Ever since the setting up of the Mahanadi Coal Fields, adivasi people in the villages around the mines have been protesting the impact that the coal dust pollution has on the environment and on the health of the people.

The severity of the impact has only increased over time in spite of a High Court order intended to regulate it. There has also been significant police clampdown on protesting voices, including on women and children!

Naresh Meher, local-level activist and member of Janshakti Bikash Parishad, explains the coal-mafia and police nexus in Sundargadh.


For Adivasi communities like the Kutia , a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) in Odisha, daily life is intricately connected with the forests and the cultivation of ragi, pulses, and more than 50 varieties of food crops. The forced replacement of all this cultivation with teak plantations by the Forestry Department is compelling them to wonder, are they expected to live on branches and leaves, as animals do? Even the cattle won’t eat these and the local people are chased away from the lands they cultivate, using false cases filed against them.

In Burlubaru, for instance, there have been protests against the teak cultivation, as it makes it impossible to grow anything else. There has been opposition to the lack of consultation, and the callous pushing of the local people to migrate and depend on daily-wage earning. The only response they received was repression.

National Alliance of People’s Movements condemns the callousness and violence of ‘development’ geared solely towards financial gain, at the cost of Adivasi people whose traditional livelihoods and culture are sacrificed. The targeting of vulnerable adivasi communities across various states needs to become an issue of concern across our various struggles and solidarities.

Shared via Sanghamitra Dubey

It has been over a month since Hidme Markam was abducted by the police while organizing a meeting on International Women’s Day. In Soni Sori’s words, the people are missing her grit and determination, her strength to fight for jal-jungle-jamin and for humanity in the difficult context of Bastar.

We return to Soni Sori, in a Grounded Voices conversation in which she explains the violence that the police direct at the Adivasi people of the area, and particularly the horrific violence to which young women are subjected, with no means of redress. She speaks of Adivasi boys being trained to think of rape as a tool to subdue women and force them to confess to anything, including being ‘maoists’. Sexual violence has become weaponized.

She also speaks of how, in spite of numerous protests and ongoing struggle, trees are cut for different projects, and the life, culture and livelihoods of the people, as well as the environment are destroyed by the plunder of natural resources through mining.

Hidme’s is one of the many cases of suppression of dissent, which takes the form of abductions, rapes, imprisonment and custodial violence, including sexual violence, and murder.

National Alliance of People’s Movements supports the demands to release Hidme Markam immediately and put an end to the atrocities and violence committed by the police and the authorities on Adivasi people in Bastar.

Rajaraman Sundaresan draws attention to the violence of knowledge systems themselves, which reinforce an understanding that Adivasi and Dalit communities are ‘primitive’ and impose upon the minds of young learners ideas of ‘development’ which are unsustainable and harmful to them.

Using the example of Odisha, he explains the education-mining nexus that amounts to a brainwashing of the younger generation of Adivasi peoples, who are compelled to study in schools run by companies which fund mining, while their parents actively fight these exploitative practices.

We must realize we cannot achieve social justice without change in education and knowledge systems.

NAPM India