JAJPUR: Hundreds of tribals gathered at Kalinga Nagar in Jajpur district on Tuesday to observe the 12th anniversary of police firing, in which 14 tribals were killed in 2006. According to sources, this year, the pro-displacement groups also lent their support to the observance of Martyr’s Day or Saheed Divas in the steel hub.
Armed with traditional weapons, the tribals took out a protest rally from Champakoila to Veer Bhumi where mass cremation of the martyrs was held. The protestors remembered the contributions of the martyrs as they marched holding anti-government placards.
They were led by members of Vistapan Virodhi Jana Manch (VVJM), a forum of tribals opposing displacement in Kalinga Nagar.
“Unlike previous years, we are observing the Saheed Divas on January 2. Earlier, we were observing it alone. This year, pro-displacement groups also joined us,” VVJM Secretary Rabindra Jarika said.
Later, a protest meeting was held at Veer Bhumi, in which anti-displacement leaders addressed the gathering. They said industries shouldn’t be built at the cost of tribals and their livelihood.
They alleged that the tribals who lost their land and livelihood for the industries in Kalinga Nagar were yet to get justice.
“Elaborate security arrangements were made in and around Kalinga Nagar for the huge gathering. The protest rally and meeting passed off peacefully,” said ASP Raja Kishore Dora.
The tribals had vehemently opposed the land accusation for Tata’ s Steel project in Kalinga Nagar on 2 January, 2006.