Workshop on Mining and Migration held in Odisha

May 23, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Workshop on Mining and MigrationNew Delhi, May 21, 2015: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) Office for Justice, Peace and Development, New Delhi in collaboration with Odisha Forum organized a two-day workshop on Mining and Migration at Utkal Jyoti Pastoral Centre, Jharsuguda, Odisha, May 19-20. Some 60 people from different dioceses of Odisha took part on this workshop.

Bishop Niranjan Sual Singh of Sambalpur, in his inaugural address said, “It is extremely important for us to know the present situation in order to bring about peace, justice and dignity in society. Due to development purpose, industrialists come to tribal areas. Industrialists are the main cause of troubling to the development indigenous people.”

“Development of society without the development of an individual makes no sense,” he added. “We may have good roads, railways, housing, and so on but if every citizen of country doesn’t develop, makes no sense. The poor and the downtrodden people need to be given more focus for their all-round development.”

The prelate talked on “Present situations in our own society.” He mainly stressed on the two points, namely: heavy mining and migration. Heavy mining has the greatest effects on human, animals and plants. Rapid mining has been the foremost contributor to environmental degradation and pollution.   The tribal people are fully dependent on their land for livelihood. Sadly, heavy mining has brought big challenge for the tribal and Dalit people in society. The church must be convinced, compassionate and inspired to bring about change. It must be an agent of change.”

Dayamani Barla, tribal lady activist from Jharkhand state started her talk saying that today the entire country is fighting for peace, justice, development and harmony.

“Indigenous people are the original settlers and original inhabitants of earth. Adivasi culture, their life, behavior, languages and ethics have direct connection with the water, land and jungle. Thus they have their own importance with regard to jungle, water, land and environment at large.  Adivasi culture dies from the moment they are displaced from their own land, water and jungle to other places.  When the indigenous people are displaced in the name of development, their culture, history and identity gets exploited, destroyed, finished off,” said Barla, known as ‘iron lady of Jharkhand.’ She added, “We are like soldiers in our own land. It is our great duty and responsibility to fight for our human rights, to fight for our tribal rights and avail justice.”

Prashant Paikray, in his talk, explained participants about the impact of mining on lives of Adivasi and Dalit, mostly referring to Khandadhar and POSCO experience. Paikray is the spokesperson for POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, the popular coalition fighting against an industrial project of the South Korean steel corporation POSCO, Jagatsinghpur district, in Odisha.

He shared of his experience in this field specifically protest against POSCO. He said that in the name of development hundreds of multi-national companies are set up in tribal areas and establishing their mining. These mining are badly affecting the indigenous people. Instead of development of these people, the disaster is followed in their lives. “The money and political power can do nothing if our people are united and stand as one,” he said.

Fr. Savari Raj, Director of Chetanalaya, social service wing of Delhi Archdiocese, spoke briefly on women trafficking issues out of his experiences. He first mentioned the major reasons of this issue—displacement, lack of job opportunities, and in order to support siblings. He shared the real situation of Tribal, Dalit and minorities in New Delhi. They are not paid full salary, sexually abused and don’t get proper health care. He suggested that in order to prevent this women trafficking, rescue operation and safe migration is must.

Fr. Charles Irudayam, secretary of CBCI Office for Justice, Peace and Development, dealt with Catholic Social Teaching and stressed on social activism. In his talk, he explained the participants why the church is concerned about human rights or why is it involved in social activism. God has endowed every human person with an inherent and inalienable dignity which entails basic rights. The church is mandated to protect human rights and to educate its members about the dignity, liberty and equality of all humans. Respect for human rights is the requisite for peace.

Quoting Pope John Paul II, Fr Irudayam, said, “Peace and rights are two benefits directly related to each other as cause and effect. There can be no peace where there is no respect for, defense and promotion of human rights.”

Fr. Ajay Kumar Singh, director Odisha Forum, presented political environment impacting Tribal and Dalit in India. “If we calculate the percentage of religious minority including Adivasi, Dalit, Muslim, Christian Dalit, the percentage will be around 34 %.  There is no single representative of these groups among Supreme Court and High Court Judges. He further explained the ideology of Hindutva that believes in one religion, one culture and one state. He touched role the role of Jaipal Munda and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in fighting for the tribals and Dalits. He too spoke about the anti-conversion law which is indirectly suppresses the Tribals and Dalits.

Fr. John Kerketta, social service director of Sambalpur diocese, said that the church has been playing a significant role in the field of education, health and social work. He added from his own experience regarding the current burning issue of separation of Christian Tribal and Dalit and non-Christian Tribal which was an eye opening for the participants to reflect.

Participants acknowledged and appreciated the initiatives of the organizers, Fr. Irudayam and Fr Singh and coordinators— Srs. Sophia Mary, SSpS and Manjula Bara, HM, on the subject on mining and migration, which provided scope to broadening their knowledge and commit on the issue on the ground.

– dr charles irudayam

Enter Google AdSense Code Here

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!