A letter to the President of India

Jharkhand Human Rights Movement

C/o-Mr. Suleman Odeya, Near Don Bosci ITC Gate, Khorha Toli, Kokar, Ranchi -834001. 0651-3242752 Email:

Ref: JHRM/PI/2013/01 Date: 01/05/2013


His Excellency,

Sri Pranab Mukherjee,

President of India,

Rashtrapati Bhavan,

New Delhi – 110004


Sub: Requesting to protect the rights of the Scheduled Tribes (Indigenous People of India) or to shoot all of them at once rather than excluding, discriminating, exploiting, torturing and making them landless, resourceless and beggars by alienating them from the natural and livelihood resources in the name of growth and development.

Dear Sir,

1. It is extremely painful to state that I come from an Adivasi (tribal) family, who was displaced by an irrigation project without rehabilitation in 1980 and my parents were brutally murdered in 1990. However, I was managed to survive. On 30th April, 2013, you have inaugurated a power project of the Jindal Steel & Power Ltd at Sundarpahari comes under Godda district of Jharkhand. However, it seems that the tribal people were not allowed to put their concerns in front of you. The tribal people of 11 villages had gathered near Sundarpahari to raise their voices against the power project as some of them had already been displaced during the construction of ‘Sundar Dam’ and now they’ll again be displaced by the Jindal’s power project. However, these tribals were detained in Sundarpahari police station instead of hearing their plea. The question here is do they have right to freedom of expression under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution? The police have regularly been coercing the tribals who don’t want to surrender their land to the Jindal Company. According to the Santal Pargana Tenancy Act 1949, the land is non-transferable and non-saleable, whether owned by tribals or non-tribals. But how the tribals land is being bought by the Jindal Company? Is the Jindal Company allowed to violet the rule of law?

2. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India through a writ petition (CIVIL) NO. 180 OF 2011 (Orissa Mining Corporation Vs Ministry of Environment & Forest & Others) has said that the Section 4(d) of the PESA Act 1996 says that every Gram Sabha shall be competent to safeguard and preserve the traditions, customs of the people, their cultural identity, community resources and community mode of dispute resolution. Therefore, Grama Sabha functioning under the Forest Rights Act read with Section 4(d) of PESA Act has an obligation to safeguard and preserve the traditions and customs of the STs and other forest dwellers, their cultural identity, community resources. The Court has ordered the State Government to settle the matter with the Gram Sabha. But is the case of Jindal Company, where is the role of Gram Sabha? Why it has been undermined or put aside? Why did PESA Act 1996 not enforced in this case? Is it because the head of the Jindal Steel & Power Limited is one of the powerful leaders of the Congress Party?

3. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has also said through a writ petition (CIVIL) NO. 180 OF 2011 (Orissa Mining Corporation Vs Ministry of Environment & Forest & Others) that the Scheduled Tribes have the Religious freedom guaranteed under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution. It guarantees them the right to practice and propagate not only matters of faith or belief, but all those rituals and observations which are regarded as integral part of their religion. The Court has ordered to protect and preserve the tribals’ deity. However, in last 65 years of Indian democracy, thousands and thousands of sacred groves, religions places and graveyards of tribals were either submerged in Dams or destroyed in the name of development. These are several sacred groves and religions places of the tribal would be destroyed by the power project of the Jindal Company. However, the question is do the tribals really have the freedom of religion as the Apex Court has stated? Why is Government not upholding the rule of law?

4. The tribal people have already lost more than 23 lakh acres of land in Jharkhand in two ways – i) The major part of tribals’ land were taken away from them in the name of growth and development and ii) the non-tribals who came into the 5th Scheduled Area of Jharkhand for jobs also grabbed a huge portion of the tribal land illegally after earning huge money from the development projects and mining. Though the Article 19 (d) & (e) allows the all citizens to move freely throughout the territory of India and to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India but sub-clause (5) also emphasizes that the state can impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of any of the rights conferred by the said sub-clauses (d & e) for the protection of the interests of any Scheduled Tribe. However, nothing has been done in this regard to protect the tribal people. Consequently, the population of the non-tribals is multiplying in the Scheduled areas and the tribal population is rapidly declining.

5. The Jharkhand Government has signed more than 100 MoUs with National and multi-National companies, who are grabbing the trabals land illegally and the government is facilitating it instead of protection the land rights of tribals. The Jharkhand Government has also proposed for two industrial corridors under the Jharkhand Industrial policy 2012. According to JIP-14 (a) State Govt. will initiate necessary steps to promote / develop two industrial corridors, namely Koderma – Bahragora and Ranchi-Patratu- Ramgarh Road, where the efforts will be made to develop the corridor with 25 KM each side of 4 laning, which means, major part of the land will be handed over to the corporate houses. If that happens then where will the tribal people go? Do they have right to a dignified life?

