested as dreaded extremists. Earlier, those arrested as attackers of Narayanpatna police station were found innocent by the court and released from jail.

Fight to protect Land, Rights and Nature, is it wrong?

The CMAS has been fighting for its rights and justifiable demands through democratic means. Struggle to save water forest and land is struggle to save the country and the humanity. It must be appreciated that our existence is due to this land and nature which has been saved by the adivasis who are the dwellers of the hills and protector of the nature and animals. They provide sustenance to the urban people.

Who benefits from grants for tribal development?

The Collector, DGP, politicians, legal practitioners and the system above all should answer to the questions raised above. It should be investigated as to how much government grant has been spent on these tribal people who have been living in these forest areas for centuries. Publicity through TV, radio and other media that much is spent for the development of tribal communities is a white lie. You are garnering the benefits in the name of tribals. These educated tribal youth have remained expectant without getting any fruit. The students failed to enter into colleges due to the complex and outreach system of admission through computer.

Help us to live with dignity

I therefore appeal to all the intellectuals and the civil society to appreciate our woes and save us from the torture we are undergoing in the hands of the police and armed force personnel and please help us to live as citizens of this country with dignity.

(Originally written in Odia language, the letter is translated by Vivekanand Dash, Editor of Odia language fortnightly 'Janatantra')


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