India: Planned forced land acquisitions and repression of dissent
On June 17, 2011, the International Network on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights sent a letter to the Chief Minister of Orissa and the national authorities of the Government of India to express concern regarding reported plans by police forces to forcibly enter Govindpur village (Erasama block, Jagatsinghpur District) in order to acquire lands for the development of a proposed integrated steel plant and captive power station, which will affect over 22,000 people who depend on these lands, forests and natural resources for their livelihoods.
Persons whose lands stand to be affected have expressed repeated concerns that the steel plant and power station will destroy rice paddies, fish-ponds, betel-vine cultivation and cause water-logging on agricultural lands, as well as water scarcity. In response to expressed opposition of local residents, twenty police platoons are reported to be stationed in the area. The authorities of the state of Orissa have announced renewed plans to enter Govindpur village and members of the police forces have allegedly destroyed betel vines, a local crop.
In the attached letter, ESCR-Net urged the Indian authorities to refrain from proceeding with the forcible entry and seizure of the contested lands; desist from all acts of intimidation and the filing of baseless criminal charges against human rights defenders and undertake to respect the human rights of the affected community, including the right to liberty and security of person, peaceful assembly, food, water and adequate housing and prohibitions against forced evictions and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
See the complete letter (English) here.
Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) and National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) press release.