6. On 5 January, 2011, the Apex Court of India while hearing on an appeal (the special leave petition (Cr) No. 10367 of 2010 Kailas & others Vs State of Maharashtra) said that the tribal people (Scheduled Tribes or Adivasis), the Indigenous People of India but they were slaughtered in large numbers, and the survivors and their descendants were degraded, humiliated, and all kinds of atrocities inflicted on them for centuries. They were deprived of their lands, and pushed into forests and hills where they eke out a miserable existence of poverty, illiteracy, disease, etc. And now efforts are being made by some people to deprive them even of their forest and hill land where they are living, and the forest produce on which they survive. Despite this horrible oppression on them, the tribals of India have generally (though not invariably) retained a higher level of ethics than the non-tribals in our country. They normally do not cheat, tell lies, and do other misdeeds which many non-tribals do. They are generally superior in character to the non-tribals. The Apex Court said that it is time now to undo the historical injustice to them. However, the Indian Government has done nothing to protect them. Instead, it has been facilitating in corporate land grab of the Adivasis (tribals or Indigenous People) of India.

Since, you are the custodian of the tribal people of India, therefore, I demand for following actions:

1. To order for investigation on detention of tribals and land grab by the Jindal Steel & Power Limited in Sundar Pahari and also cancel the Jindal’s power project as it is a severe threat to the existence of the tribal people especially the Primitive tribes (Paharia) of Sundar Pahari.

2. To investigate and cancel all the MoUs signed since 2000 without consent of the Gram Sabha under PESA Act 1996 and also order for withdrawal of the Industrial Police 2012 and order the state administration to return the illegally acquired land of the tribals by the corporate houses.

3. To order for a judicial inquiry in all the cases of illegal land grabbed by the non-Adivasis in the Scheduled areas.

4. To order to stop the corporate to buy land by themselves and order the Government to acquire land under the Santal Pargana Tenancy Act 1949 and Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act 1908 for development projects with the consent of the Gram Sabha under PESA Act 1996.

5. To order the Government to enforce the rule of law i.e. Constitutional provisions, 5th Schedule Area, PESA Act 1996, CNT Act 1908, SPT Act 1949, the Forest Rights Act 2006, etc.

Indeed, it’s necessary to take the above said steps to protect the constitutional, legal and traditional rights of the tribal people. However, if you are unable to protect us, I would humbly request you to gather all the tribal people at a place and shoot them so that you’ll get rid of us and could build this nation on the graveyards of the tribal as per your dream.

The architect of the Modern India Pt. Jwaharlal Nehru’s Temples of Modern India has turned into graveyards of the tribals (Indigenous People of India). Therefore, in the next time whenever and wherever you inaugurate such development project proposed on the tribals’ land, please remembers that you are building this nation on the graveyards of the Indigenous People of India.

I believe you understand my pain, anguish and sorrow. I hope to hear your positive response. I shall be highly obliged to you for the same.

Thanking you.

Yours sincerely,

Gladson Dungdung

General Secretary,

JHRM, Ranchi.

6 thoughts on “A letter to the President of India”

  1. Sir, I am not an expert or advocate. However, I there are frw ambiguity in this letter to Honourable President of India by Mr Gladstone Dung Dung. I appreciate his genuine anguish and am fully at one with him that historically the tribal have been deprived.
    The new laws and Bills are in place to prootect further deprivation but none of them can provide for retrospectively. We need to start from scartch by re-creating or strengthening of traditional social institutions of tribal society to preserve their rights and at the same time, being within the ambits of PESSA and FRA. Even the pending Bill of LARR11 sopeaks of direct land purchase instead of acquisition by private corporate.
    we need to take leaf from North east India where the community rights still hold good over individal rights.
    Thus, I feel even the First citizen of our Nation can offer any sop unless the tribal society themselves seekout best deals under the laws of the country. For do our agro-financing institutions can render agro-credit under CNT/SPTA? I am not sure. Gone with the subsidies, how are our tribal brethren tilt their land using genetically engineered seeds with scarce water and tough soil. They need capital intensive farming, marketting and livelihood or else…… switch to industry and commerce to prosper with help pf civil society universe.

    1. The western powers have so poisoned our thinking that whatever model they propose we Indians agree to it as if it is the word of God. You are a victim of the same thinking and hence propose hybrid farming, genetic farming etc. despite the fact that such farming practices are destructive in long run. Let tribals live as they have been living since last thousand of years i.e. in unison with nature and not spread your poisonous agenda.

