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' We have no problems if Maoists support us'

'We have no problems if Maoists support us'

Bhubaneswar : The tribals of Kalinga Nagar, the state's steel hub in Jajpur district, are in no mood to budge from their position. They are firm in their demand for a total halt to their displacement for industries and punishment for officials responsible for the death of 12 fellow tribals while opposing land acquisition on January 2,2006.

In an exclusive interview.to TOI on Monday, Chakradhar Haibaru (60), president of the Bistapan Birodhi Jana Manch (BBJM) which is fighting against displacement of tribals, held chief minister Naveen Patnaik responsible for tension at the Kalinga Nagar industrial complex. "We feel the CM has no concern for the tribals. His government is run by a group of officers who work for industrialists," he said.

The tribal leader, down with fever for the last two days, said the administration as a whole and Naveen in particular, has no interest in resolving the problems of the tribals. "We met the CM and apprised him of our demands. More than five months have passed since then and we are still awaiting his reply," he said. " We have resolved not to call off our agitation till the government stops displacement at Kalinga Nagar, he added.

Haibaru rejected police allegations that Maoist leaders were guiding the tribal agitation at Kalinga Nagar. "Look, we do not know who is a Maoist and who is not. Many people from across the country come to us to express their solidarity If Maoists support our cause, we have no objection," he said.

Haibaru said though scores of politicians, including Sonia Gandhi and Sibu Soren, social activists, professors and students from various universities and colleges have come and shared their concern with the tribals, Naveen has continued to sit in Bhubaneswar.

The BBJM, which was formed after police gunned down 12 tribals,wtinue block National Highway 200 demanding fulfillment of its demands. "We have allowed private vehicles to run on the highway, but we are opposed to plying of commercial vehicles," he said. The road blockade at Kalinga Nagar will complete one year on Tuesday.

He said the BBJM has asked members of families of the Kalinga Nagar victims not to accept any compensation package from the government. One Kumari Gagrai, widow of Shyam Gagarai, has however received compensation from the government.

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posted by Bimal 3.1.07,


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