Tribal leader to challenge Orissa’s move against road blockade

October 12th, 2008 - 6:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Oct 12 (IANS) The leader of an anti-displacement movement will legally challenge the Orissa government’s decision to sue him for staging a road blockade that allegedly prevented a child from being taken to the hospital, leading to his death.The lawyer for Chakradhar Hybru Junior, the anti-displacement movement leader, Sunday said he will challenge in the Orissa High Court the state government’s move to recover Rs.100,000 from him for staging the road blockade.

Hybru has been spearheading the anti-displacement agitation at the Kalinga Nagar Industrial Complex in the coastal district of Jajpur, some 120 km from here.

Hybru and other tribals had allegedly blocked the National Highway-200 in the district for 18 months in 2006 to protest against the killing of at least 13 people in police firing.

The firing took place Jan 2, 2006 in the industrial complex when over 500 tribals, protesting against the building of a boundary wall by Tata Steel, clashed with the police.

Chambara Soy, a resident of the same district, had filed a public interest petition in the Orissa High Court the same year alleging that his son died as they could not take him to hospital because of the road blockade.

The division bench of Orissa High Court comprising Justice B.P. Das and Justice M.M. Das Oct 3, 2007 allowed the state government to recover Rs.100,000 from those who were involved in blocking NH-200.

“The Jajpur district administration slapped a notice on Hybru last month with a warning that his property would be attached if he failed to deposit the amount. The penalty was slapped August 30, 2008 and the one-month period to deposit the penalty ended September 30,” Hybru’s lawyer Bibhu Tripathy told IANS.

It is the first such instance when the Orissa government has initiated proceedings to recover penalty for staging a road blockade.

“The initiation of the proceeding under the Orissa Public Demand Recovery Act is illegal and without jurisdiction,” he said.

The amount as reflected in the certificate proceeding is not falling under the category of public demand, Tripathy added.

“The High Court had never directed the state government to fix the responsibility on one person as many people were agitating against the killing of the 13 tribals,” he said.

“How can the district administration determine the compensation amount on one person and fix the liability on him. Hybru will have no other option but to approach the High Court against the government’s move,” he added.

Hybru is hiding after the police filed several criminal cases against him. The police said he was also involved in Maoist activities.

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