  2. We all adivasis anticipate from honourable President to take neccessary action to protect native of india. We are not isolated from our country.

  3. “Displacement & Jharkhand land policy”
    by an anonymous development practitioner

    Over view

    • The existing concept of Land, industry and R&R policies primarily ‘ represent interest of capital’ and State authority. All its current and proposed forms continue to attempt to bribe its way in support to displacement, rather than attempt to subscribe to the ethos of the historic struggle protecting the land rights in Jharkhand and its rich resource-base, notably Land & minerals, forests and water.
    • As a result, all existing land acquisition & rehab policies by the state end-up in suppression by force or require luring through middlemen, of the hitherto isolated population and forces them to voluntary abdicate their rights to nature to allow industry to thrive on or extract inherent landed resources for profiteering.
    • Alternately speaking, any policy should have paved way to micro-level sharing of four basic elements of land, minerals, forest and water and its resources with any industrial set-up & being duly complimented by the existing participation by embodying instruments of Panchayati Raj, PESSA, FRA, to give shape to Samta Judgement in the process, making state and people’s dream of industrialization come true.

    Jharkhand: Poverty amidst plenty
    • Jharkhand is richest of all states in India when it comes to mineral wealth. As the repository of 40 per cent of the nation’s minerals, the state contributes over 40 per cent of coal production in India and a proven iron ore reserve of 3.7 billion tonne- more than one fifth of the iron ore output in India.
    • In under nine years the state government has inked as many as 71 MoUs, out of which, 62 are with steel companies alone, and total estimated investment proposals are pegged at a whooping Rs 3 lakh crore.
    • Yet, Jharkhand growth rate is less than what Bihar has clocked in 2010.

    Basic statistics relating LAND in Jharkhand

    Total area: 79.72 lakh ha (100%); Its terrain: undulating, rocky and forested;
    Total cultivable area: 29. 74 lakh ha or 37%
    Total forest land: 23.92 lakh ha or 30.00%
    Total scrub forest: 4.38 lakh ha or 5.50%
    Water bodies: 1.59 lakh ha or 2.00%
    Waste Land: 7.17 lakh ha or 9.00%

    Jharkhand resources as factors of LIVELIHOOD & four arenas of conflict in Jharkhand – Land, minerals, Water & Forests.

    • Jharkhand movement pivoted around issues relating to the impacts of economic transformation on vital natural resources, notably, land, forests and water. It lead to erosion in livelihoods & reflects common resentments to land acquisition for industrial use as it continue benefitting upcountry population rather than that from local area, victim of inherent backwardness.
    • Jharkhand has second highest unemployment rate in India. Moreover, nearly 45.5% of its employed population are chained to agriculture, forest and fishery sectors (Indian Labour Bureau). Ironically, the state produces 40% of nation’s coal. Yet its employability in mines and industries have come down drastically due to policies & mechanization by 73% since the early 1970’s in private sector, and nearly by 40% in public sectors and at crippling socio-environmental costs of industrialization. As per some websites, even the rate of Adivasi employment in mines staggers at mere 2.56%!
    Lessons to incorporate in proposed LA& R&R policy:
    • Land being too precious a wealth to be alienated from poor people.
    • Successful policy for Land Acquisition and rehab policy must ensure some proven austerity in land use by industry;
    • ensure minimum 27 – 30% employment reservation for local population in reverse order, i.e. starting with low grade and ending up at high graded job opportunities in complement to corporate investment in local education & skill growth.;
    • Avoid opencast mining to minimize surface damage and ecology disturbances.
    • Emphasize for grassroots micro-management for profit sharing.

    • Jharkhand is richest of all states when it comes to mineral wealth. As the repository of 40 per cent of the nation’s minerals, the state contributes over 40 per cent of coal production in India and a proven iron ore reserve of 3.7 billion tonne or contributes to more than one fifth of the iron ore output in India.
    Inconsistency in mining with employability growth:
    • All-India statistics shows that today country employs 5.6 lakh people in its organized mining sector, which is less by 30 per cent since 2008 though mining production has gone up by four times during this period.
    In 1994–95: 25 employed to produce minerals worth Rs. 1 crore
    In 2003–04: 8 employed to produce minerals of same worth
    Therefore, employment potential of the sector decreased by about 70%.
    However, almost 3/4th of the total employed in mining are in payroll of coal companies (mainly public sector) and the state alone accounts for one-fourth of the total miners in India, (Stuligross, 2001: 192),
    Lessons learnt for proposed LA/R&R policy:
    • Mining may be a stable resource generator, than an employer, for Jharkhand population.
    • The sector should be treated as economic multiplier.
    • Policy to support LA for proven need of captive mining & industry
    o having regular institutional set-up to encourage micro-management enterprise by locals to qualify.
    o UG mining to be encouraged over Open Cast methods.

