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September 19, 2008

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Stop State Terrorism in Orissa!
Free the Anti-Displacement Activists!

Lead Organization, Commission No. 10
Of the International League of Peoples' Struggles (ILPS)
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, National Minorities
and Nationalities for Self-Determination, and Decolonization
against Discrimination, Racism, and National Oppression
by Imperialism and Local Reaction

The CORDILLERA PEOPLES ALLIANCE strongly condemns the unwarranted arrest of anti-displacement activists in Orissa, and the massive, ruthless displacement of the Adivasi and Dalit peoples due to development aggression. The trumped up charges against anti-displacement activists Protima, Devendar Das, Amin Maharana and Pradeep must be immediately withdrawn, and they must be immediately and unconditionally released.

The State violence by Orissa authorities, particularly the Naveen Patnaik Government, is a clear violation of the Adivasi and Dalit peoples right to self determination and ancestral territories. The terror sown is also a clear move to suppress the people's movement against forced displacement to accommodate imperialist plunder of lands and resources.

The mining interests of British mining company Vedana and its subsidiary Sterlite Industries Ltd., in Niyamgiri Hills and South Korean Steel Giant Posco company will wipe out vast lands of forestlands that are home to the Adivasi and Dalit peoples. If mining operations will ensue, the rich biodiversity of the Niyamgiri Hills will not only be gravely underthreat, such as the rare flora and fauna therein, including the Nagavali and Vansudahra Rivers, and its tributaries.

We recognize that like in the Philippines, where State laws are in stark contrast and in grave contradiction to the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples, the State laws in India do not guarantee the rights of peoples over their basic right to life. The Orissa government has already signed up agreements with foreign and local corporations, which also means the continuing ruthless and massive displacement of millions of people in the project sites.

It is in this regard that the CORDILLERA PEOPLES ALLIANCE urges the legitimate mass struggles against imperialist plunder of resources in Orissa to intensify as we are in solidarity with these. We salute the sustained struggles of the people in Kashipur against the Hindalco Project, and the intensifying struggle against bauxite mining in Gandhamardhan, Koraput Tata Mines in Sukinda. Struggle has been sustained as well among organized groups in the steel industry.

The assertion of basic human rights must be recognized by the Orissa government. The anti-displacement activists must be immediately released, and the State terrorism immediately stop. #

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