India: Murder of RTI activist and human tights defender Mr. Suresh Oraon
June 13, 2018, 10:31 am
The Human Rights Defender:
Suresh Oraon, aged 27 years, is a resident of Purnadih, Chatra. He was a RTI activist and used the RTI Act extensively to expose the corruption in the forceful displacement made in mining projects and other social scheme implementation in the area. Suresh fought fiercely with Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) and the mining mafia while opposing the pollution and displacement caused by coal mining. Three years ago, he was offered a general labourer’s job by CCL in exchange of his land.
While he was working at CCL, he fought for other people who lost their land, many of whom were not given jobs by the public sector company. Two months ago, he had staged a demonstration for local unemployed youths whose land had been acquired for mining.
When CCL started to dump mine waste into the Damodar river, under the leadership of Suresh, villagers took the CCL management to court and won the case. Suresh filed a writ petition in Jharkhand HC against CCL in 2012, alleging that the CCL was polluting the Damodar River through its washeries. The court disposed the cased in 2013 and ordered CCL to ensure that their mining activities do not cause more pollution.
Details of the Incident :
As per the sources, on June 7, 2018, at about 10.30 AM, Suresh was at Piparwar,
Chatra to participate in a prayer meeting of Sarna Samiti. Four assailants came in two
motorcycles. Two of them asked a local man to call Suresh to a desolate spot near the
meeting venue. When Suresh reached that spot, one of the unknown assailant fired
nine bullets from a close range at him. Suresh fell down and the assailants drove away
towards the jungle. Suresh was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared
dead. It has been alleged by the local people that Suresh might have been killed by the CCL
goons or the mining mafia. However, the police has stated that the way in which killing
took place it appeared that professionals were involved. The police based on villagers’
versions also claim this to be done by the Naxals.
It will be pertinent to mention here that, Suresh fought and won many battles against
the CCL (the Damodar pollution case) and several other private companies involved
in mining operations thus, earning the displeasure of several people including public