    • If deforestation destabilises the landscape, it creates runoff. With any alternative land use at catchment areas, the natural flows of water is disrupted, making mined areas prone to acute pollution, water scarce and add to down stream siltation with increased destructive floods.
    • If open-cast mining throughout the country places an increasing amount of land at risk to natural disasters, it leads to downing of water table to prompt outbreak of epidemics and morbidity.
    • Water harvesting is referred to by CSR more as a vogue, in respective mine planning by corporate & hardly has any nuance to adversities faced by community. Leave over 200 mtrs deep hollows filled with rain water of residual opencast pits for community to entrust in some kind of fishing projects to evolve livelihood!
    Lessons to incorporate in proposed LA/R&R policy:
    • Land reclamation must be proportionate to land acquisition for expansion (MMDR Bill);
    • Regular investment on water harvesting and irrigation on dumps or reclaimed land as essential qualification to justify fresh land for mining;
    • Stop mining at catchments.
    • Water purification plants at every mine with free uninterrupted supplies to community
    • The forests that are home to large and overwhelmingly impoverished tribal populations are also home to some of the country’s wealthiest mineral deposits. Jharkhand enjoys 23.93 lakh ha or 30% of its land mass as forests. (Water resource department GoJH).
    • The GOI estimates that the total forested land diverted for mining in India between 1980 and 2005 was 95,003 ha, but it has been estimated to be as high as 1,64,610 ha. Or 6.18%, to be precise.
    • Hilly forested areas of Jharkhand that produce the hard rocks and minerals also forms the catchment zones that feed the lifeblood of rural Jharkhand – its rivers and hydrological regime. Without adequate forest coverage, Jharkhand’s other invaluable natural resources, such as water and wildlife, are at risk.
    • 90% of India’s coal and 80% of its other minerals are found in forest land & thus, subject industry to its need to divert forest and need more land acquisition and put life and livelihood of the State at a greater risks.
    Lessons for incorporating in proposed LA/R&R policy:
    • Avoid OC operations in forest areas;
    • Afforestation on barren land with traditional species to be made a pre-requisite for land requiring the corporate to qualify for acreage use of forest land.
    • More denser the forest, more will be the requirement of afforestation.
    • Contrarily, forest conversion to follow forest acquisition.
    • Selection and procurement of land can be on mutual consent following PESSA/CNT/FRA regulations for popular consent.


    • Land, remains as prime factor of production, is undoubtedly essential to enable an agro-poor and mineral rich (which also indicates rocky soil and water run-off for growth in vegetation)state to industrialize and at the same time, rectify its socioeconomic imbalances. Truly speaking, the traditional means of occupation and production are to prove inadequate due to externalities like National and International policy & practices, capital & labour scarcity, inadequate provisions for R&D, non-availability of proper storage and market chains, to ensure the same.
    • It calls for a rational handshaking between agriculture and industry through effective facilitation by civil society and the State government.
    • Economic growth must be popular in nature as it will treat land increasingly as a collective capital to invest in business or agricultural production – made voluntarily and by conscious decision by the community to share profits/loss from business therefrom to ensure perpetual equality in trade and practice.
    • Land requirement must be based on merits, resultant of state-wide participatory survey of assets initiated by the State and facilitated by civil society organisations and will primarily identify
    o feasible areas for industry, mining, social forestry and irrigation with minimal disturbance to habitation and nature.
    o To insulate community from age old perfidious dealings by capital of adivasis, the State to ensure that:
    1. Interested capital to prove its genuineness by possessing its regular R&R institutional set-up capable of undertaking SIA/EIA and promote local organizational growth based on equal participation & rotational leadership.
    2. Has a reduced land use plan as drawn-up on the basis of a rationale for land requirement e,g. 1sqr acre:1 million ton of finished material production:5million minerals:1000acres of land: 200 acres of land for logistics; etc.
    3. Avoid land acquisition/procurement of agricultural land/reserved forests and catchment areas;
    4. Committed to stop alienation of poor mass from economic growth. Ensure minimum 27 – 30% employment reservation for local population in reverse order, i.e. starting with low grade and ending up at high graded job opportunities in complement to corporate investment in local education & skill growth in course of a decade at least.;
    5. Possess successful policy for Land procurement and own rehab policy of proven austerity in land use;
    6. Actively avoids opencast mining like & minimize surface and ecological damages.
    7. Emphasize for grassroots micro-management for profit sharing.

    Solicit your comments and suggestions to strengthen the chain
    Thank you

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